In this article, we will look at some of the best free tools available for Windows system administrators.
When you are a system administrator, you should know the right tools to get the job done to save loads of your time. Keeping hundreds of computers up-to-date and monitoring network devices is no easy task.
We have included some very useful free and open-source tools for the system administrator.
Sysinternals Suit is a free troubleshooting utility that has been rolled up into a single suite of tools for Windows operating systems. If you want to troubleshoot Windows-related issues, these tools are a must-have in your arsenal.
They are portable, so you can run them without installing them. Some of the important tools are Process Explorer, Autorun, TCP View, PsTool, PsList, Process Monitor, disk2vhd, Move File, Sync, etc.
Free Wireshark is the most popular free open-source and cross-platform packet analyzer. It is used for network troubleshooting, analysis, latency issues, malicious activity on your network, software development, and communications protocol development.
Wireshark allows you to see what’s happening on your network at a microscopic level and to identify the root causes. It has rich features such as live capture and offline analysis, deep inspection of hundreds of protocols, a standard three-pane packet browser, etc.
CJWDEV AD INFO is a free and flexible Active Directory reporting tool with over 190 built-in reports as well as the option to create your own.
With more flexibility than other Active Directory reporting tools and a modern, user-friendly interface, AD Info lets you easily query your Active Directory domain for the information you need.
CJWDEV AD TIDY is a free and very useful tool to identify and clean up inactive user and computer accounts in your Active Directory domain. Search your Active Directory domain for user or computer accounts that are no longer in use by filtering based on last logon time, DNS record timestamp, and much more.
You can then perform many actions on the accounts that were found, such as moving them to another OU, disabling them, setting a random password, removing them from all groups, and much more.
CJWDEV NTFS Permissions Reporter is a powerful reporting tool designed to make it easy to view NTFS permissions in your directory tree. The NTFS Permissions Reporter is a modern, user-friendly tool for reporting on directory permissions on your Windows file servers.
It lets you quickly see which groups and users have access to which directories and allows you to export this information to a file for further review.
CJWDEV AD Permissions Reporter is a modern, intuitive program that makes it easy to report on security permissions on your Active Directory objects.
It can be used to document all permissions in the domain, or you can use the powerful filtering capabilities to track down specific types of permissions that do not conform to your organization’s standards, or simply to see which AD objects a particular user has been granted access to.
CJWDEV AD Photo Edit is a very useful application when you want to upload images to the Active Directory attribute that Outlook 2010 pulls display pictures from Outlook 2010, Lync, and SharePoint. It can display a photo for each user account or contact in Active Directory but includes no way to upload images into the thumbnail Photo Active Directory attribute that is used to store these images other than the command line tools included with Exchange 2010.
It is a user-friendly application designed to make it easy to upload, edit, and export these images.
Free Windows Admin Tools is a free Windows administration tool that assists IT administrators with day-to-day desktop management tasks.
This Windows tool helps in operations like remote desktop connection, remote task manager, software inventory, remote shutdown, remote restart, wake on LAN tool, system inventory tool, performing Group Policy update, etc., from a single console.
Free Windows Health Monitor is a health monitoring tool for Windows that allows you to remotely monitor all Windows client and server operating systems. With this free version, you can monitor up to 20 devices simultaneously.
Key features are monitoring the Windows system’s performance in real time, setting critical and warning threshold limits, generating performance reports, and sending email.
ManageEngine’s Free Active Directory Tools is a collection of numerous useful free Active Directory tools that assist system administrators in their daily tasks.
These tools include the AD query tool, CSV generator, Last login reporter, Terminal session manager, AD replication manager, SharePoint manager, DMZ port analyzer, DC monitor, Password policy manager, DNS reporter tools, etc.
Netwrix Auditor for Windows File Server is a free community edition tool that allows you to audit your file server by tracking changes made to files, folders, shares, and permissions. It also detects deleted and newly created files and folders.
This file server audit tool collects and analyzes log events on the file server and sends daily activity summaries that detail all read attempts and changes that were made during the last 24 hours, with the before and after values.
Netrix Auditor for Exchange is a free community edition tool that helps monitor the exchange server and what’s happening inside, both on-premises and in the cloud. This free tool monitors changes to your mailboxes, role groups, mailbox databases, and Exchange Server and Exchange Online configurations.
It also keeps you updated on all successful non-owner mailbox access events. Daily email reports detail every one of these actions within the last 24 hours.
Netwrix Auditor for SQL Server is a free community edition tool from Netwrix. It keeps you informed about what’s happening inside your SQL server by detecting logons and changes made to SQL Server objects and permissions, including server instances, roles, databases, tables, stored procedures, and more.
This free SQL tool sends daily reports detailing every change and logon made during the last 24 hours, including the before and after values for each modification.
The Netwrix Account Lockout Examiner is a free tool that assists the system administrator in identifying the root cause of an Active Directory account repeatedly locking out, so they can quickly restore normal operations. With a single click, you can identify the root cause of an Active Directory account lockout.
