TechNet Magazine: Tools & Utilities
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Toolbox: New Products for IT Professionals
Greg Steen - September 2009
Greg Steen discusses free tools that can help you clone hard drives, identify unknown files, protect sensitive data and monitor disk space
Utility Spotlight: Microsoft Expression Web SuperPreview for Windows Internet Explorer
Lance Whitney - September 2009
Certain Web pages may display differently in Internet Explorer 8 than they did in earlier versions. This tool lets you view pages from different versions side by side to see what needs tweaking for IE8.
Utility Spotlight: PendMoves and MoveFile
Lance Whitney - June 2009
You can’t move, rename or delete a file that’s in use—but sometimes you have to. Luckily, two free utilities called PendMoves and MoveFile let you handle these tasks with ease.
Utility Spotlight: User Profile Deletion Utility
Lance Whitney - May 2009
Delprof is a command-line utility that lets you free up disk space by deleting user profiles that are no longer required on both local or remote computers.
Utility Spotlight: RichCopy
Joshua Hoffman - April 2009
RichCopy is a powerful, multi-threaded alternative to the popular RoboCopy file copy utility. Take a look at how this free tool can significantly improve file copy performance.
Utility Spotlight: VMC to Hyper-V Import Tool
Matthijs Ten Seldam - March 2009
Discover how you can use the free VMC to Hyper-V Import tool to import and then modify VMC files, easing the process of migrating older virtual machines to Hyper-V.
Utility Spotlight: Screenrecorder
Burak Uysaler - March 2009
Screenrecorder is a very easy-to-use screen-to-video capture program that lets users easily capture onscreen events to a small video file that can be shared with others, making it easy to record instructions or reproduce problems for more effective troubleshooting.
Geek of All Trades: Tools of the Trade
Greg Shields - March 2009
Get an overview of some handy free tools created by Microsoft that cover many of the tasks IT professionals must deal with on a regular basis. These utilities will help ease the administration of file servers, Exchange servers, desktops, and more.
Utility Spotlight: Web Page Error Toolkit
Lance Whitney - February 2009
Discover how you can use the free Web Page Error Toolkit from Microsoft to replace the generic 404 page with a custom error pages, providing useful details for site visitors who bump into trouble.
Utility Spotlight: Visual Round Trip Analyzer
Jim Pierson - February 2009
The Visual Round-trip Analyzer utility can help you to discover the reasons why your Web pages may be slow to load, and what you can do to make the pages load faster.
Utility Spotlight: USB Flash Drive Manager
Lance Whitney - January 2009
See how the free Microsoft USB Flash Drive Manager can help you easily copy, delete, and back up files from a flash drive, as well as perform other useful tasks.
Utility Spotlight: Microsoft Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows Vista
Edward Dake - January 2009
This column describes the Microsoft Remote Server Administration Tools, which allow administrators to remotely manage roles and features in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003 from a computer running Windows Vista SP1.
Utility Spotlight: Change Analysis Diagnostic
Lance Whitney - December 2008
See how the Change Analysis Diagnostic tool can help users discover system changes on their computers (from updates, new software, and changed hardware) and resolve problems they may encounter due to these changes.
Utility Spotlight: SyncToy 2.0
Jay Munro - December 2008
This column describes what’s new in version 2 of SyncToy, a utility that helps you keep your files in sync across computers and external drives.
Utility Spotlight: Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar
Lance Whitney - November 2008
Whether you develop Web content or simply support a webmaster, here’s a free Microsoft utility that will make your job easier. See how the Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar can help you explore and troubleshoot Web pages.
Virtualization: Essential Tools for Planning Your Virtual Infrastructure
Jay Sauls and Baldwin Ng - October 2008
Is your infrastructure ready for virtualization? The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit, a network-wide infrastructure assessment tool, can help you better understand your IT infrastructure and determine whether your systems are ready for upgrade or migration to a variety of technologies, including virtualization.
Utility Spotlight: Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool
Peter Skjøtt Larsen and Suveen Kumar Reddy Vuppala - October 2008
Virtual machines that are stored offline don’t automatically receive the necessary updates to keep them safe and compliant. This, in turn, can pose a risk to your entire IT environment. Find out how the free Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool lets you automate the process of updating virtual machines.
Utility Spotlight: Windows Memory Diagnostic
Lance Whitney - September 2008
See how this free utility can help you determine whether problems you are experiencing while running Windows are caused by faulty memory.
Utility Spotlight: Windows Installer CleanUp Utility
Lance Whitney - August 2008
Leftover Windows Installer configuration information can cause problems when you try to update or uninstall an application. You can solve the problem using the Windows Installer CleanUp utility, which can help you remove an application’s Windows Installer information and then reinstall the app.
Utility Spotlight: Microsoft SharedView
Greg Steen - July 2008
Looking for a way to quickly collaborate with someone located in another city? Take a look at out how Microsoft SharedView, a free utility, lets you easily share documents and screens with members of a small group, even across physical boundaries.
Security: New Elevation PowerToys for Windows Vista
Michael Murgolo - June 2008
Michael Murgolo is back with an update to his Elevation PowerToys. You'll find enhanced Run as Administrator functionality that works with third-party scripting tools, a way to replace a handy Windows XP feature removed from Windows Vista, and many more useful tools.
Utility Spotlight: Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor
Lance Whitney - June 2008
Ready to upgrade the systems in your organization to Windows Vista? Find out how the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor can help you determine whether your systems are ready for Windows Vista and which versions they can support.
Field Notes: Sharing a Split Screen
Kentaro Toyama - June 2008
Developed by Microsoft Research India, Split Screen allows two users to share a monitor while running separate instances of the OS on each side.
Utility Spotlight: SharePoint Capacity Planning
Peter Skjøtt Larsen and Satish Mathew - May 2008
Explore the SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool and see how you can design a topology for deploying SharePoint and then revise that topology after running load and usage simulations.
Utility Spotlight: Web Capacity Analysis Tool
Greg Steen - April 2008
Web logs and traffic analysis can give you a good idea of the kind of traffic you can expect over time. But how can you determine what your infrastructure can handle? The free Web Capacity Analysis Tool can help you to see how your systems will perform under stress.
Utility Spotlight: Windows Server Logo Certification
Venkat Krishnamachari - March 2008
To help ISVs and customers gauge application compatibility, Microsoft created the "Works with Windows Server 2008" program. Here's a look at the free supporting test tools made available through the program that can help you ensure that applications will deliver a predictable experience.
Utility Spotlight: ADMX Migrator
Lance Whitney - February 2008
With Windows Vista, the format for Group Policy templates has changed to an XML-based structure. The ADMX Migrator utility can convert your legacy ADM files into the new ADMX format, as well as help you easily create your own custom ADMX files.
Utility Spotlight: Windows Easy Transfer Companion
Lance Whitney - January 2008
This free tool can simplify the migration of key applications from Windows XP to Windows Vista.
Utility Spotlight: The Microsoft Security Assessment Tool
Lance Whitney - December 2007
This free utility and electronic questionnaire can help mid-sized organizations identify and resolve network security risks.
Utility Spotlight: SMS Cmdlets for Windows PowerShell
Don Brown - November 2007
Find out how you can start using Windows PowerShell cmdlets to manage SMS 2003 clients from the command line.
Utility Spotlight: Virtual Machine Remote Control Plus
Matthijs ten Seldam - October 2007
The Virtual Server 2005 interface is a Web application, offering the conveniences of Web-based management. But sometimes you want a rich UI that behaves like a Windows application.VMRCplus gives you an alternative UI that offers easy configuration management and remote control of virtual machines, all from within a single application.
Windows Server: 11 Essential Tools for Managing Active Directory
Laura E. Hunter - September 2007
In a large organization, even the most common Active Directory tasks, such as adding and modifying objects, can be tedious and time-consuming. These 11 tools can make Active Directory management a lot easier.
