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 Extensible Markup Language (XML) or JavaScript Object Notation (JSON).

The sensor can show the following:

  • Values returned by the executable file or script in multiple channels

icon-book-arrowsFor details about the return value format, see section Custom Sensors.

EXE/Script Advanced Sensor

EXE/Script Advanced Sensor

Sensor in Other Languages

Dutch: EXE/Script Geavanceerd, French: Script/EXE version améliorée, German: Programm/Skript (Erweitert), Japanese: EXE / スクリプト(アドバンスト), Portuguese: EXE/Script avançado, Russian: Расширенный сенсор EXE/скрипта, Simplified Chinese: 高级 EXE/脚本, Spanish: EXE/Script Avanzado

Remarks

  • This sensor does not officially support more than 50 channels.
  • You must store the executable or script file on the system of the probe the sensor is created on: If used on a remote probe, you must store the file on the system running the remote probe. In a cluster setup, copy the file to every cluster node.
  • We recommend Windows 2012 R2 on the probe system for best performance of this sensor.
  • If you want to execute a custom Windows Management Instrumentation Query Language (WQL) script, use the WMI Custom sensor.

icon-prtg-on-demandYou cannot add this sensor to the Hosted Probe of a PRTG hosted by Paessler instance. If you want to use this sensor, add it to a remote probe device.

Limited to 50 Sensor Channels

icon-i-bluePRTG does not officially support more than 50 sensor channels. Depending on the data used with this sensor, you might exceed the maximum number of supported sensor channels. In this case, PRTG will try to display all sensor channels. Be aware, however, 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 in the Add Sensor dialog differ in comparison to the sensor's Settings tab.

Sensor Settings

EXE/Script

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

This list shows all files available in the corresponding \Custom Sensors\EXEXML subfolder of the probe system's PRTG program directory (see section Data Storage). For the files to appear in this list, store the files into this folder ending in .bat, .cmd, .dll, .exe, .ps1, or .vbs.

To show the expected values and sensor states, 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 section Custom Sensors.

icon-i-round-redWhen using custom sensors on the Cluster Probe, 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 on which you created the sensor. See the Device Settings for details. For some sensors, you can explicitly define the monitoring target in the sensor settings. 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.

There are default tags that are automatically predefined in a sensor's settings when you add a sensor. See section Default Tags below.

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.

icon-i-roundIt is not possible to enter tags with a leading plus (+) or minus (-) sign, nor tags with parentheses (()) or angle brackets (<>).

Priority

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

Default Tags

xmlexesensor

Sensor Settings

EXE/Script

Shows the executable or script file that the sensor executes with each scan as defined at sensor creation. Once you have created a sensor, you cannot change this value. It is shown for reference purposes only. If you need to change this value, 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.Enter a string or leave the field empty.

icon-book-arrowsFor a full list of all placeholders, see section Custom Sensors.

icon-i-round-redYou need to escape special characters and whitespaces in your parameters and surround them with double quotes. See section Escape Special Characters and Whitespaces in Parameters for details.

Environment

Select whether PRTG command-line parameters are also available as environment parameters.

  • Default Environment: Do not provide values of PRTG placeholders in the environment. Select 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 are available via environment variables. For example, you can then read and use the current host value of the PRTG device that this EXE/Script sensor is created on from within your script. This option can mean a security risk because credentials are provided in several variables as well.

icon-book-arrowsFor a full list of all available variables, see section Custom Sensors.

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. Open the parent device settings of this sensor to change these Windows credentials.

Mutex Name

Define any desired mutual exclusion (mutex) name for the process. All EXE/Script sensors that have the same mutual exclusion (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. Enter a string or leave the field empty.

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

Timeout (Sec.)

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

EXE Result

Define what the sensor does 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). The file name is Result of Sensor [ID].txt. This is for debugging purposes. The file is overwritten 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 shows a Down status. The file name is Result of Sensor [ID].txt. It is 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 Hosted Probe of a PRTG hosted by Paessler 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 is always displayed below the sensor's name. The available options depend on what channels are available for this sensor.

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

Graph Type

Define how different channels will be shown for this sensor.

  • Show channels independently (default): Show a 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 a 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 Channel Settings settings).

Stack Unit

This field is only visible if you enable Stack channels on top of each other above. Select 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 only works if you explicitly define the same <unit> for at least two channels. For detailed information about sensor settings, see section Custom Sensors.

