PRTG Manual: EXE/Script Sensor

The EXE/Script sensor runs an executable file (.exe, .dll) or a script (batch file, VBScript, PowerShell) on the probe system. This option is provided as part of the PRTG API.

The sensor can show the following:

  • One value returned by the executable file or script (in one channel only)
  • Execution time

icon-square-cyanFor details about the return value format, see section Custom Sensors.

EXE/Script Sensor

EXE/Script Sensor

Sensor in Other Languages

  • Dutch: EXE/Script
  • French: Script/EXE
  • German: Programm/Skript
  • Japanese: EXE/スクリプト
  • Portuguese: EXE/Script
  • Russian: EXE/скрипт
  • Simplified Chinese: EXE/脚本
  • Spanish: EXE/Script

Remarks

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.

Detailed Requirements

Requirement

Description

.NET Framework

This sensor requires the Microsoft .NET Framework. .NET 4.7.2 or later must be installed on the probe system (on every cluster node, if on a cluster probe). If the framework is missing, you cannot create this sensor.

icon-square-cyanFor more information, see the Knowledge Base: Which .NET version does PRTG require?

Remote PowerShell

This sensor uses PowerShell commands. To monitor devices with this sensor, Remote PowerShell access has to be enabled on the target computer. Also ensure that you have installed PowerShell 3.0 or later on both the probe system and the target system.

icon-i-round-blueIf you receive an error message regarding issues with the WinRM connection, make sure that remote commands have been enabled in PowerShell. For more details, see the Knowledge Base: How do I enable and use remote commands in Windows PowerShell?

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 do 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

Setting

Description

EXE/Script

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

In this list, files in the corresponding \Custom Sensors\EXE subfolder of the PRTG program directory on the probe system. For a file to appear in this list, store the file ending in .bat, .cmd, .dll, .exe, .ps1, or .vbs into this subfolder

To show the expected sensor values and states, your files must use the correct format for the returned values (in this case, value:message to standard output). The exit code of the file determines the sensor status.

icon-square-cyanFor 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.

Value Type

Define what kind of value your executable or script file gives back:

  • Integer: An integer is expected as return value. If the script gives back a float, PRTG displays the value 0.
  • Float: A float is expected as return value, with a dot (.) between predecimal position and decimal places. In this setting, the sensor also displays integer values unless they produce a buffer overflow.
  • Counter: Your script returns an integer that is increasing. PRTG shows the difference between the values of two sensor scans.
    icon-i-round-redA counter must return an integer. Float is not supported.

icon-i-round-redThe sensor cannot handle string values.

Channel Name

Enter a name for the channel in which the sensor shows returned values. Enter a string. This is for display purposes only. You can change the name later in the channel settings.

Unit String

Enter the unit for the values that this sensor returns. Enter a string. PRTG uses the unit string for display purposes and shows it in graphs, data tables, and gauges.

icon-i-round-blueIf you want to change the unit after sensor creation, you can change it in the sensor's channel settings.

Basic Sensor Settings

Click the Settings tab of a sensor to change its settings.

icon-i-round-blueUsually, 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.

Setting

Description

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 the 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. Confirm each tag with the Spacebar key, a comma, or the Enter key. You can use tags to group objects and use tag-filtered views later on. Tags are not case-sensitive. Tags are automatically inherited.

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

The sensor has the following default tags that are automatically predefined in the sensor's settings when you add the sensor:

  • xmlexesensor

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).Enter topic text here.

Sensor Settings

Setting

Description

EXE/Script

Shows the executable or script file that the sensor executes with each sensor scan as defined at sensor creation. Once you have created the sensor, you cannot change this value. It is shown for reference purposes only. If you need to change this value, 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-square-cyanFor 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 the PRTG command-line parameters are available via environment variables. For example, you can then read and use the current host value of the parent device from within your script. This option can pose a security risk because credentials are provided in several variables as well.

icon-square-cyanFor 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:

  • Use security context of probe service: Run the selected file under the same Windows user account that the probe runs under. 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. Open the parent device settings 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 mutex name are 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-square-cyanSee the Knowledge Base: What is the Mutex Name in the PRTG EXE/Script settings?

Timeout (Sec.)

