In this article, we delve into the world of IT inventory management, guiding you through the process of choosing the right tools for your organization, and introducing you to 10 computer inventory management tools that can help you streamline your IT assets. FAQ's about Computer Inventory Management The best computer inventory management tools Managing a fleet of computers, servers, and other IT assets is an essential task for any organization. Efficiently keeping track of your hardware and software resources, from desktop computers to IoT assets and even servers, is crucial to ensure seamless operations, cost control, and security. This is where computer inventory management steps in to save the day. With the growing complexity of IT environments, a well-structured inventory management system can make all the difference. Whether you're a seasoned IT professional or just starting out, our comprehensive list and FAQ section will provide valuable insights and answers to the most pressing questions in the field. So, if you're ready to take control of your IT asset inventory and boost your organization's efficiency, let's explore the tools that can make it happen. Frequently Asked Questions About IT Inventory Management What are IT Inventory Management Tools? Computer inventory management tools, also known as IT asset management software (ITAM), are those used by IT Teams to keep track of their inventory of computing resources, not only workstations and laptops but also mobile devices, server resources, and even virtualized infrastructure, like virtual machines (VMs) running on a cloud computing provider. Some of these tools go beyond simple inventory management and incorporate hardware health monitoring, software patch management, software license management, remote management features, performance monitoring, application monitoring, automated device onboarding, configuration management, helpdesk integration, and more. These more sophisticated packages are called ITSM (IT Service Management) tools. In this article, we've got you covered from all angles. We'll traverse the entire spectrum of tools, ensuring that whether you're seeking a straightforward inventory solution or a more comprehensive ITSM tool, you'll find valuable insights to guide your choice. Ultimately, the power of selection rests with you; your specific requirements should dictate the tool that fits your needs like a glove. We strongly recommend taking advantage of the free trial offerings that most of these tools provide. It's a smart way to ensure the chosen tool aligns perfectly with your organization's unique demands before making a commitment. Why Should You Invest in IT Inventory Management? There are many reasons to invest in Computer Inventory Management. Here are five of them, in no particular order. Cost savings: asset management software can help you avoid unnecessary purchases and, thanks to automation features included in most packages, reduce the amount of time, money, and effort spent by your IT team on device management and maintenance. Security: an up-to-date inventory is crucial to know where your most critical and valuable assets are, and to develop a security strategy to protect them. It will also help you to locate assets that may be missing, either due to being misplaced during a location move or even due to theft. Resource allocation: knowing where your devices are will help you find out where they are being underutilized or overutilized, allowing you to redistribute them according to real needs to ensure the most effective usage of your resources. Proactive maintenance: some computer inventory management tools often also incorporate hardware health monitoring and software patch management, which will help you identify failing hardware before it causes an outage or where to apply system patches to fix critical vulnerabilities before they can be exploited. Regulatory compliance: businesses that handle sensitive information, like financial or healthcare data, need to meet strict regulatory standards that specify how, where, and when this information is stored and handled. Monitoring will allow you to prove compliance with these standards and secure approvals crucial to keeping your business running. What to Look for When Choosing IT Inventory Management Tools? Broadly speaking, there are 5 main features you need to look out for when choosing computer inventory management tools. Keep in mind that this may vary according to your specific needs. The capability to monitor many aspects of your computer inventory at once. A centralized display of information from many sensors for better observability. Customizable alerts and automated notifications when alerts are triggered. Native and automated reporting features, so you can keep co-workers and management "in the loop". A free trial period, so you can attest to how the tool works with your network infrastructure. How to do IT Inventory Management? There are many computer inventory management tools, from as many different vendors, which may focus solely on a single aspect of the task or offer this capability as a subset of a broader range of features. We present a few of them below, in no particular order. The Best IT Inventory Management Tools PRTG Paessler PRTG is often called the Swiss army knife of the monitoring world. It is based on basic monitoring elements called "sensors". One sensor usually monitors one measured value in your network, e.g. the traffic of a switch port, the CPU load of a server, the free space of a disk drive, and so on. With more than 250 built-in sensors for various tasks, device types, and use cases, you would be hard-pressed to find something you can't monitor with PRTG. Plus, you can mix and match sensors, and even deploy custom ones, to create monitoring solutions specific to your needs. PRTG has various sensors for system management, using the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) or the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) interfaces. PRTG automatically displays the data on the respective device's System Information tab. To retrieve all available system information, enable both WMI and SNMP on the device. The System Information tab on PRTG. Data gathered by those sensors includes system data like the BIOS serial number, IP addresses, MAC addresses, and the OS version, a list of hardware connected to the machine (including storage devices, video controllers, network cards, processors, and memory), list of installed software, including version