Toolbox: New products for IT professionals
These two suites of tools help you monitor and maintain the TCP ports in use on your system and keep your system clean after deleting applications.
Have you ever been unable to launch an application because the TCP port it wants to use is already occupied? Maybe you just wanted to verify that a service was listening in on the correct port? There are various command-line utilities to help you achieve these types of tasks, but having the functionality in one place can be just what you need.
CurrPorts, from NirSoft, is a free and simple utility that can help you do all that. CurrPorts is available in 32- and 64-bit versions. It’s a self-contained executable that shows you all currently opened TCP/IP and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) ports on your local machine. It also has an auto-refresh feature to show you active state at user-defined intervals, as well as features for killing processes, closing connections and reporting on processes.
In the main window, you can see the process name and its associated icon; the process ID; the protocol (TCP or UDP); the local and remote port, port name and IP address, as well as the remote host; current port state; and the file path to the associated process. CurrPorts lets you configure the columns, show or hide particular columns, and adjust the order in which they appear. You’ll undoubtedly have too many listings to show in one shot, so CurrPorts lets you set filters on the view where you can easily include or exclude ports, protocols, IP addresses, processes and so on.
There are a number of quick filters on the Options menu, with associated hot keys. These let you control the type of ports and port state, and highlight new or modified ports. You can also right-click on a process to either include or exclude similar attributes of another process. The right-click context menu lets you close a connection, get process properties or even kill the associated process.
If you’re only concerned with port connections to remote addresses, you can quick-filter to see only those application connections. CurrPorts will automatically try to resolve remote hostnames to help you make sense of the data. CurrPorts also integrates with another NirSoft utility called IPNetInfo. This lets you jump to the WHOIS or geolocation-based IP address information of a particular remote host.
CurrPorts has numerous features for reporting and repurposing port and process data. You can save process details to a text file for one, some or all current processes. You can also dump the process table to a simple HTML-based report, or simply copy and paste the data into Excel. CurrPorts has a logging option for dumping process changes to a file. In the log file, you can see when a process was added or removed, the process name and the various connections it tried to make. If you need to continually monitor port connections, CurrPorts has a system tray feature, and can beep when it detects new port connections.
CurrPorts has some useful features for the IT professional. So the next time you find yourself troubleshooting a port binding or wanting to whack a process occupying your machine, add NirSoft CurrPorts to your utility belt and get it done quickly and easily.
As an IT professional, you end up frequently adding and removing programs to test new products or verify upgrades. Invariably, the amount of bread crumbs those applications leave behind grows. You’re left with personalized settings, registry entries and unused folders clogging up your system. There’s a suite of utilities to help manage and clean up your system called jv16 PowerTools 2012 from Macecraft Inc., a company based in Finland.
The jv16 PowerTools 2012 utilities come in four categories: Registry Tools, File Tools, System Tools and Privacy Tools. As the name suggests, Registry Tools cover cleanup and maintenance of the Windows registry hive. There’s a Registry Manager that groups registry keys into categories for easy manipulation. Registry Finder lets you search the registry by the standard string wildcard patterns, as well as regular expression, owner and even date last modified. You can also group and filter your search results.
The Registry Find & Replace tool lets you update registry data values en masse. Registry Cleaner and Registry Compactor clean up old program and data artifacts, as well as reorder and reduce the size of the registry to help your machine run more efficiently. Registry Information shows you categorized statistics about the amount of data stored in your registry.
The final registry tool is Registry Monitor. This lets you create and compare registry snapshots so you can see which programs have done what to your system. This is handy for setting up disk images, ensuring clean uninstalls or troubleshooting application compatibility.
The File Tools included with jv16 PowerTools 2012 are a set of 14 utilities for managing and manipulating files and directories on your local system. These help you search the file system, recover deleted files, permanently wipe files, seek out duplicate files and directories, change file and folder attributes, and rename files en masse. You can also merge files, split files into multiple parts or replace data within files.
The System Tools give you alternative mechanisms for software uninstalls, program start-up management, and local service control and management. The Privacy Tools help you clean up your system by scrubbing the various histories stored by Windows and other programs, wiping disks, and cleaning up files and directories.
Besides these tools, jv16 PowerTools 2012 has a few helpful adjunct functions that can take backups of the registry, files and other information. The product can also give you an action history to help keep track of changes, log actions taken for historical purposes and help recover from mistakes.
Macecraft jv16 PowerTools 2012 runs $29.95 for a single personal use license, or $59 for a commercial license. There are support packages available as well. There’s a generous 60-day free trial available from the Web site, so you can really try before you buy. The software runs on most versions of Windows, both 32-bit and 64-bit. If you find your system bogging down under the load of the various extras left behind by application installs and uninstalls, check out jv16 PowerTools 2012 to keep things clean.
Greg Steen is a technology professional, entrepreneur and enthusiast. He’s always on the hunt for new tools to help make operations, QA and development easier for the IT professional.