PRTG Manual: EXE/Script Advanced Sensor

The EXE/Script Advanced sensor runs an executable file (EXE, DLL) or a script (batch file, VBScript, Powershell) on the computer running the local or remote probe. This option is provided as part of the PRTG Application Programming Interface (API). The return value of this sensor must be valid XML or JSON.

  • The sensor can show values returned by the executable file or script in multiple channels.

icon-book-arrowsFor details about the return value format, see section Application Programming Interface (API) Definition.

EXE/Script Advanced Sensor

EXE/Script Advanced Sensor

Click here to enlarge.

Remarks

icon-prtg-on-demandYou cannot add this sensor type to the Cloud Probe of a PRTG in the cloud instance. If you want to use this sensor type, please add it to a remote probe device.

Limited to 50 Sensor Channels

icon-i-bluePRTG does not support more than 50 sensor channels officially. Depending on the data used with this sensor type, you might exceed the maximum number of supported sensor channels. In this case, PRTG will try to display all sensor channels. However, please be aware that you will experience limited usability and performance.

Add Sensor

The Add Sensor dialog appears when you manually add a new sensor to a device. It only shows the setting fields that are required for creating the sensor. Therefore, you will not see all setting fields in this dialog. You can change (nearly) all settings in the sensor's Settings tab later.

The following settings for this sensor differ in the Add Sensor dialog in comparison to the sensor's settings page.

Sensor Settings

EXE/Script

Select an executable file from the list. The sensor will execute it with every scanning interval.

This list shows all files available in the corresponding \Custom Sensors\EXEXML sub-directory of the probe system's PRTG program directory (see Data Storage). To appear in this list, please store the files into this folder ending in BAT, CMD, DLL, EXE, PS1, or VBS.

To show the expected values and sensor status, your files must return the expected XML or JSON format to standard output. Values and message must be embedded in the XML or JSON.

icon-book-arrowsFor detailed information on how to build custom sensors and for the expected return format, see the API documentation in your PRTG installation. There, find detailed information on the Custom Sensors tab. See also manual section Application Programming Interface (API) Definition for more information.

icon-i-round-redWhen using custom sensors on the Cluster Probe, please copy your files to every cluster node installation.

Sensor Settings

On the details page of a sensor, click the Settings tab to change its settings.

icon-i-roundUsually, a sensor connects to the IP Address or DNS Name of the parent device where you created this sensor. See the Device Settings for details. For some sensor types, you can define the monitoring target explicitly in the sensor settings. Please see below for details on available settings.

Basic Sensor Settings

Sensor Name

Enter a meaningful name to identify the sensor. By default, PRTG shows this name in the device tree, as well as in alarms, logs, notifications, reports, maps, libraries, and tickets.

Parent Tags

Shows Tags that this sensor inherits from its parent device, group, and probe. This setting is shown for your information only and cannot be changed here.

Tags

Enter one or more Tags, separated by spaces or commas. You can use tags to group sensors and use tag–filtered views later on. Tags are not case sensitive. We recommend that you use the default value.

You can add additional tags to the sensor if you like. Other tags are automatically inherited from objects further up in the device tree. These are visible above as Parent Tags.

Priority

Select a priority for the sensor. This setting determines where the sensor is placed in sensor lists. Top priority is at the top of a list. Choose from one star (low priority) to five stars (top priority).

Sensor Settings

EXE/Script

Shows the executable or script file that the sensor executes with each scan as defined on sensor creation. Once a sensor is created, you cannot change this value. It is shown for reference purposes only. If you need to change this, please add the sensor anew.

Parameters

If your executable or script file catches command line parameters, you can define them here. You can use placeholders as well.

icon-book-arrowsFor a full list of all placeholders, see the API documentation in your PRTG installation. See manual section Application Programming Interface (API) Definition for more information.

Note: Please make sure you write the placeholders in quotes to ensure that they are working properly if their values contain blanks. Use single quotation marks ' ' with PowerShell scripts, and double quotes " " with all others. Please enter a string or leave the field empty.

Environment

Choose if PRTG command line parameters will also be available as environment parameters.

  • Default Environment: Do not provide PRTG placeholders' values in the environment. Choose this secure option if you are not sure.
  • Set placeholders as environment values: From within your executable or script, the values of PRTG command line parameters will be available via environment variables. For example, you can then read and use the current host value of the PRTG device this EXE/Script sensor is created on from within your script. This option can mean a security risk, because also credentials are provided in several variables.

icon-book-arrowsFor a full list of all available variables, see the API documentation: Application Programming Interface (API) Definition

Security Context

Define the Windows user account that the sensor uses to run the executable or script file. Choose between:

  • Use security context of probe service: Run the selected file under the same Windows user account the probe is running on. By default, this is the Windows system user account (if not manually changed).
  • Use Windows credentials of parent device: Use the Windows user account defined in the settings of the parent device this sensor is created on. Please open the parent device settings of this sensor to change these Windows credentials.

