Introduction to Custom Scanners

Custom scanners allow PDQ Connect to collect information that is not natively retrieved by the agent, such as specific files or registry keys. The data retrieved may be used to build reports or to create dynamic groups by filtering on the results. 

The Scanners Page

To view a list of your existing scanners and create new ones, click the "More" button on the left navigation menu and then click "Custom scanners" from the dropdown. 

The name of each scanner will be shown on the Scanners page, along with the type of scanner, the user who created it, and the last user to edit the scanner.

 

 

  • To create a new custom scanner, use the "Create scanner" button at the top right of the page.
  • To edit an existing scanner, click on the name of the scanner from the Scanners page. 
  • You can search for a scanner by name using the "Search scanners" field at the top of the page.

 

Types of Scanners

The "Create scanner" button will prompt the user to name the scanner and select the scanner type. The scan will begin immediately once the scanner has been configured and saved. The types of scanners available are as follows:

Files and Folders Scanner

The Files and Folders scanner will allow you to specify a full or partial path to be scanned by the PDQ Connect agent. The scanner can be configured to return a list of folders, files, or both for the path specified. Multiple paths may be provided in the path field, and subfolders under the paths may also be scanned using the "Search subfolders" option. 

Registry Scanner

The Registry scanner allows you to scan for specific registry keys and registry values on a target machine. Multiple registry keys and values may be specified in the path field, and subkeys may also be scanned using the "Search subkeys" option. The hives available to scan are HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and HKEY_USERS. 

How Custom Scanners Work

The following bullet points are important to keep in mind when working with custom scanners. 

 

 

  • When a custom scanner is created or edited, the scanning process begins immediately after hitting "Save." All devices managed in PDQ Connect will be scanned.
  • Every scanner has a maximum return limit of 1,000 rows. If you are scanning a folder that contains 1,200 files, only the first 1,000 files would be recorded by the scanner. 
  • While there is a limit of 1,000 results per individual scanner, there is no limit to the number of scanners that can be created. For this reason, we recommend using multiple scanners with granular paths if the expected results of a single scan will exceed 1,000 results.
  • After the initial scan, subsequent scans are performed at the same time as the standard system scan. This occurs every 12 hours, and anytime a deployment is ran. 
  • You can manually scan a device or devices using the vertical ellipses at the top right of the page and then selecting "Scan device(s)."

 

Viewing Scan Results

After a custom scan has been performed, the results of the scan will be visible in one of two locations.

Individual Device

The findings of a custom scanner may be viewed for a single device by clicking on the device and navigating to the info tab that corresponds to the scanner. The "Files and folders" tab displays the results of all scans using the "Files and Folders" scanner type, the "Registry" tab contains results from custom registry scan types, and so on. 

Multiple Devices

To view the results of a custom scan for all devices or a group of devices, create a report that uses columns from the same source as the custom scanner. Just as above when working at the device level, reports have a 1-1 naming scheme with the sources available and custom scanner type. The report below will show all items found using the registry scanner for all devices. If you wish to narrow the scope of devices in the report, select "Custom" for the target instead of "All devices." This will allow individual devices or entire groups to be targeted instead of every device managed in PDQ Connect.

Creating Groups from Custom Scans

Like most data sources in PDQ Connect, custom scan results may be used to create device groups based on filters. To create a group based on custom scan results, click the "Filter" button or "Create group" button on the Devices page, then select appropriate data source in the first dropdown. In the example below, we have created a group that shows machines with the registry value named "DisabledByDefault" set to a value of "1" under a given registry key. 

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