Today I’m serving you the Top 10 Must Have Windows System Administrator Tools every system administrator should know about. Most of them are freeware but some are paid. Feel free to expand this list in the comments. Here we go in no particulair order.
1. Sysinterals Suite
The good ‘ol sysinternals suite, every Windows admin knows about this excellent toolkit. We can’t live without it. Sysinternalse (formerly known as ntinternals) was created in 1996. There’s also a live version available which basically is a open dir with all tools. Get it here
2. Wireshark – Protocol Analyzer
Wireshark is a free and open-source packet analyzer. It is used for network troubleshooting, analysis, software and communications protocol development, and education. Originally named Ethereal, in May 2006 the project was renamed Wireshark.
3. Treesize – Diskspace Management
TreeSize Professional is a powerful and flexible hard disk space manager for Windows 8/7/Vista/XP or Windows Server 2012/2008/2003 (32 or 64 Bit). There’s a freeware version with some limitations. It’s not possible to scan remote disks and it’s not supported on the Windows Server platform. If you want all this, you’ll have to buy the professional edition which is in my opinion worth it.
4. Rufus – Create bootable USB drives
Rufus is an utility that helps format and create bootable USB flash drives, such as USB keys/pendrives, memory sticks, etc. It’s a very fast and lightweight utility.
5. Dependency Walker – Windows Module Analyzer
Dependency Walker is a free utility that scans any 32-bit or 64-bit Windows module (exe, dll, ocx, sys, etc.) and builds a hierarchical tree diagram of all dependent modules. For each module found, it lists all the functions that are exported by that module, and which of those functions are actually being called by other modules. Another view displays the minimum set of required files, along with detailed information about each file including a full path to the file, base address, version numbers, machine type, debug information, and more.
Dependency Walker is also very useful for troubleshooting system errors related to loading and executing modules. Dependency Walker detects many common application problems such as missing modules, invalid modules, import/export mismatches, circular dependency errors, mismatched machine types of modules, and module initialization failures.
6. NirLauncher – 150 Portable Freeware Utilities
NirLauncher is a package of more than 150 portable freeware utilities for Windows. It can be used from USB flash drive without need of any installation. NirLauncher and all the utilities in the package are completely freeware, without any Spyware/Adware/Malware. This package doesn’t contain any 3-party software, toolbars, Web browser plugins, or other unwanted surprises.
It will not install any software on your system and it will not change your Web browser homepage or other settings on your system. NirLauncher package includes variety of tools that you may need for your daily computer use, including utilities to recover lost passwords, to monitor your network, to view and extract cookies, cache, and other information stored by your Web browser, to search files in your system.
7. Remote Desktop Manager
Remote Desktop Manager lets you centralize all your remote connections, passwords and credentials into a unique platform. This tool allows you to manage your RDP connections in a effective way plus al lot of cool features like AD integration, shared connections etc.
8. Remote Server Administration Tools voor Windows 8.1
Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8.1 enables IT administrators to manage roles and features that are installed on computers that are running Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2 from a remote computer that is running Windows 8.1 Pro or Windows 8.1 Enterprise.
9. Microsoft Security Compliance Manager
The Security Compliance Manager (SCM) is a free tool from the Microsoft that enables you to quickly configure and manage the computers in your environment and your private cloud using Group Policy and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager. SCM provides ready-to-deploy policies and DCM configuration packs based on Microsoft security guide recommendations and industry best practices, allowing you to easily manage configuration drift and address compliance requirements for Windows operating systems, Office applications, and other Microsoft applications.
Now you can easily configure computers running Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, Microsoft Office applications, and Windows Internet Explorer 10 with industry leading knowledge and fully supported tools. In addition to the latest software releases, you can also configure previous additions of Windows Server and Microsoft Office.
10. Windows Resource Kit (legacy)
Back in the Windows Server 2003 era the Windows Resource Kit was a seperate set of tooling you’d have to manually install on your server. In Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2, the resource kit tools are installed as part of the server role installation. For example, if you install the Active Directory Domain Services server role, all of the tools needed to support that role are installed on the server (i.e ADSIEdit, ADUC, etc).