PRTG Manual: EXE/Script Sensor

The EXE/Script 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).

This sensor can show the following:

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

icon-book-arrowsFor 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 type to the Hosted Probe of a PRTG hosted by Paessler instance. If you want to use this sensor type, please add it to a remote probe device.

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

Script

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

In this list, files in the corresponding \Custom Sensors\EXE sub-directory of the probe system's PRTG program directory are shown (see Data Storage). To appear in this list, store the file into this folder ending in BAT, CMD, DLL, EXE, PS1, or VBS.

To show the expected sensor values and status, 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-book-arrowsFor detailed information on how to build custom sensors and for the expected return format, see section Custom Sensors for more information.

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

Value Type

Define what kind of values your executable or script file gives back. Choose between:

  • Integer: An integer is expected as return value. If the script gives back a float, PRTG will display the value 0.
  • Float: A float is expected as return value, with a dot (.) between pre-decimal position and decimal places. In this setting, the sensor will also display integer values unless they produce a buffer overflow.
  • Counter: Your script returns an integer that increases. PRTG will show the difference between the values of two sensor scans.
    icon-i-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. Please enter a string. This is for display purposes only. You can change the name later in the sensor's channel settings.

Unit String

Enter the unit for the values that this sensor returns.  Please enter a string. This unit string is used for display purposes and will be shown in graphs, data tables, and gauges. If you want to change the Unit after having created the sensor, you can change it in the sensor's channel settings.

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.

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

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 sensor 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 section Custom Sensors.

Please enter a string or leave the field empty.

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

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's 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 section Custom Sensors for more information.

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 runs 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: 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 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).

Value Type

Shows the expected value type that you chose 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.

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

If Value Changes

Define what this sensor will do when the sensor value changes. You can choose between:

  • Ignore changes (default): The sensor takes no action on change.
  • Trigger 'change' notification: The sensor sends an internal message indicating that its 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 this sensor will do with the result that 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 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 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.

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 to 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 consecutively failed requests.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 3 intervals, then set to "down": Show an error status only after four consecutively failed requests.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 4 intervals, then set to "down": Show an error status only after five consecutively failed requests.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 5 intervals, then set to "down": Show an error status only after six consecutively 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.

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 the characters are interpreted correctly. Especially PowerShell scripts 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.

Please 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 Secure Shell (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

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?

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: