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 available as part of the PRTG API.

i_square_cyanFor a detailed list and descriptions of the channels that this sensor can show, see section Channel List.

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

  • You must store the executable or script file on the probe system. In a cluster, copy the file to every cluster node.
  • This sensor requires that Remote PowerShell is enabled on the target system and PowerShell 3.0 on both the probe system and the target system.
  • This sensor requires Microsoft .NET 4.7.2 or later on the probe system.
  • We recommend Windows Server 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.
  • This sensor has a low performance impact.

i_podYou cannot add this sensor to the hosted probe of a PRTG Hosted Monitor instance. If you want to use this sensor, add it to a remote probe device.

Detailed Requirements

Requirement

Description

.NET 4.7.2 or later

This sensor requires .NET 4.7.2 or later to be installed on the probe system (on every cluster node, if on a cluster probe).

i_round_redIf the framework is missing, you cannot create this sensor.

i_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 must be enabled on the target computer. Also make sure that you have installed PowerShell 3.0 or later on both the probe system and the target system.

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 settings that are required to create the sensor. Therefore, you do not see all settings in this dialog. You can change nearly all settings on the sensor's Settings tab after creation.

Sensor Settings

Setting

Description

EXE/Script

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

The list contains all 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.

i_round_redTo 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.

i_square_cyanFor detailed information on how to create custom sensors and for the return format, see section Custom_Sensors.

i_round_redIf you use custom sensors on the cluster probe, copy your files to every cluster node.

i_round_blueIf you use a PowerShell script (.ps1), we recommend that you use the write-output command instead of the write-host command.

Value Type

Define the type of the values that your executable or script file returns:

  • Integer: An integer is expected as return value. If the script returns a float, PRTG displays the value 0.
  • Float: A float is expected as return value, with a dot (.) between the predecimal position and the decimal places.
    i_round_blueThe sensor also displays integer values unless they produce a buffer overflow.
  • Counter: Your script returns an integer that increases. PRTG shows the difference between the values of two sensor scans.
    i_round_redA counter must return an integer. It does not support float values.

i_round_redThe sensor does not support 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.

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.

Basic Sensor Settings

Basic Sensor 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.

i_round_blueIf the name contains angle brackets (<>), PRTG replaces them with braces ({}) for security reasons. For more information, see the Knowledge Base: What security features does PRTG include?

Parent Tags

Shows tags that the sensor inherits from its parent device, parent group, and parent probe.

i_round_blueThis setting is for your information only. You cannot change it.

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.

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

i_round_blueFor performance reasons, it can take some minutes until you can filter for new tags that you added.

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

  • exesensor

Priority

Select a priority for the sensor. This setting determines the position of the sensor in lists. The highest priority is at the top of a list. Choose from the lowest priority (i_priority_1) to the highest priority (i_priority_5).

i_round_blueUsually, a sensor connects to the IP Address/DNS Name of the parent device. See the device settings for details. For some sensors, you can explicitly define the monitoring target in the sensor settings.

Sensor Settings

Sensor Settings

Sensor Settings

Setting

Description

EXE/Script

Shows the executable or script file that the sensor executes with each sensor scan.

i_round_bluePRTG shows this value 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.

i_square_cyanFor a full list of all placeholders, see section Custom_Sensors.

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.

i_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 file under the same Windows user account that the probe runs under. By default, this is the Windows system user account.
  • Use Windows credentials of parent device: Use the Windows user account in the parent device settings.

Mutex Name

Define a mutual exclusion (mutex) name for the process. Enter a string or leave the field empty.

i_round_bluePRTG executes all EXE/Script sensors that have the same mutex serially, not simultaneously. This is useful if you use a lot of sensors and you want to avoid high resource usage caused by simultaneously running processes.

i_square_cyanSee the Knowledge Base: What is the Mutex Name in the EXE/Script sensor settings?.

Timeout (Sec.)

Enter a timeout in seconds for the request. Enter an integer value. The maximum timeout value is 900 seconds (15 minutes).

i_round_blueIf the reply takes longer than this value, the sensor cancels the request and shows a corresponding error message.

Value Type

Shows the value type.

i_round_bluePRTG shows this value for reference purposes only. If you need to change this value, add the sensor anew.

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.

Result Handling

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

  • Discard result: Do not store the sensor result.
  • Store result: Store the last sensor result in the \Logs\sensors subfolder of the PRTG data directory on the probe system. The file names are Result of Sensor [ID].txt and Result of Sensor [ID].Data.txt. This setting is for debugging purposes. PRTG overwrites these files with each scanning interval.
  • Store result in case of error: Store the last sensor result only if the sensor shows the Down status.

i_round_blueEnable this option if you do not want failures to be overwritten by a following success of the script.

i_round_blueIn a cluster, PRTG stores the result in the PRTG data directory of the master node.

