How do I create a simple program or script that will notify me when one of our servers is down?

We have about a dozen Windows servers in our office, some of which are virtual. Some of the less-essential servers go down on occasion and I don't know about it untl after a problem has arisen. For example, we have a fax server that will go down sometimes and I won't know until customers call and say they can't fax something to us.

I thought about running a batch file or script that would ping each server on the hour and let me know if the ping fails. Then I realized we have one server where being powered on isn't enough -- it must be logged in, so a startup program can launch (for some reason it won't start as a system service).

What can I do to monitor my servers in an old-school way that involves some simple scripting? I'd be willing to use an open-source program to handle it if one exists, but this isn't something I want to throw hundreds of dollars at (with a commercial program) when I know can do it for free either on my own or with a program someone else has already written for this purpse. I am decent with batch files and I've done some beginner stuff with C++ and VB scripting. What's the best way to attack this problem?
Who is Participating?
Hi, here's a VBS script that will monitor servers in a text file called "computers.txt", pinging them every two minutes.

We could modify the script to check for the existence of the Explorer.exe process, which would tell us whether someone was currently logged in or not....


strFile = "computers.txt"
strLogFile = "LogFile.txt"
Set objIE = CreateObject("InternetExplorer.Application")
objIE.Navigate "about:blank"
objIE.ToolBar = False
objIE.AddressBar = False
objIE.Top = 0
objIE.left = 0
objIE.Width = 800
objIE.Height = 600
objIE.Visible = True
objIE.menubar = False
objIE.StatusBar = False
objIE.Document.Body.Title = "Ping Status"
Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
Const intForReading = 1
While IsObject(objIE) = True
	On Error Resume Next
	objIE.Document.Body.InnerHTML = "<br><table><tr><td width='40' bgcolor='green'></td><td> Successful ping</td><td width='40' bgcolor='orange'></td><td> Successful ping but failed connectivity</td><td width='40' bgcolor='red'></td><td> Failed ping</td></table><br>"
	If Err.Number <> 0 Then WScript.Quit
	On Error GoTo 0
	Set objFile = objFSO.OpenTextFile(strFile, intForReading, False)
	While Not objFile.AtEndOfStream
		strComputer = objFile.ReadLine
		If Ping(strComputer) = True Then
			strColor = "green"
			On Error Resume Next
			Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:" _
				& "{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\" & StrComputer & "\root\cimv2")
			If Err.Number <> 0 Then strColor = "orange"
			On Error GoTo 0
			strColor = "red"
		End If
		On Error Resume Next
		objIE.Document.Body.InnerHTML = objIE.Document.Body.InnerHTML & "<table><tr><td width='200'>" & strComputer & "</td><td width='40' bgcolor='" & strColor & "'></td></tr></table>" & VbCrLf
		If strColor = "green" Then
			strLog = Now & ": " & strComputer & " - GREEN - pinged successfully."
		ElseIf strColor = "orange" Then
			strLog = Now & ": " & strComputer & " - ORANGE - pinged successfully, but connectivity failed."
		ElseIf strColor = "red" Then
			strLog = Now & ": " & strComputer & " - RED - ping failed."
		End If
		WriteToLog strLog
		If Err.Number <> 0 Then WScript.Quit
		On Error GoTo 0
	Set objFile = Nothing
	On Error Resume Next
	strFullPage = objIE.Document.Body.InnerHTML
	If Err.Number <> 0 Then WScript.Quit
	On Error GoTo 0
	For intSeconds = 120 To 0 Step - 1
		On Error Resume Next
		objIE.Document.Body.InnerHTML = strFullPage & "<br><br>Refreshing in " & intSeconds & " seconds..."
		If Err.Number <> 0 Then WScript.Quit
		On Error GoTo 0
		WScript.Sleep 1000
Set objFSO = Nothing
MsgBox "Done"
Function Ping(strComputer)
	Dim objShell, boolCode
	Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
	boolCode = objShell.Run("Ping -n 4 -w 300 " & strComputer, 0, True)
	If boolCode = 0 Then
		Ping = True
		Ping = False
	End If
End Function
Sub WriteToLog(strText)
	Set objLogFile = objFSO.OpenTextFile(strLogFile, 8, True)
	objLogFile.WriteLine strText
	Set objLogFile = Nothing
End Sub

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Nagios is what our company uses, and it's open source.
I would recommend Powershell. You could use a very simple script to connect to each server and let you know the Current Uptime and check specific services.
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wdabbsAuthor Commented:

Thanks for the script, I like it. How can I use it to notify me by email? Do I need a separate routine to monitor that log file and look for errors?
I had a script that would ping an array of servers, log it, and send an email if the server is non-responsive.  I cannot find it at the moment (I left my thumb drive at home).   However, I use this code to send me the emails.  You should be able to add that to RobSampson's script.
Set objMessage = CreateObject("CDO.Message")
objMessage.Subject = "Example CDO Message"
objMessage.Sender = ""
objMessage.To = ""
objMessage.TextBody = "This is some sample message text."
objMessage.Configuration.Fields.Item("") = 2
objMessage.Configuration.Fields.Item("") = ""
objMessage.Configuration.Fields.Item("") = 25

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Thanks for the grade.  Sorry for not replying...I've been busy....I hope you've managed to piece together the emailng code...


Did you get this to work togeather?
If yes can you post the final post please... So we can use them....
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