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

Value Type

Shows the expected value type that you chose at sensor creation. Once you have created the sensor, you cannot change this value. It is shown for reference purposes only. If you need to change this value, add the sensor anew.

icon-i-round-redThe sensor cannot handle string values.

If Value Changes

Define what the sensor does when the sensor value changes:

  • Ignore changes (default): Take no action on change.
  • Trigger 'change' notification: Send an internal message indicating that the sensor value has changed. In combination with a change trigger, you can use this mechanism to trigger a notification whenever the sensor value changes.

EXE Result

Define what the sensor does with the result that the executable file gives back:

  • 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 subfolder of the PRTG data directory on the probe system (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.
  • Write EXE result to disk in case of error: Store the last result received from the script only if the sensor shows the Down status. The file name is Result of Sensor [ID].txt. It is located in the \Logs\sensors subfolder of the PRTG data directory on the probe system (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

Setting

Description

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-round-blueYou 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 are 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 generates a graph that visualizes the different components of your total traffic.
    icon-i-round-redYou cannot use this option in combination with manual Vertical Axis Scaling (available in the channel settings).

Stack Unit

This field is only visible if you enable Stack channels on top of each other as Graph Type. Select a unit from the list. All channels with this unit are 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.

Inherited Settings

By default, all of the following settings are inherited from objects that are higher in the hierarchy. You should change them centrally in the root group settings if necessary. To change a setting for this object only, disable the inheritance by clicking the button next to inherit from under the corresponding setting name. You then see the options described below.

icon-square-cyanFor more information, see section Inheritance of Settings.

Scanning Interval

Click inherited_settings_button to interrupt the inheritance.

Setting

Description

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 shows the Down status. This can avoid false alarms if the monitored device only has temporary issues. For previous scanning intervals with failed requests, the sensor shows the Warning status. Choose from:

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

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

icon-i-round-blueIf you define error limits for a sensor's channels, the sensor immediately shows the Down status. No "wait" option applies.

icon-i-round-blueIf a channel uses lookup values, the sensor immediately shows the Down status. No "wait" options apply.

Schedules, Dependencies, and Maintenance Window

icon-i-round-blueYou cannot interrupt the inheritance for schedules, dependencies, and maintenance windows. The corresponding settings from the parent objects are always active. However, you can define additional settings here. They are active at the same time as the parent objects' settings.

Setting

Description

Schedule

Select a schedule from the list. Schedules can be used to monitor for a certain time span (days or hours) every week.

icon-square-cyanYou can create schedules, edit schedules, or pause monitoring for a specific time span. For more information, see section Schedules.

icon-i-round-blueSchedules are generally inherited. New schedules are added to schedules that you already set up, 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 selected object and all child objects are not monitored. They are in the Paused status instead. Choose between:

  • Not set (monitor continuously): No maintenance window is set and monitoring is always 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 an active maintenance window.

icon-i-round-blueTo terminate an active 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 end 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 a different object. You can choose from:

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

icon-i-round-blueTo 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 are paused. You can check all dependencies under Devices | Dependencies in 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 object 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 the Up status, monitoring of the dependent objects is additionally delayed by the defined time span. This can prevent 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.

Setting

Description

User Group Access

Define the user groups that have access to the sensor. You see a table with user groups and group access rights. The table contains all user groups in your setup. For each user group, you can choose from the following group access rights:

  • Inherited: Inherit the access rights settings of the parent object.
  • No access: Users in this user group cannot see or edit the sensor. The sensor neither shows up in lists nor in the device tree.
  • Read access: Users in this group can see the sensor and view its monitoring results. They cannot edit any settings.
  • Write access: Users in this group can see the sensor, view its monitoring results, and edit its settings. They cannot edit its access rights settings.
  • Full access: Users in this group can see the sensor, view its monitoring results, edit its settings, and edit its access rights settings.

icon-square-cyanFor more details on access rights, see section Access Rights Management.

Escape Special Characters and Whitespaces in Parameters

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

More

icon-square-bluePRTG MANUAL

 

icon-square-blueKNOWLEDGE BASE

What is the Mutex Name in the EXE/Script Sensor settings?

How and where does PRTG store its data?

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

For which sensor types do you recommend Windows Server 2012 R2 or later and why?

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

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

Sensor Settings Overview

For more information about sensor settings, see the following sections: