Free Administrative Software Tools
By Michael Guyett
A good thing for any Administrator to have is a CD with all the utilities they need to work on a computer. There are many free or
shareware utilities that can make your job much easier. Here I am going to list and describe some of the utilities I use, and some that other admins
Belarc Advisor is a great little program for creating a profile for you
computer. It fits onto a floppy drive, and will build an html page you can print out with all the vital statistics for your computer.
It will show CPU speed, Ram, HD space, OS, Patches, and Licenses. Great for building a detailed file of you company/client's
AVG offers a free virus scanner. It's small it's fast and unobtrusive.
It's easy to install, and will scan e-mail, and resident programs if you want it too. Probably not the best Virus scanner around, but
NetworkView is a shareware program that will discover your network,
and map it out for you. It will scan ports and attempt to determine what services are running on machines it detects. It also
attempts to record the MAC addresses of each computer it detects. Very useful for network admins, especially if you are coming into a
network that hasn't been documented properly.
WinZip is a great archive utility. It allows you to compress files for storage or transmission, and to de-compress them. This is
probably one of the most widely used utilities on the Internet, as compressing data makes downloads much faster. A must have on any
computer in your network.
Windows doesn't come with an SSH client, so if you ever need to remote into your Linux boxes from a Windows machine, you're going to
need a separate utility. PuTTY is a great little SSH client. It can also be used for telnet and other protocols, but I suspect you
will use it for SSH more than anything else.
Today, more and more documents are being stored as .pdf
files. These files are compact and pretty. Adobe offers a free program to read these files. This should be one of the first
utilities you install on a client machine. Otherwise you will never stop getting calls from users who can't open files that a
correspondent sent them.
Used to view Power Point Presentations. I think that pretty much covers it.
Microsoft Security Tool:
A Microsoft developed tool that scans your system for missing security patches and alerts you to the need for updating.
Microsoft Power Toys for XP:
Especially useful in this bunch is TweakUI. Among the other utilities are a Virtual Desktop manager, and a utility to switch Alt-tab
for a more user-friendly version.
A free utility that allows you to remote connect to someone's machine and view it or control it. This is great for when you have a
user with a problem and instead of just trying to walk them through it over the phone. RealVNC is cross platform, which means you can
control a W2k machine from a Linux box and vice versa.
Include commonly used Service Packs and patches for the programs that you would typically find on the machine in your field.
Once you have these files, and any others you find yourself needing, burn them to a CD and get a carrying case for it, this way you
will have it handy when you're working setting up computers. Another good practice is to place the files in a directory you can
access on the network.
Article last reviewed: 02/29/2004
Created by: Digital Foundation,
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