Guy’s Best Practice Ezine 153 – One Good Utility Leads to Another

Ezine 153 – One Good Utility Leads to Another

Have you ever noticed that if you find one good utility the trail leads you to discover more?  Or if you complete one task successfully the next one seems easy?

Good Utilities

Undelete Plus

At present Undelete Plus is free program, (it used to be $29.95).  As the name suggests Undelete’s mission is to restore files which ‘Mr Nobody’ accidentally deleted.  It also recovers files that have been zapped with Shift + Delete.  So, rather than conducting a witch hunt to see who deleted the files, just get on with life, and install Undelete Plus.

It works on a large range of file systems: FAT and NTFS, also with CompactFlash, SmartMedia, MultiMedia and Secure Digital cards.

Three more pleasant surprises with Undelete Plus

  • The install could not have been easier.
  • It even works on Windows Server 2008.
  • The biggest surprise of all, it could recover files deleted BEFORE I installed Undelete Plus.  Perhaps if I had thought about how Undelete works, this would not have come as such a revelation.


Before we get carried away, let me inject a dose of realism.  Undelete Plus is unlikely to recover intact files that you zapped 2 years ago, especially if you saved lots more stuff to disk since the original delete.

As I was testing Undelete Plus, a thought struck me, ‘I should be protecting some of these data folders with Volume Shadow Copy and its accompanying Previous Version’.  Then I got to thinking, this is a good time to review my entire backup strategy.  Funny how one good idea (Undelete), leads to more good ideas, Volume Shadow Copy and test backup and restore.

Download your free copy of Undelete Plus

Ez GPO – Power Settings for XP

Ez GPO provides power management for XP.  The idea is that you configure the GPOs supplied to control the Power Settings.  The result is you have a central point where you can regulate all your XP machines’ Hibernation, Sleep and Standby settings.  Time spent on power management is particularly worthwhile for laptops with a short battery life.  Naturally, the overall goal is to save electricity with all the associated financial and ‘Green’ benefits.

Then I got to thinking, there is a good reason why Ez GPO does not work with Vista; namely you can control Vista machines through existing Microsoft Group Policies.  Consequently, I took the time to configure my Vista machines to reduce their power consumption.


What attracted me to ipMonitor was its bank of lights which indicate the status of each resource on each server, it’s like I imagine mission control at Houston.  What you have to see for your self is the mind-blowing level of extra detail; just double click on the icons and drill down to see the performance of resources such as memory, CPU, disk.  You can also remotely monitor hardware, for example, fan, temperature and battery.

One key benefit of the console is that you don’t have to remember thresholds for when available memory is critical, or when CPU utilization is abnormally high, ipMonitor sets the counters automatically.  And yes you can change values once you know what you are doing.  What’s more, you don’t realize how much you are learning about the operating system, the hardware and their dependencies.

Download your free evaluation copy of ipMonitor

Benchmark Tools – For Monitoring Disks

Benchmark has a whole raft of tools for monitoring disks.  Many are Freeware.

Active SMART

I tested Benchmark’s Active Smart, mainly because it was the first on the list and it looked like the most expensive.  Active SMART claims to predict when a hard disk drive is about to fail.

I have to say that Active Smart did not work with Windows Server 2008, but neither did its blurb claim support for this operating system.  However, it does work with Vista and Windows Server 2003. 

Once again testing a utility spawned an interesting idea.  I could write a PowerShell script which would filter the System Eventlog for disk errors.  While this is not as good a solution as Active Smart, it will tide me over until they, or a competitor, produce a utility which works with Windows Server 2008.

Before I move on, just to remind you that there are loads more utilities in Benchmark’s suite, one or two are bound to give you ideas. 

Guy Recommends: Tools4ever’s UMRAUMRA The User Management Resource Administrator

Tired of writing scripts? The User Management Resource Administrator solution by Tools4ever offers an alternative to time-consuming manual processes.

It features 100% auto provisioning, Helpdesk Delegation, Connectors to more than 130 systems/applications, Workflow Management, Self Service and many other benefits. Click on the link for more information onUMRA.


KidZui (Kids User Interface) cannot access the internet, but that is by design.  KidZui’s whole concept is safe browsing for children.  And KidZui free.  It works by accessing only URLs in an approved database.  To get started the parent downloads the KidZui application, they then configure an account for their children to access the pages in a controlled database.

As of October 2008 there are over 1 Million entries in the url database, thus something safe for every kid.  One clever trick to encourage children to browse (as if they needed one) is the use of avatars.  Once they have their avatar, called a Zuis, they earn points by browsing.  I expect you have worked out the last part already, they convert points into gear for their Zuis.

My wife and I don’t have children, thus KidZui is not for us, nevertheless I was fascinated by the technology and the way that kids use of the internet is developing.  One conundrum that I have is why don’t they teach children to type in school?

Get your free copy of KidZui

Summary of One Good Utility Leads to Another

There is an ever growing supply of internet utilities.  Paul DeBrino has a knack of finding treasures amongst the myriad of offerings.  One surprise that struck me this week is the way that one utility sparks off ideas for improving other areas of one’s computer system.

Will and Guy’s Humour

This week Will and Guy are hoping that the financial crisis is over, one sign is the volume of ‘black humor’ that is springing up, here is our offering on ‘Bank Crisis – Black Humor‘.

See more interesting network computer utilities

E195 Router Security  • E158 Network Apps  • E153 Network Utilities  • E149 Performance Monitor

E138 Network Utilities  • E137 IPv6  •E121 NCPA for Network Connections  • E111 Mobile Devices

E98 Nmap  •E16 Perfmon  •Network Performance Monitor  • Kiwi Syslog Server Review  • Ezines