Mutex Name

Define any desired mutex name for the process. All EXE/Script sensors having the same mutex name will be executed serially (not simultaneously). This is useful if you use a lot of sensors and want to avoid high resource usage caused by processes running simultaneously. Please enter a string or leave the field empty.

icon-book-bulbFor more information, see this Knowledge Base article: http://kb.paessler.com/en/topic/6673

Timeout (Sec.)

Enter a timeout in seconds for the request. If the reply takes longer than this value defines, the sensor will cancel the request and show a corresponding error message. Please enter an integer value. The maximum value is 900 seconds (15 minutes).

EXE Result

Define what the sensor will do with the results the executable file gives back. Choose between:

  • Discard EXE result: Do not store the script result.
  • Write EXE result to disk: Store the last result received from the script to the Logs (Sensors) directory in the PRTG data folder on the probe system the sensor is running on (on the Master node if in a cluster). File name: Result of Sensor [ID].txt. This is for debugging purposes. The file will be overridden with each scanning interval.
    icon-book-arrowsFor information on how to find the folder used for storage, see section Data Storage.
     
  • Write EXE result to disk in case of error: Store the last result received from the script only if the sensor is in a down status. File name: Result of Sensor [ID].txt, located in the Logs (Sensors) directory in the PRTG data folder on the probe system the sensor is running on (on the Master node if in a cluster). Enable this option if you do not want failures to be overwritten by a following success of the script.

icon-prtg-on-demandThis option is not available when the sensor runs on the Cloud Probe of a PRTG in the cloud instance.

Sensor Display

Primary Channel

Select a channel from the list to define it as the primary channel. In the device tree, the last value of the primary channel will always be displayed below the sensor's name. The available options depend on what channels are available for this sensor.

icon-i-roundYou can set another primary channel later by clicking the pin symbol of a channel in the sensor's Overview tab.

Graph Type

Define how different channels will be shown for this sensor.

  • Show channels independently (default): Show an own graph for each channel.
  • Stack channels on top of each other: Stack channels on top of each other to create a multi-channel graph. This will generate an easy-to-read graph that visualizes the different components of your total traffic.
    icon-i-roundThis option cannot be used in combination with manual Vertical Axis Scaling (available in the Sensor Channels Settings settings).

Stack Unit

This setting is only available if stacked graphs are selected above. Choose a unit from the list. All channels with this unit will be stacked on top of each other. By default, you cannot exclude single channels from stacking if they use the selected unit. However, there is an advanced procedure to do so.

icon-i-round-redThe Stack Unit option for stacking graphs will only work if you explicitly define the same <unit> for at least two channels. For detailed information about sensor settings, see the API documentation: Application Programming Interface (API) Definition

Inherited Settings

By default, all following settings are inherited from objects higher in the hierarchy and should be changed there, if necessary. Often, best practice is to change them centrally in the Root group's settings, see section Inheritance of Settings for more information. To change a setting only for this object, disable inheritance by clicking the button next to inherit from under the corresponding setting name. You will then see the options described below.

Scanning Interval

Click inherited_settings_button to disrupt the inheritance. See section Inheritance of Settings for more information.

Scanning Interval

Select a scanning interval (seconds, minutes, or hours) from the list. The scanning interval determines the time the sensor waits between two scans. You can change the available intervals in the system administration on PRTG on premises installations.

If a Sensor Query Fails

Define the number of scanning intervals that a sensor has time reach and check a device again in case a sensor query fails. The sensor can try to re-reach and check a device several times, depending on the option you select here, before it will be set to a Down status. This helps you avoid false alarms if the monitored device has only temporary issues. For previous scanning intervals with failed requests, the sensor will show a Warning status. Choose between:

  • Set sensor to "down" immediately: The sensor will show an error immediately after the first failed request.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 1 interval, then set to "down" (recommended): After the first failed request, the sensor will show a yellow warning status. If the following request also fails, the sensor will show an error.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 2 intervals, then set to "down": Show an error status only after three continuously failed requests.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 3 intervals, then set to "down": Show an error status only after four continuously failed requests.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 4 intervals, then set to "down": Show an error status only after five continuously failed requests.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 5 intervals, then set to "down": Show an error status only after six continuously failed requests.

icon-i-roundSensors that monitor via Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) always wait at least one scanning interval until they show an error. It is not possible to set a WMI sensor to "down" immediately, so the first option will not apply to these sensor types. All other options can apply.

icon-i-roundIf a sensor has defined error limits for channels, it will always show a Down status immediately, so no "wait" option will apply.
 

icon-i-roundIf a channel uses lookup values, it will always show a Down status immediately, so no "wait" options will apply.

Schedules, Dependencies, and Maintenance Window

icon-i-roundInheritance for schedules, dependencies, and maintenance windows cannot be interrupted. The corresponding settings from the parent objects will always be active. However, you can define additional settings here. They will be active at the same time as the parent objects' settings.

Schedule

Select a schedule from the list. Schedules can be used to monitor for a certain time span (days, hours) every week. With the period list option it is also possible to pause monitoring for a specific time span. You can create new schedules and edit existing ones in the account settings.

icon-i-roundSchedules are generally inherited. New schedules will be added to existing ones, so all schedules are active at the same time.