Inherited Settings

By default, all of the following settings are inherited from objects that are 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. For more information, see section Inheritance of Settings. To change a setting for this object only, 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 interrupt the inheritance. See section Inheritance of Settings for more information.

Scanning Interval

Select a scanning interval (seconds, minutes, or hours). The scanning interval determines the amount of time that 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 the sensor has time to reach and check a device again in case a sensor query fails. Depending on the option that you select, the sensor can try to reach and check a device again several times before the sensor will show a Down status. This can avoid false alarms if the monitored device only has temporary issues. For previous scanning intervals with failed requests, the sensor will show a Warning status. Choose from:

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

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

icon-i-roundIf you define error limits for a sensor's channels, the sensor will immediately show a Down status. No "wait" option will apply.

icon-i-roundIf a channel uses lookup values, the sensor will immediately show a Down status. No "wait" options will apply.

Schedules, Dependencies, and Maintenance Window

icon-i-roundYou cannot interrupt the inheritance for schedules, dependencies, and maintenance windows. 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 or hours) every week.

icon-book-arrowsYou can create schedules, edit schedules, or pause monitoring for a specific time span. For more information, see section Account Settings—Schedules.

icon-i-roundSchedules are generally inherited. New schedules will be added to existing schedules, 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, the current sensor and all child objects will not be monitored. They will be in a Paused status 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 to a date in the past.

Maintenance Begins

This field is only visible if you enable Set up a one-time 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 enable Set up a one-time maintenance window above. Use the date time picker to enter the start date and time of the maintenance window.

Dependency Type

Define a dependency type. You can use dependencies to pause monitoring for an object depending on the status of another object. You can choose from:

  • Use parent: Use the dependency type of the parent device.
  • Select a sensor: Use the dependency type of the parent device. Additionally, pause the current sensor if another specific sensor is in a Down status or in a Paused status caused by another dependency. Select below.
  • Master sensor for parent: Make this sensor the master object for its parent device. The sensor will influence the behavior of its parent device: If the sensor is in a 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 is paused by another dependency.

icon-i-roundTo test your dependencies, select Simulate Error Status from the context menu of an object that other objects depend on. A few seconds later, all dependent objects will 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 you enable Select a sensor above. Click the Search button and use the object selector to select a sensor on which the current sensor will depend.

Dependency Delay (Sec.)

This field is only visible if you enable Select a sensor above. Define a time span in seconds for dependency delay.

After the master sensor for this dependency comes back to an Up status, monitoring of the dependent objects will be additionally delayed by the defined time span. This can help avoid false alarms, for example, after a server restart, by giving systems more time for all services to start up. Enter an integer value.

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

Access Rights

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

User Group Access

Define the user groups that will have access to the selected object. 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 but it cannot be accessed.
  • 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 its settings. They cannot edit access rights settings.
  • Full: Users in this group can see the object, review its monitoring results, edit its 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 section User Access Rights.

Channel Unit Configuration

Click inherited_settings_button to interrupt 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.

Escape Special Characters and Whitespaces in Parameters

icon-toolsYou need to escape special characters in parameters that you pass to an executable or script and surround them with quotation marks to make sure that the characters are correctly interpreted. PowerShell scripts in particular require adequate escaping so that the parameters are passed in a valid PowerShell syntax. To make escaping easy and secure, PRTG automatically does most of the escaping for you.

Follow these rules to escape special characters and whitespaces in the parameters fields:

  • Use quotes for parameters that contain whitespaces.

-name "Mr John Q Public"
-name 'Mr John Q Public' 

  • Use double quotes for parameters that contain single quotes.

-name "Mr 'John Q' Public"

  • Use single quotes for parameters that contain double quotes.

-name 'Mr "John Q" Public'

  • Use a backslash (\) to escape and pass a literal double quote.

-name pub\"lic

  • Use double quotes for parameters that contain double and single quotes and escape double quotes.

-name "pu'b\"lic"

In SSH scripts, you can use alphanumeric characters and the special characters ".", "_", "-", "=", and "/" outside of quoted strings.

icon-i-blueWe recommend that you do not pass passwords in parameters. Use PRTG placeholders instead. See section Custom Sensors for details.

More

PRTG Manual:

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 or later 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 filtering, and limits, switch to the sensor's Overview tab and click the gear icon of a specific channel. For detailed information, see section Sensor Channel Settings.

Notification Triggers

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

Others

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

Sensor Settings Overview

For information about sensor settings, see the following sections: