Cherwell IT Service Management Blog
Resources, Best Practices, and Solutions for ITSM Pros

July Technical Tip: Using Path Filtering in Express Software Manager

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When Express Software Manager performs an inventory, it rummages around the darkest corners of your computer hard drives and presents everything it discovers in comprehensive computer inventory reports. Sometimes, though, you want to limit the information you see. For example, applications found in backup, patch installer, or temporary folders can unnecessarily clutter your reports, and in some cases may even provide misleading information about the software installed on those computers.

Fortunately, you can use Express Reports Path Filtering to weed out these unwanted file paths from your reports. To use path filtering, open the Express Reports Console, select the “Filters” tab, and then select “Paths” from the filter properties listed on the left side of the Filters panel. Within path filtering, you can specify whether you want to include or exclude specified paths, and then add the path name.

Here’s an example of how you might use path filtering: Let’s say you want to run an inventory report and only see those applications found in C:\Windows\Program Files… locations. To do this, you would select the option “Include these paths,” then select the “Add Path” button and enter “C:\Windows\Program Files\*.” Using this filter, inventory reports will show only those applications for which the executable was found somewhere within the C:\Windows\Program Files\… path structure.

Another example: Suppose you want to run a report in which you don’t want to see any files found in any Windows\Temp paths on any drives. In path filtering, you could select the option to “Exclude these paths,” then select the “Add Path” button, and enter “*\Windows\temp\*.” This will exclude any files found in the \Windows\temp directories of any drives.

Some users find there are a number of paths that they almost never want to include in their reporting. They can exclude these using path filtering, and then save that filter to use as their default starting point before adding additional filtering for license units, machines, or other parameters.

Examples of some of these locations include:
*\i386\*
*\Windows\$*
*\Windows\temp\*
C:\Windows\Installer\*
C:\Windows\Software Distribution\*

For more information about path filtering, including more information about the various types of wildcard characters you can use in your filter paths, go to the Filters Panel, select the “?” Help icon in the upper right of the panel, and search on the topic “using wildcards in path filtering.”