Enabling and configuring SNMP on Windows

4 min read

This article by Justin M. Brant, the author of SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor: Deployment and Administration, covers enabling and configuring SNMP on Windows.

(For more resources related to this topic, see here.)

Procedures in this article are not required pre-deployment, as it is possible after deployment to populate SolarWinds SAM with nodes; however, it is recommended. Even after deployment, you should still enable and configure advanced monitoring services on your vital nodes.

SolarWinds SAM uses three types of protocols to poll management data:

  • Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP): This is the most common network management service protocol. To utilize it, SNMP must be enabled and an SNMP community string must be assigned on the server, device, or application. The community string is essentially a password that is sent between a node and SolarWinds SAM. Once the community string is set and assigned, the node is permitted to expose management data to SolarWinds SAM, in the form of variables. Currently, there are three versions of SNMP: v1, v2c, and v3.

    SolarWinds SAM uses SNMPv2c by default. To poll using SNMPv1, you must disable SNMPv2c on the device. Similarly, to poll using SNMPv3, you must configure your devices and SolarWinds SAM accordingly.

  • Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI): This has added functionality by incorporating Windows specifi c communications and security features. WMI comes preinstalled on Windows by default but is not automatically enabled and confi gured. WMI is not exclusive to Windows server platforms; it comes installed on all modern Microsoft operating systems, and can also be used to poll desktop operating systems, such as Windows 7.
  • Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP): This is the most basic of the three; it simply sends echo requests (pings) to a server or device for status, response time, and packet loss. SolarWinds SAM uses ICMP in conjunction with SNMP and WMI. Nodes can be confi gured to poll with ICMP exclusively, but you miss out on CPU, memory, and volume data. Some devices can only be polled with ICMP, although in most instances you will rarely use ICMP exclusively.

    Trying to decide between SNMP and WMI?

    SNMP is more standardized and provides data that you may not be able to poll with WMI, such as interface information. In addition, polling a single WMI-enabled node uses roughly five times the resources required to poll the same node with SNMP.

This article will explain how to prepare for SolarWinds SAM deployment, by enabling and configuring network management services and protocols on: Windows servers.

In this article we will reference service accounts. A service account is an account created to handoff credentials to SolarWinds SAM. Service accounts are a best practice primarily for security reasons, but also to ensure that user accounts do not become locked out.

Enabling and configuring SNMP on Windows

Procedures listed in this article will explain how to enable SNMP and then assign a community string, on Windows Server 2008 R2.

All Windows server-related procedures in this book are performed on Windows Server 2008 R2. Procedures vary slightly in other supported versions.

Installing an SNMP service on Windows

This procedure explains how to install the SNMP service on Windows Server 2008 R2.

  1. Log in to a Windows server.
  2. Navigate to Start Menu | Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Server Manager.

    In order to see Administrative Tools in the Control Panel, you may need to select View by: Small Icons or Large Icons.

  3. Select Features and click on Add Features.

  4. Check SNMP Services, then click on Next and Install.
  5. Click on Close.

Assigning an SNMP community string on Windows

This procedure explains how to assign a community string on Windows 2008 R2, and ensure that the SNMP service is configured to run automatically on start up.

  1. Log in to a Windows server.
  2. Navigate to Start Menu | Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Services.
  3. Double-click on SNMP Service.
  4. On the General tab, select Automatic under Startup type.
  5. Select the Agent tab and ensure Physical, Applications, Internet, and End-to-end are all checked under the Service area.
  6. Optionally, enter a Contact person and system Location.
  7. Select the Security tab and click on the Add button under Accepted community names.
  8. Enter a Community Name and click on the Add button. For example, we used S4MS3rv3r. We recommend using something secure, as this is a password.

    Community String and Community Name mean the same thing.


    READ ONLY community rights will normally suffice. A detailed explanation of community rights can be found on the author’s blog: http://justinmbrant.blogspot.com/

  9. Next, tick the Accept SNMP packets from these hosts radio button.
  10. Click on the Add button underneath the radio buttons and add the IP of the server you have designated as the SolarWinds SAM host.
  11. Once you complete these steps, the SNMP Service Properties Security tab should look something like the following screenshot. Notice that we used, as that is the IP of the server where we plan to deploy SolarWinds SAM.


In this article, we learned different types of protocols to poll management data. We also learned how to install SNMP as well as assign SNMP community string on Windows.

Resources for Article:

Further resources on this subject:


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