numbers, user accounts connected to the machine, services available and even a list of running processes. PRTG Network Monitor is available on a perpetual license basis or monthly subscription plans with PRTG Hosted Monitor. The software requires a computer running Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016, 2019, 2022 or Windows 11. There is a 30-day free trial of PRTG, with all features available during this period, no credit card is needed. ManageEngine AssetExplorer ManageEngine AssetExplorer offers a comprehensive solution for IT asset management, covering asset discovery, software and hardware management, software license compliance, purchase order management, asset lifecycle management, asset tracking, and CMDB functionality. With a unified agent for asset discovery, this tool can automatically discover all Windows, Linux, and macOS assets in your network and handle the complete life cycle, from procurement to disposal. It can also manage purchase orders, helping to identify areas to reduce spending, enforce policies, and eliminate redundancies. List of software licenses on ManageEngine Asset Explorer The software management module can check for compliant, under-licensed, and over-licensed software, with license management features to curb the use of unauthorized software and avoid the problems associated with it. Licenses for Microsoft, Adobe, and Symantec software are configured by default. ManageEngine AssetExplorer is available in three versions. The Free Edition offers all functionality and never expires, but is limited to 25 nodes. The Trial Edition is fully functional for 30 days but is restricted to 250 nodes. The Professional Edition is fully functional and valid until the license expires, with the number of nodes managed based on the purchased license. Trial and Professional editions include 24x5 live technical support. All versions are available in 29 languages. Operating systems supported are Windows Server (2012 to 2022) and Linux (RHEL 8.0 or Ubuntu 14.0 or above). Spiceworks Inventory Spiceworks Inventory is a free inventory management software "used by over a million IT pros" that offers a quick and easy way to scan your network and build a list of all your devices. This tool is closely associated with the Spiceworks IP Scanner: first, you run a scan to discover the devices in your network. Then, you will need to install a collection agent on those devices. This agent will pull the information and feed it to the Inventory. Device list and detailed info about a device on Spiceworks Inventory There is also a reporting feature: you can generate reports with all devices that fit specific criteria (like "antivirus is installed") and then select which columns of information will be shown for each device on the list (like the antivirus and OS version, for example). And yes, this tool is free, and that includes support. The inventory app is web-based, but the collection agents require Windows (Server 2008 R2, Server 2012, Server 2016, 8 or 10), or macOS (10.10, 10.11, 10.12, 10.13, 10.14, and 10.15). However, versions 11 or above of the Apple operating system are "not supported yet". There is no SNMP support, so you won't be able to monitor Linux machines. Atera Atera is an RMM (Remote Management and Monitoring) package that includes Remote Access, Helpdesk, Billing, and Reporting. Like other tools, it can scan your network and automatically build a list of connected devices, sorting them into categories like Workstations, Servers, or Storage Devices. The information displayed includes the device name, status, if it is being monitored by the Atera agent, round-trip time (RTT), manufacturer, OS platform and information, and more. It is possible to install the monitoring agent on unmonitored devices right from the device list and set alerts for when new unmonitored devices appear. The results of a Device Scan on Atera. It is also possible to generate software inventory reports, which include the software name, publisher, size, version, and how many machines it is installed on. If needed, you can also uninstall any unwanted software on the list from your machines with a single click. Atera is SaaS billed monthly "by technician" with four pricing plans. It requires agents to be installed on the endpoints being monitored and managed. Supported operating systems are Windows Server (2012, 2012 R2, 2016, 2019, and 2022), Windows 10 or 11, macOS 11, 12 or 13, Debian 11, and Ubuntu 18. There is a free trial available. Snipe-IT Snipe-IT is an Open Source asset management tool that is web-based, mobile-friendly, and available in more than 40 languages. Unlike other solutions in this article, it is geared toward pure inventory control, without any extra management features. The main admin dashboard is where you will keep tabs on which hardware your company has, who has it, and where it is. A "recent activity" tab shows items that have been recently checked in, out, updated, or deleted. You can check the asset history and quickly see which ones are deployed, pending, ready to deploy, or achieved. The admin dashboard on Snipe-IT. There is no auto-discovery of assets, but asset lists can be quickly imported from (and exported to) .CSV files, and there is integration with barcode scanners and QR Reader apps for easy reading of asset tags. Snipe-IT can also do a basic form of license management, keeping track of software license keys, to whom they are assigned, and their expiration dates. Snipe-IT is free to use if you are willing to self-host it and go without support. For this, you can use any Linux, Windows, or macOS web server with PHP extensions and a MariaDB or MySQL database. It is also available as SaaS with hosting and phone and e-mail support, in three plans with annual billing: Basic, Small Business, and Dedicated. SysAid SysAid is an ITSM (IT Services Management) package that includes an inventory management module with network discovery capabilities, which can give you a full picture of all your hardware and software assets, including software license management. That includes integration with your CMDB (Configuration Management Database) and proactive monitoring, which gives you real-time, custom alerts about your devices and allows you to respond to events related to your network equipment, memory usage, CPU performance, and more. Viewing details of a single asset on SysAid Like other ITSM packages, it goes beyond simple inventory management and includes service desk integration, remote control capabilities, and