Best Practice Ezine #95 – A few more tools
Guy’s paranoia is that by giving out too many links you won’t come back to my site. What has overcome this paranoia is seeing the benefits from publicising free utilities that readers genuinely love.
Before I mention the utilities, I have to tell you the tale of a training course I once ran. In an idle moment between topics, I said to a group of delegates, ‘Have you seen Windiff?’ Well this miserable bunch had indeed seen ‘Windiff’ and they all agreed, it was rubbish. I was just about to start explaining the next Module, when in came Malcolm who missed the previous debate on Windiff. Malcolm just caught the tail end of the discussion, and bless him, he said ‘I think Windiff is great it helped me to solve a knotty registry problem’. My point is that with all these utilities, one man’s meat is definitely another man’s poison.
A few more tools
CPAU better than RUNAS from www.joeware.net
Story from Joeware
Joe says: CPAU is an extremely popular tool. My original point in creating this tool was two fold, the ability to pass the password on the command line and to start up with network credentials versus local credentials. The first couldn’t be done with RUNAS, the second required me to add an additional parameter and I was running RUNAS many times every day and was sick of typing /netonly. Recommended by Marcia and also Bernd.
In a nutshell Berndt recons FileAcl is better than Cacls.
Create a batch file to keep a backup of the current ACLs
Recommended by Bernd
Unlocker from http://en.downloadastro.com/
The story of unlocker is that it’s a specialist tool for a particular situation:
Cannot delete file: Access is denied
Another recommendation from Bernd.
XVI32, a freeware hex editor http://www.chmaas.handshake.de/
XVI32 is a freeware hex editor running under Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2003, and Windows XP. The name XVI32 is derived from XVI, the roman notation for the number 16. Recommended by Daven, who gives an extra tip: I Add XV123 to my ‘SendTo’ menu, thus, I can just right-click a file and send it straight to the hex editor.
Angry IP scanner https://angryip.org/download/
Angry IP scanner is a very fast IP scanner and port scanner. It can scan IP addresses in any range as well as any their ports. Its binary file size is very small compared to other IP or port scanners. Angry IP scanner simply pings each IP address to check if it’s alive, then optionally it is resolving its hostname, determines the MAC address, scans ports, etc. The amount of gathered data about each host can be extended with the available plugins.
It also has additional features, like NetBIOS information (computer name, workgroup name, and currently logged in Windows user), favorite IP address ranges, customizable openers, etc.
Scanning results can be saved to CSV, TXT, HTML, XML or IP-Port list file, can be used as a command-line utility in a batch file, etc. With help of plugins, Angry IP Scanner can gather any information about scanned IPs. Anybody who can write code is able to write plugins and extend functionality of Angry IP Scanner.
Recommended by Daven.
Guy Recommends: The Free IP Address Tracker (IPAT)
Calculating IP Address ranges is a black art, which many network managers solve by creating custom Excel spreadsheets. IPAT cracks this problem of allocating IP addresses in networks in two ways:
For Mr Organized there is a nifty subnet calculator, you enter the network address and the subnet mask, then IPAT works out the usable addresses and their ranges.
For Mr Lazy IPAT discovers and then displays the IP addresses of existing computers. Download the Free IP Address Tracker
AutoIt from http://www.autoitscript.com/
AutoIt is a freeware Windows automation language. It can be used to script most simple Windows-based tasks (great for PC rollouts or home automation). Recommended by Daven, he says: ‘As a BASIC style scripting language with GUI ability. One of the things that turned me on to AutoIt was it’s ability to compile your scripts into .exe files that cannot be de-compiled, helps when you need to run an external program with elevated privileges but don’t want to risk a user loading it into notepad and seeing the password.
Trung Le adds: Beware, experienced users may in fact be able to decompile your autoitscript .exe files.
I think my favorite utility is the Size Explorer Pro. Yes, yes, I know that storage space is cheap. However, having trained much of our staff on how to backup .pst files to the network, I am constantly finding copies of a variety of massive files. This spiffy little utility can catalog 1700 files per second (on our file server) and then search by extension type, size, or date range. If you are troubled by growing backups, this is a great little tool for identifying memory hogs with a penchant for storing avi files of urinating monkeys or dogs that can ride a skateboard. Used in conjunction with Duplicate file finder, you can prune your tape backups considerably. Regards, Bruce Munroe.
ZtreeWin from http://www.ztree.com
ZtreeWin is son of XTreeGold. Superior capabilities as a text-mode, tree-structured file-manager, here is just a sample of the enhancements in v1.51:
Alt-Log/Unlogged branches only (ignores ZNOLOG.INI).
Recommended by Thomas Church
Pingplotter from http://www.pingplotter.com
Do you remember what I said about one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Thomas Church recommends Pingplotter, but when I installed it took over all my internet bandwidth, consequently I could not browse at the same time as run Pingplotter. The most likely explanation is Guy’s error, however, because it looks a great combination of Tracert and Ping, I will be interested in others observations of Pingplotter.
Thomas continues: ‘I use Ping plotter to look at problems on the targeted machine (s) over time. I can set it to run and see at what times an out of <normal> response time occurs. This allows me to then use other tools to zero in on the actual problem. To see if there is a pattern to the problems, ie allows correlation to other known processes which occur at that time and which may be causing problems either on that system or that this system is reflecting. yea the tracer part id kinda neat too.
I would like to sign off by saying that at least two of these utilities originate in Germany. The German’s probably won’t agree, but it did their international reputation more good by being great hosts to the Football World Cup than if they had won the competition. See World Cup football jokes
Now that you can see the style of this page, I hope that a you will write in with you favourite utilities. I was in Cuckoo land expecting lots of amusing stories, but what brings a tool to life is personal experience of how you use it.
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The original few good tools
Lots of useful computer tools