PDQ Inventory to Track Non-Windows Devices

Purpose:

You want to use PDQ Inventory to track Non-Windows Devices or Assets.

 

Overview:

We often get requests from our users on how to use PDQ Inventory software to track non-windows devices and/or assets, so they don't have to invest in a separate asset management system. This also allows them a solution to have all their asset information in one location. 

 

Preparing the environment:

1. In PDQ Inventory / Options /  Preferences / Active Directory,  you must switch the Delete Mode from Full Sync to Mixed Sync (Recommended) OR Import Only: 

ADSync.jpg

THIS IS IMPORTANT: If you have Full Sync enabled, every time that Active Directory syncs, it will only sync objects that exist in Active Directory and delete the other non-AD records, which means all of your custom records will be deleted every time AD sync runs. 

 

2. You need to map out and decide what information you're going to want to store for your assets. This will translate into the next step of creating custom fields. Things to think about: 

A. Every custom field you create is an extra value in every computer record even if it's empty. Depending on your environment, too many custom fields can contribute to larger database size and potentially a performance impact on your PDQ server. So make your choices count!

 B. Try and create fields that will work with many different non-network objects. For example, if my immediate need for setting this up is to track cell phones I might choose the following custom fields:

OS Carrier Make Model Telephone Number Owner
IOS Verizon Iphone X11 437-234-1928 Susan Anthony
Android AT&T Samsung Note15 437-271-1348 Bob Canfield

But what if we decide we would also like to track software, or monitors, or staplers? Then you might want to think about fields that make sense for multiple kinds of assets:

Name Brand Model Serial Owner Category Notes
cell147 Apple X11 1Z45C26A Susan Anthony Cellphone 437-234-1928
cell203 Samsung Note15 2370BCE7 Bob Canfield Cellphone 437-271-1348
cell050 Nokia Q23 98973FE Jenny Jones Cellphone 437-867-5309
chair_WandaS Serta BFC23   Wanda Sherman Furniture  
chair_BobC AmazonBasics E4530   Bob Canfield Furniture  
stapler_JamesA Swingline     James Appleton Office  
adobe_readerpro4396 Adobe Reader Pro 1278-ARP--99163-4396 Susan Anthony Software  
adobe_readerpro1212 Adobe Reader Pro 1278-ARP--99163-1212 Bob Canfield Software  
adobe_readerpro1937 Adobe Reader Pro 1278-ARP--99163-1937 Janet Holmes  Software  

Note: Name is the Unique Identifier in the database and will represent the "Computer Name" in PDQ Inventory, so you cannot have duplicate names for assets. You may want to use your own custom asset name or you could use a serial number for the Name. These are just examples to give you ideas.

 

3. Now after thoughtful consideration, we have our custom fields that we want to create in PDQ Inventory. Go to PDQ Inventory / Options / Custom Fields and click on New Field and enter all the new custom fields (as text type) with the exception of Name, since Name already technically exists as Computer Name:

Brand, Model, Serial, Owner, Category, and Notesmceclip1.png

 

4. Now let's put it all together and create a CSV file that has all the data we wish to import. It should look something like this:

mceclip2.png

Please note that the trailing commas are accurate, there is no value in the last column for those records. Also, note that you will receive an error if you have duplicate entries and will not be able to import. For example, I cannot have 2 different lines for cell050.

 

5. Alternatively, It's also important to mention that if you already have an existing spreadsheet of assets in Excel or an open-source spreadsheet program, you should be able to export the data to a CSV file format that can also be imported into PDQ Inventory.

 

Importing the Data:

This is the tricky part! We first need to create the asset record, the second time to actually import all the data.

1. In PDQ Inventory / Computer / Add Computers / By Name and click Import:

mceclip3.png

 

2. Navigate to your csv file and choose Open:

mceclip4.png

 

3. You may receive a warning:

mceclip5.png

 

4. In this case, we do have a header line, so we'll choose yes. and you should see a screen like this:

mceclip6.png

The yellow warning signs are normal as these are not actual computers. 

 

5. Now for the second import, Go to PDQ Inventory / Options / Custom Fields / and Click on Import Wizard:

mceclip7.png

 

6. Once again browse to your csv file. Make sure that the Has Headers box is checked. Also verify that the CSV Field is mapped to the correct Custom Field Mapping: (shown below)

mceclip8.png

 

7. Click Next and you should see the preview screen with any conflicts you may need to address:

mceclip9.png

Click Finish and your new assets have been successfully added.

 

Now what? 

1. We need to find these assets we just imported. Click on All Computers and then right-click on of the column headers and choose Edit Columns:

mceclip10.png

 

2. You'll need to find the field names you want to show, add them, and then check the box to make them visible. It should look like this:

mceclip11.png

 

3. Now back on the main view of All Computers, scroll all the way to the right and sort by your new column category. You should see your new assets at the top of the list now:

mceclip12.png

(You might need to right-click All Computers and press F5 to refresh the data if it's initially blank)

 

4. Now we need to select all of these new assets, then right-click and uncheck the Allow Scan option. This way PDQ inventory won't waste time trying to scan them:

mceclip13.png

 

5. From here we can leverage the power of what we're used to with PDQ Inventory. Let's say I want to see all the software licenses I have. I can make a collection based on the software category:

mceclip14.png

That gives me a listing of all the software licenses I have:

mceclip15.png

 

6. In addition to non-network assets, you can use the same custom fields for regular computers as well. Let's say that Bob has been with the company for 30 years and is going to retire. We want to know what is assigned to Bob. We can simply search for Bob Canfield in All Computers and see all the items associated with the user:

mceclip16.png

 

Wrapping It Up

There is some initial work to figure out what custom fields are going to work for your environment. We encourage you to start with a small test file and just get comfortable with the process. From there, import your data and go for it! 

 

Additional CLI methods of adding and updating custom fields: 

https://www.pdq.com/blog/adding-custom-fields-multiple-computers-powershell/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFcLfpb3rdE

 

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