patch management features, so your team can remotely diagnose and fix issues, and keep your devices updated. Pricing and the licensing model for SysAid are not immediately available on the website (you need to get a quote). Monitoring requires the installation of the SysAid Agent software on the machines being monitored. This software is available for Windows (Server 2012, 2016, 2019, 8, 10, and 11), macOS (10.8 and above), Linux, and many UNIX flavors (AIX, FreeBSD, Solaris, HP-UX). AssetPanda Like Snipe-IT, AssetPanda is focused purely on asset management. Here, assets can be anything, from tangible objects like laptops, smartphones, and vehicles to digital information like contracts and software licenses. Asset information can include full action history (like check-ins and check-outs), warranty information, user manuals, and photos, all available in one consolidated place. Integrations allow you to combine AssetPanda with other tools in your tech stack to enhance its capabilities. IT Asset details on AssetPanda Custom actions can be defined for faster and easier asset updates and management, and custom data fields adapt the software to your needs, not the other way around. And with role-based access, everyone can get access to the information they need, while ensuring data security. AssetPanda is web-based. Pricing varies with the number of assets monitored, from "Small" (250 assets) to Enterprise (5,000 assets) plans. All plans include an unlimited number of users and unlocked configuration tools. Lansweeper Lansweeper offers "complete visibility & risk insights into your technology environment". It combines active and passive agentless scanning features to automatically discover, scan, and centralize asset data. These assets can be Windows, Linux, and macOS devices, routers, printers, switches, ports, and mobile devices, but also OT (Operational Technology) and virtualized or cloud-based assets on providers like AWS and GCP. The Asset Radar feature can detect assets the moment they connect to your network, which can help you keep the inventory updated but also uncover rogue devices. Visualizing asset details on Lansweeper Data can be visualized in custom dashboards, and reports give you insights on patch status, vulnerability reports, security compliance, and more. You can use customizable list views to highlight the most important information and filter it into custom-built reports. Lansweeper also has a diagramming feature, which generates graphs showing the relationship between your devices. Lansweeper can scan Linux, Unix, Windows, and macOS devices, but must be installed on a Windows machine with a 64-bit processor, running Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2, 2016, 2019, 2022, Windows 10 21H2 (or higher) or Windows 11, alongside a Microsoft SQL Server database. It is SaaS with three service plans (Starter, Pro, and Enterprise) billed annually. A free trial is available. Ivanti IT Asset Management Suite Ivanti is another ITSM package that offers a lot, including automated asset discovery (with integration with Google Workspace for Google OS devices), endpoint and workspace management, application control, patching, and more. The discovery module can find hardware and software assets on your network, including internet-attached devices in remote locations. This includes visualization of the connections between devices, software, assets, applications, and users. Inventoried data can be fed into data visualizations or used to create customized reports. Device list on Ivanti With the endpoint management module, you can control OS provisioning, migrations, and upgrades, for Windows, Linux, and macOS, and automatically download and install software on specific devices. The workspace management feature includes application control (what can and cannot be launched), user profile management, and automated desktop configuration, among other features. Users have to ask for a quote to know about the plans and pricing for the Ivanti IT Asset Management Suite. Free trials, and a personalized product demo, are also available. SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor includes features for auto-discovering assets, tracking configuration changes, managing asset lifecycles, and generating reports, allowing you to gain deeper insights into your hardware. The Server Performance & Configuration Bundle (SPCB) can automatically collect critical asset information like system updates, server warranty information, hosted VM details, processors, memory, network interfaces, operating system and firmware updates, and more, into a single location. Node details on SolarWInds Server & Application Monitor It can also track changes, helping you quickly see if hardware or software has been added, removed, or updated to a different version. Additionally, you can see what changes were made and easily compare the new configuration to previous ones. There are also inventory lifecycle management tools, which can incorporate information such as vendor contracts, purchase orders, and expiration details. SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor is offered on a flexible licensing model, with subscription or perpetual licensing, according to your needs. A free, fully functional 30-day trial is available. The software requires a machine running Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016 or 2019, and Microsoft SQL Server 2016 (both SP1 and SP2), 2017 or 2019. Conclusion As you can see, there are many tools for computer inventory management, from simple ones that give you a list of your devices to extremely sophisticated ones that straddle other categories, like ITSM. However, for pure inventory management, our favorite tool is Paessler PRTG, as it "ticks all the boxes" in our list of desired characteristics, and streamlines your workflow by enabling you to monitor all of your infrastructure with a single tool. The built-in sensors cover many of the main use cases, without the need to purchase extras, so they can monitor not only your computer inventory, but also your network, services, servers, IoT devices, cloud infrastructure, and much more. And it is extensible, which means you can deploy third-party sensors, or even develop your own, to cover specific needs. That means you can do away with having to rely on a variety of individualized solutions, which can carry potential risks such as conflict with your current workflow and even network security issues. It is the "Swiss army knife" of the monitoring tools.