On the SitePoint PHP blog they've posted a new tutorial that "digs deep" into PHP on Windows with WMI, the Windows Management Instrumentation functionality - a web-based architecture information gathering system.
There are many devices (servers, desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, etc) running a Windows operating system. Many of us who live in the nix based world have to work in this OS, or if we don't, we will, sooner or later. Besides the regular tools we can expect from a *nix system (say Apache, PHP, MySQL, C/C++ compilers, etc), Windows offers a set of unique features not present in any other OS, and WMI is one of them. In this article, we will address the questions like: What is WMI? How to use WMI with PHP? We will have some minimal sample codes to go through the basic programming techniques.
He starts off the post briefly explaining what WMI is and what kinds of problems it solves. He shows you how to check if it's installed (it probably is on most recent Windows machines) and that it's enabled. He also shows how to configure the firewall to allow WMI connections and the library you'll need to get the PHP support functional (php_com_dotnet.dll). He then gets into what kind of information you can get from WMI including local hardware information, BIOS details and memory usage. Some simple code is included using the COM functionality to connect to the server and run a query.