Surface Book Inventories as “Other” Device, Fix Coming in January

Surface Book Inventories as “Other” Device, Fix Coming in January

For those companies with Surface Books in use on the network, or are planning to deploy Surface Books, you should know about a certain limitation for managing the devices.

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is a secret repository of information embedded into Windows. A lot of IT folks know about this repository, particularly those that use System Center Configuration Manager to manage the company’s devices. Configuration Manager queries this repository to glean inventory information about the device hardware. The inventory information is then delivered upstream to the Configuration Manager servers where administrators can build queries and reports to show accurate asset inventory.

The information contained in the WMI repository is vast, but is separate into categories and classes. One of those classes is the Chassis Type. The chassis is the physical container that houses the components of the computer. Chassis types include 24 different values including tower, desktop computer, notebook computer, and handheld computer. You can get a look at the full list here: Identifying the Chassis Type of a Computer.

The reason this information is so useful is that Configuration Manager administrators can deliver software, drivers, etc. directly to specific chassis types – as long as they are categorized and inventoried correctly.

The Surface Book, unfortunately, currently inventories as a Type 1, which is described as “Other.” This type is usually reserved as a catch-all for those devices that can’t be accurately identified through inventory. WMI is Microsoft’s version of an industry standard called Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM), so the Surface Book is not following WBEM standards and is not being inventoried correctly.

For those wanting to deliver some of the latest firmware fixes for the Surface Book (there’s been plenty), it’s more difficult to do with inventory not being exactly accurate. The win32_computersystem class shows this as "Surface Book" so you can use that. Ideally this WBEM query should work:

select * from win32_comptuersystem where model like "Surface Book"

One of my sources says that a fix for this is coming in January in the form of another Surface Book firmware update.

Thanks to Justin Chalfant for the WMI screenshot!

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