Utility Spotlight: PageDefrag
Lance Whitney - September 2007
The typical Windows defrag tool can optimize most of the files on your hard drive. But certain items, such the Windows page file and Registry hives, are beyond the powers of most defragging tools. This utility, created by Mark Russinovich for Sysinternals, saves the day by defragging the files that are left untouched by other tools.
Utility Spotlight: BGInfo
Lance Whitney - August 2007
Wouldn’t it be great if you could see everything you need to know about a PC—its name, IP address, gateway, free disk space, and so on—in a single place. You can, with this free tool from Sysinternals.
Utility Spotlight: SMSMap
Jeff Tondt - July 2007
Seeing the whole SMS hierarchy as a picture can help you quickly understand how your infrastructure is laid out. This handy tool automates creation of your infrastructure diagram in Visio via COM.
Utility Spotlight: Script Elevation PowerToys for Windows Vista
Michael Murgolo - June 2007
While User Account Control offers an important improvement in security, the ability to elevate permissions is essential for accomplishing certain administrative tasks and functions. Here are some Elevation PowerToys that make elevation more flexible and powerful.
Utility Spotlight: Upgrade Toolkit for SharePoint Sites and Templates
Luis Câmara Manoel and Peter Skjøtt Larsen - May 2007
Upgrading to Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 can pose challenges if you use customized sites and templates. Explore a new Solution Accelerator that provides tools and guidance to help you get the job done.
Management: Plan Ahead with System Center Capacity Planner
John Savill - April 2007
Insufficient hardware leads to poor response times while too much hardware is a waste of budget and administration resources. Learn how you can use the System Center Capacity Planner to model your network and accurately estimate your infrastructure needs.
Utility Spotlight: Autoruns
Lance Whitney - April 2007
The vast number of apps that run automatically at system start up can be a source of endless headaches. But with Autoruns, you can investigate every app that runs automatically, letting you troubleshoot conflicts, track down malware, and free up system resources.
Utility Spotlight: SyncToy
Jay Munro - March 2007
Face it, most of the users you support just don't back up there data. SyncToy provides an unintrusive way to ensure your users' files are always backed up and ready to be easily restored.
The Desktop Files: PsTools Primer
Wes Miller - March 2007
PsTools provides a gaggle of useful utilities for system administration. Explore all the tools this free suite has to offer and learn how you can use them to do everything from changing a user account password and viewing a user's SID to gathering system information and managing processes.
Utility Spotlight: Group Policy Inventory
Greg Steen - February 2007
Utility Spotlight: Internet Explorer Administration Kit
Lance Whitney - January 2007
Utility Spotlight: Robocopy GUI
Joshua Hoffman - November 2006
Traditional copy and paste works well enough for simple tasks, but for advanced functionality, you need Robocopy. But what if you're not a fan of the command line? Enter Robocopy GUI.
System Management: Gathering WMI Data without Writing a Single Line of Code
John Kelbley - September 2006
WMI is a powerful tool, but writing scripts to harness it can be intimidating. Here’s a hidden command-line interface that makes it easier to take advantage of WMI. Best of all, the tool is already on your system.
System Management: Essential Tools for MOM Administration
Dave Cristini, Matt Goedtel, and Eric Kamor - September 2006
The MOM 2005 Resource Kit was recently refreshed and some handy new tools were added. Here’s a quick overview of some of the best utilities that will help you get a lot more out of MOM.
Utility Spotlight: Access-Based Enumeration
James D. Silliman - September 2006
As a systems administrator, you've probably had users complain that they can't access certain folders they see in Windows® Explorer. The cause is often simple: the user doesn't have permission to open those resources.
Utility Spotlight: The Shared Computer Toolkit
Jeremy Moskowitz - July 2006
One of the most common requests I get at my Group Policy forum, GPanswers. com, is how to take machines and "lock them down. " People want to ensure their machines can’t be broken by Joe User or Harry Badguy.