Sensor Display

Sensor Display

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.

i_round_blueYou can set a different primary channel later by clicking b_channel_primary below a channel gauge 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.
    i_round_redYou cannot use this option in combination with manual Vertical Axis Scaling (available in the channel settings).

Stack Unit

This setting 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. We recommend that you change them centrally in the root group settings if necessary. To change a setting for this object only, click b_inherited_enabled under the corresponding setting name to disable the inheritance and to display its options.

i_square_cyanFor more information, see section Inheritance of Settings.

Scanning Interval

Click b_inherited_enabled to interrupt the inheritance.

Scanning Interval

Scanning Interval

Setting

Description

Scanning Interval

Select a scanning interval from the dropdown list. The scanning interval determines the amount of time that the sensor waits between two scans. Choose from:

  • 30 seconds
  • 60 seconds
  • 5 minutes
  • 10 minutes
  • 15 minutes
  • 30 minutes
  • 1 hour
  • 4 hours
  • 6 hours
  • 12 hours
  • 24 hours

i_round_blueYou can change the available intervals in the system administration of PRTG Network Monitor.

If a Sensor Query Fails

Select the number of scanning intervals that the sensor has time to reach and to check a device again if a sensor query fails. Depending on the option that you select, the sensor can try to reach and to 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 request fails.
  • Set sensor to warning for 1 interval, then set to down (recommended): Set the sensor to the Warning status after the first request fails. If the second request also fails, the sensor shows the Down status.
  • Set sensor to warning for 2 intervals, then set to down: Set the sensor to the Down status only after the third request fails.
  • Set sensor to warning for 3 intervals, then set to down: Set the sensor to the Down status only after the fourth request fails.
  • Set sensor to warning for 4 intervals, then set to down: Set the sensor to the Down status only after the fifth request fails.
  • Set sensor to warning for 5 intervals, then set to down: Set the sensor to the Down status only after the sixth request fails.

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.

i_round_blueIf you define error limits for a sensor's channels, the sensor immediately shows the Down status. None of the interval options apply.

i_round_blueIf a channel uses lookup values, the sensor immediately shows the Down status. None of the interval options apply.

Schedules, Dependencies, and Maintenance Windows

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 schedules, dependencies, and maintenance windows. They are active at the same time as the parent objects' settings.

Schedules, Dependencies, and Maintenance Windows

Schedules, Dependencies, and Maintenance Windows

Setting

Description

Schedule

Select a schedule from the list. You can use schedules to monitor during a certain time span (days or hours) every week. Choose from:

  • None
  • Saturdays
  • Sundays
  • Weekdays
  • Weekdays Eight-To-Eight (08:00 - 20:00)
  • Weekdays Nights (17:00 - 09:00)
  • Weekdays Nights (20:00 - 08:00)
  • Weekdays Nine-To-Five (09:00 - 17:00)
  • Weekends

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

Maintenance Window

Select if you want to set up a one-time maintenance window. During a maintenance window, monitoring stops for the selected object and all child objects. They show the Paused status instead. Choose between:

  • Do not set up a one-time maintenance window: Do not set up a one-time maintenance window. Monitoring is always active.
  • Set up a one-time maintenance window: Set up a one-time maintenance window and pause monitoring. You can define a time span for the pause below.

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 setting 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 one-time maintenance window.

Maintenance Ends

This setting 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 one-time maintenance window.

Dependency Type

Select 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 because of 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.

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 setting is only visible if you enable Select a sensor above. Click b_search_light and use the object selector to select a sensor on which the current object will depend.

Dependency Delay (Sec.)

This setting is only visible if you select Select a sensor above. Define a time span in seconds for the dependency delay.

After the master sensor for this dependency returns to the Up status, PRTG additionally delays the monitoring of the dependent objects by the time span you define. This can prevent false alarms, for example, after a server restart or to give systems more time for all services to start. Enter an integer value.

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 b_inherited_enabled to interrupt the inheritance.

Access Rights

Access Rights

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.

i_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"

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

i_round_blueWe recommend that you do not pass passwords in parameters. Use placeholders instead. See section Custom_Sensors for details.

Channel List

i_round_blueWhich channels the sensor actually shows might depend on the monitored device, the available components, and the sensor setup.

Channel

Description

Downtime

In the channel table on the Overview tab, this channel never shows any values. PRTG uses this channel in graphs and reports to show the amount of time in which the sensor was in the Down status in percent.

Execution Time

The execution time in milliseconds (msec)

i_round_blueThis channel is the primary channel by default.

[Value]

The value that the executable file or script file returns in one channel

i_square_cyanFor details about the return value format, see section Custom_Sensors.

More

i_square_blueKNOWLEDGE BASE

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

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

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?

Which .NET version does PRTG require?

How do I enable and use remote commands in Windows PowerShell?

What security features does PRTG include?

How and where does PRTG store its data?

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

Sensor Settings Overview

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