Its key features are to easily identify the root causes of lockouts, minimize troubleshooting time, and reduce the pressure on your helpdesk team.
Netwrix Password Expiration Notifier is a free tool that helps reduce the time spent on password management by automatically sending Active Directory password expiration notifications to users and their managers.
It will reduce password-related tickets for your helpdesk team because it automatically sends the alert email to the users that specify the number of days left before password expiration.
Clonezilla is a free and open-source disk imaging, disk cloning, data recovery, system deployment, bare metal backup, and recovery software.
It is available in three types, such as Clonezilla Live, Clonezilla Lite Server, and Clonezilla Server Edition. Clonezilla Live is suitable for single computer storage media, whereas Clonezilla Lite and Clonezilla Server Edition are suitable for massive deployment and can simultaneously clone 40 computers.
Macrium Reflect 8 is one of the most powerful free disk cloning and data backup programs available for personal and commercial use. Its user interface is a little bit complex but easy to use once you are familiar with it.
The features include creating an image of a running operating system, differential imaging, restoring a non-bootable system, direct disk cloning, browsing backup content in Windows Explorer, and booting back up in Hyper-V virtual machines.
The Veeam Backup and Replication Community Edition is a free community edition software that helps you backup VMware and Hyper-V virtual machines, as well as physical servers, workstations, and cloud instances, delivering the same capabilities as the Veeam Backup & Replication Standard Edition.
It can be used to protect up to 10 VMs or workloads-or a combination of VMs, cloud instances, physical servers, or workstations. Users can protect production environments, use it in their home lab, or use it for migrations, at no cost.
The Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows is a free tool from Veeam that includes features such as backup scheduling, bare-metal restore, and encryption.
It is easy to manage and push to storage repositories such as the cloud, NAS, and external and local storage.
FreeFileSync is a free and open-source cross-platform software for folder comparison and synchronization that creates and manages backup copies of all your important files.
It determines the differences between a source and a target folder and transfers only the minimum amount of data needed.
7zip is a free and open-source file archiver and utility that allows users to create compressed files or extract compressed files in multiple formats.
It is a very lightweight and handy tool that supports various file formats. It has a high compression ratio in 7z format with LZMA and LZMA2 compression.
Notepad ++ is one of the most popular free text editors for Windows operating systems that allows very good coding experience.
The features include syntax highlighting, code folding, and limited auto-completion for programming, scripting, and markup languages, but not intelligent code completion or syntax checking, document mapping, and loads of plugins.
TreeSize is a free disk space analyzer tool that supports Windows operating systems and helps you to find folders that are taking up the most space on your computer hard disk.
You can use this as a hard disk cleanup tool. The graphical analysis provides a quick visualization of disk space usage. A portable version is also available so that you don’t need to install it on your computer.
The PDQ Deploy is a software deployment tool built to help you automate your patch management. With PDQ Deploy, you can go from updating your 3rd party software to deploying scripts to making vital system changes in almost no time.
Selective Deployment allows users to select the software they wish to deploy, specify which machines require updates, and set their preferred schedule for deployment.
The PDQ Inventory is a systems management tool that scans Windows computers to collect hardware, software, and Windows configuration data.
Use PDQ Inventory to create custom machine groupings and data reports so your deployments can go exactly where they need to.
FileZilla is a free and open-source cross-platform FTP application consisting of a FileZilla server and client. Both the server and client support FTP and FTPS (FTP over SSL/TLS), while the client can, in addition, connect to SFTP servers.
Its features include support for FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS), and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), drag and drop of files and folders, remote file editing, tabbed mode interface, etc.
Putty is a free-to-use tool that is an SSH and Telnet client, developed originally by Simon Tatham for the Windows platform. It is open-source software that is available with source code and is developed and supported by a group of volunteers.
The Advanced IP Scanner is a free and reliable network scanner for Windows operating systems. It will scan the entire network in no time and locate all the computers on your wired and wireless networks with IP addresses and port numbers. It will also show the shared resources, like shared folders and printers,
Angry IP Scanner is a free and open-source cross-platform network scanner designed to be fast and simple to use. It scans IP addresses and ports as well as many other features. It is widely used by network and system administrators around the world to identify IP addresses, used port numbers on the host, hostname of a network, etc.
Hiren’s BootCD PE (Preinstallation Environment) is a restored edition of Hiren’s BootCD based on Windows 10 PE x64. Since there are no official updates after November 2012, the PE version is being developed by Hiren’s BootCD fans.
It is being developed for the new age of computers and supports UEFI booting and requires a minimum of 2 GB of RAM. If you are troubleshooting hardware-related issues, this tool is a must-have in your arsenal.
The Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD) is a bootable rescue CD based on Debian that has a variety of tools integrated into the software that give you the functionality and ability to perform basic and intermediate rescue and recovery operations on your computer.
You must have this very useful CD in your toolkit if you are working on troubleshooting computer hardware-related issues.
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There are hundreds of free tools available for system administrators. In this post, we have included some of the important ones. You need to choose the right tool to get the job done.