Is all the information that is available via Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line(wmic) also available via Windows registry(regedit)?

What are the main differences between them?


WMIC is an interface to WMI. WMI and the Registry serve similar purposes in different ways. The registry has been around for considerably longer than WMI. Both provide both system and application specific information, but due to adoption levels, WMI has considerably more system information than application information. Some of the information can be found in both, but nowhere near all. I would also add that while there are much easier ways to do it, you can technically get to the data in the registry via WMI while the reverse is not true.

One more significant difference between WMI and the registry is that WMI is much more than just a data source. It also acts as an interface to the Operating System. It exposes methods to both return data dynamically and to accomplish various tasks. For instance WMI can be used directly to create a new process.


The registry is a database of all Windows' settings.

WMIC is the command-line interface to control Windows Management Instrumentation.

"WMI is Microsoft's implementation of the Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) and Common Information Model (CIM) standards from the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF)."

Since this is also relevant:

Key features of WBEM technology include:
remote management of applications
management of several instances of an application as a single unit
standard interface for remote application management across different applications
decoupling of application management from the client 
"publishing" of key information about an application to other applications.

In other words, it is very similar in function to SNMP: Network management.




  • I mean, both are based on something like a database that stores all Windows and system information, I can select data from both programabilly (most of cases the same information from both), should I choose one of them to acess some specific information? – Diogo Jul 26 '11 at 20:17
  • They are both based on databases. There is a significant difference in the information available in each however. The exception is that the data available in the registry is technically available in WMI via the Win32_Registry class. – EBGreen Jul 26 '11 at 20:23
  • It will really depend on what kind of information you are trying to pull. I suspect that more often, wmic will bring you what you want more easily as it is designed to give back information (that is its whole purpose). – KCotreau Jul 26 '11 at 20:26
  • I agree that generally WMI is a better source if information happens to be both places. Especially since WMI tends to be a more dynamic data source. – EBGreen Jul 26 '11 at 20:30

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