Microsoft has a product specifically for this -- Systems Management Server 2.0, which is designed to do auditing of systems enterprise-wide and do this sort of reporting. Another competing product is Novell's ZENWorks or IBM's Tivoli. Many people have reported that SMS is hard to use, although the 2.0 version attempts to address this issue. For simple, low-end auditing of PCs on the network, there is a product called AdminPal.
This was first published in June 2003