Maintenance Window

Specify if you want to set up a one-time maintenance window. During a "maintenance window" period, this object and all child objects will not be monitored. They will be in a paused state instead. Choose between:

  • Not set (monitor continuously): No maintenance window will be set and monitoring will always be active.
  • Set up a one-time maintenance window: Pause monitoring within a maintenance window. You can define a time span for a monitoring pause below and change it even for a currently running maintenance window.

icon-i-roundTo terminate a current maintenance window before the defined end date, change the time entry in Maintenance Ends field to a date in the past.

Maintenance Begins

This field is only visible if you enabled the maintenance window above. Use the date time picker to enter the start date and time of the maintenance window.

Maintenance Ends

This field is only visible if you enabled the maintenance window above. Use the date time picker to enter the end date and time of the maintenance window.

Dependency Type

Define a dependency type. Dependencies can be used to pause monitoring for an object depending on the status of another. You can choose between:

  • Use parent: Pause the current sensor if the device, where it is created on, is in Down status, or is paused by another dependency.
  • Select object: Pause the current sensor if the device, where it is created on, is in Down status, or is paused by another dependency. Additionally, pause the current sensor if a specific other object in the device tree is in Down status, or is paused by another dependency. Select below.
  • Master object for parent: Make this sensor the master object for its parent device. The sensor will influence the behavior of the device, where it is created on: If the sensor is in Down status, the device will be paused. For example, it is a good idea to make a Ping sensor the master object for its parent device to pause monitoring for all other sensors on the device in case the device cannot even be pinged. Additionally, the sensor will be paused if the parent group of its parent device is in Down status, or if it is paused by another dependency.

icon-i-roundTesting your dependencies is easy! Simply choose Simulate Error Status from the context menu of an object that other objects depend on. A few seconds later all dependent objects should be paused. You can check all dependencies in your PRTG installation by selecting Devices | Dependencies from the main menu bar.

Dependency

This field is only visible if the Select object option is enabled above. Click on the reading-glasses and use the object selector to choose an object on which the current sensor will depend.

Dependency Delay (Sec.)

Define a time span in seconds for a dependency delay. After the master object for this dependency goes back to Up status, PRTG will start monitoring the depending objects after this extra delayed. This can help to avoid false alarms, for example, after a server restart, by giving systems more time for all services to start up. Please enter an integer value.

icon-i-round-redThis setting is not available if you choose this sensor to Use parent or to be the Master object for parent. In this case, please define delays in the parent Device Settings or in the superior Group Settings.

Access Rights

Click inherited_settings_button to disrupt the inheritance. See section Inheritance of Settings for more information.

User Group Access

Define which user group(s) will have access to the object you're editing. A table with user groups and types of access rights is shown: It contains all user groups from your setup. For each user group you can choose from the following access rights:

  • Inherited: Use the access rights settings of the parent object.
  • None: Users in this group cannot see or edit the object. The object neither shows up in lists nor in the device tree. Exception: If a child object is visible to the user, the object is visible in the device tree, though not accessible.
  • Read: Users in this group can see the object and review its monitoring results.
  • Write: Users in this group can see the object, review its monitoring results, and edit the object's settings. They cannot edit access rights settings.
  • Full: Users in this group can see the object, review its monitoring results, edit the object's settings, and edit access rights settings.

You can create new user groups in the System Administration—User Groups settings. To automatically set all objects further down in the hierarchy to inherit this object's access rights, set a check mark for the Revert children's access rights to inherited option.

icon-book-arrowsFor more details on access rights, see the section User Access Rights.

Channel Unit Configuration

Click inherited_settings_button to disrupt the inheritance. See section Inheritance of Settings for more information.

Channel Unit Types

For each type of sensor channel, define the unit in which data is displayed. If defined on probe, group, or device level, these settings can be inherited to all sensors underneath. You can set units for the following channel types (if available):

  • Bandwidth
  • Memory
  • Disk
  • File
  • Custom

icon-i-roundCustom channel types can be set on sensor level only.

More

Information about custom scripts and executables

Knowledge Base: What is the Mutex Name in the PRTG EXE/Script Sensor settings?

Knowledge Base: How and where does PRTG store its data?

Knowledge Base: How can I test if parameters are correctly transmitted to my script when using an EXE/Script sensor?

Knowledge Base: For which sensor types do you recommend Windows Server 2012 R2 and why?

Knowledge Base: How can I show special characters with EXE/Script sensors?

Knowledge Base: Why do I have to store SQL sensor queries and custom scripts in files on the probe computer?

Knowledge Base: How can I use meta-scans for custom EXE/Script sensors?

Edit Sensor Channels

To change display settings, spike filter, and limits, switch to the sensor's Overview tab and click the gear icon of a specific channel. For detailed information, see the Sensor Channels Settings section.

Notifications

Click the Notifications tab to change notification triggers. For detailed information, see the Sensor Notifications Settings section.

Others

For more general information about settings, see the Object Settings section.

Sensor Settings Overview

For information about sensor settings, see the following sections: