The following best tools for SysAdmins are not ranked in order of quality or importance. The numerical listing is provided for point of reference only.
Byobu is an open-source software project that enhances the GNU Screen for the Ubuntu server distribution. Developed and released as free software under the GPLv3, Byobu now is supported on many Linux and UNIX distributions. Byobu includes an enhanced profile, configuration utilities, and system status notifications, not just for the GNU screen, but also for the Tmux terminal multiplexer. Byobu works on most Linux, BSD, and Mac distributions.
- Can be used to provide on-screen notification or status
- Can be used as tabbed multi window management
- Provides a better user experience for terminal sessions when connecting to remote servers
Process Explorer helps you figure out which program has opened a particular file or directory, as it shows you information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded. Process Explorer’s capabilities make it useful for determining DLL-version problems or handle leaks and providing insight into how Windows and applications work.
- Runs on (client) Windows XP and higher (including IA64)
- Runs on (server) Windows Server 2003 and higher (including IA64)
- Part of the Windows Sysinternals tool collection
- Display consists of two windows
- the top window displays a list of the currently active processes, including the names of the owning accounts
- the information displayed in the bottom window is dependent on the mode that Process Explorer is in: handle or DLL
Microsoft offers its Sysinternals Troubleshooting Utilities in a single Suite of tools. While the downloadable file contains the individual troubleshooting tools and help files, it does not contain non-troubleshooting tools such as the BSOD Screen Saver or NotMyFault.
- Contains more than 60 select Sysinternals Utilities, including Process Monitor, PsLogList, and Coreinfo
- Contains simple, yet powerful tools to ensure you have the right utility at the right time
- Helps you access crucial operating, program, and file information
The Belarc Advisor v8.4 provides users with a simple, yet powerful report of what comprises their computer system, including software installation, video card, CPU(s), software update, network information, etc. Results of the scan display in your default browser, so you have quick and easy access to your audit, and that information is kept privately on your PC, rather than being sent to a web server.
- Works on 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows 8 (including Windows 8.1), Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP
- No toolbars, adware, or spyware included during installation
- Excellent tool for finding product key information
- Builds a detailed profile of your software and hardware
Designed for server, desktop, and embedded use, VirtualBox is a “general purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware.” Rich in features, VirtualBox is fit for home users as well as enterprise customers. VirtualBox is a community effort, and Oracle ensures the product meets high-quality, professional criteria while encouraging everyone to contribute.
- Powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product
- The only professional solution freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU GPL version 2
- Runs on Windows, Linux, Mac, and Solaris hosts
- Supports a large number of guest operating systems, including Windows Vista, Windows 7, DOS/Windows 3.x, and Open BSD, just to name a few
- Actively developed with frequent releases and a growing features list
Started in 2008, Process Hacker was designed to be an open source alternative to programs such as Task Manager and Process Explorer, with the intended audience of advanced end users and developers. Now, it is recognized for its ability to help users monitor system resources, debug software, and detect malware; it truly is a multi-purpose tool that just so happens to be free.
- Works as a portable application
- Provides a detailed, highlighted overview of system activity
- Quickly track down resource hogs and runaway processes with graphs and statistics
- Discover which processes are using files
- View detailed stack traces with kernel-mode, WOW64 and .NET support
To use the Windows Error Lookup Tool (WELT), simply type in an error code and it will display the Facility, Status, Code, Define, and Description for the error. While WELT is intended for developers, average users should also discover the usefulness of this program.
- Will display a value in Decimal or Hex for Win32, HRESULT, NTSTATUS and STOP error codes
- Enter a define into WELT, and it will show you the value
- WELT detects the error type from the code entered, and the type will become enabled under the edit control, if it is found
A live Linux ISO, PING is a smart choice to easily backup and restore whole partitions. Users have the option of burning PING on a CD and booting it or integrating it into a PXE/RIS environment. Based on the Linux from Scratch (LFS) documentation, PING is the perfect tool for rescuing a system.
- Backup and restore BIOS data
- Backup and restore partitions or files locally or to the network (MS Network Shared directory, NFS, FTP or SSHFS)
- Have the capability of blanking a local admin’s password
phpMyAdmin supports a wide range of MySQL, MariaDB, and Drizzle operations, as it is intended to handle the administration of MySQL over the web. Its frequently used operations, such as managing databases, tables, columns, etc., can be performed via the user interface, and you still maintain the ability to directly execute any SQL statement. phpMyAdmin has received several awards and honors and continues to be used around the world; as such, it is being translated into 72 languages and supports both LTR and RTL languages.
- Intuitive web interface
- Import data from CSV and SQL
- Export data to a variety of formats
- Chosen as “Best tool or Utility for SysAdmins” at the SourceForge.net Community Choice Awards every year
NirLauncher is a bundle of more than 180 portable utilities for Windows, all of which have been developed for the NirSoft website during the last few years. NirLauncher is compatible with any version of Windows, from Windows 2000 to Windows 8, and also works on x64 systems.
- Can be used from a USB flash drive without any installation
- Completely free of Spyware, Adware, and Malware
- Includes a variety of tools, including utilities to recover lost passwords, monitor your network, view and extract cookies, and more
- Allows for the addition of more software packages
WinAudit Freeware – PC Audit & Inventory Software is an easy to use PC and audit inventory of software, licenses, security configuration, and more. With no set up or fee of any kind, WinAudit Freeware has become one of the most popular SysAdmin Tools available.
- Database export
- Fully documented
- Command line
- Available in Version 3.0 Beta and Version 2.29
Joeware Utilities’ mission is to provide free, powerful Windows utilities so administrators are able to more effectively manage their environments. Created by Joe, a Microsoft MVP (someone who is a knowledgeable technology expert who makes himself available to help the community as a whole and who is award by Microsoft for doing so) who has earned that award every year since 2001, Joeware is a variety of utilities intended to help solve technical issues.
- Listed on the web site as quick links or in alphabetical order to make finding your tool quicker and easier
- Each utility includes a list of which platforms it will or will not work on, and Joe has supplied mapping symbols for quick reference
- The utilities may be used for non-profit and FREE educational purposes (Joe just requests that you let him know so that he can keep the usage in mind)
The Windows System Control Center is available in three free forms: WSCC Portable, WSCC Standard, and WSCC Portable Apps. With its latex version, 126.96.36.199 being made available July 23, 2014, WSCC is free for personal and commercial use. The program allows you to install, update, execute, and organize the utilities from various utility suites.
- Can automatically install and update supported utilities or use the http protocol to download and run the programs
- No installation required
- Allows you to extract the content of the downloaded zip archive to any directory on your computer
- Supports Windows Sysinternals Suite (including support for Sysinternals Live service) and NirSoft Utilities
Everything is a search engine that locates files and folders by filename instantly for Windows. While Windows Search function limits the information that is displayed, Everything initially displays every file and folder on your computer but gives you the option of typing in a search filter to narrow your results.
- Small installation file
- Clean and simple user interface
- Quick file indexing and searching
- Minimal resource usage
- Easily share files with others
WinDirStat is a program that allows you to view disk usage statistics and works as a cleanup tool for various versions of Microsoft Windows. Alternative programs also are available: KDirStat is an alternative for Linux, and Disk Inventory X is for MacOS X. When the program starts, it reads the entire directory tree once and then presents it in three useful views: the directory list, the treemap, and the extension list.
- Three views allow you to see contents sorted by file/subtree size, the entire contents of the directory tree, or as a legend with statistics about file types
- The treemap is extremely visual, in that each file and directory is a colored rectangle, and the area of each rectangle is proportional to the file or directory’s size
- The colors represent the type of the file
Wireshark is the leading protocol analyzer, allowing you to see what’s happening on your network at a microscopic level. The Wireshark project began in 1998 and has continued to be developed by contributions from networking experts across the world.
- Live capture and offline analysis
- Multi-platform: Runs on Windows, Linux, OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and others
- Read/write many different capture file formats
- Output can be exported to XML, PostScript, CSV, or plain text
If you’re looking for a tool to automate Linux software raid conversion, Raider is for you. As a bash shell script, Raider deals with specific oddities of several Linux distros, including Ubuntu, Mandriva, LinuxOS, and more, and uses linux software raid (mdadm) to complete the conversion.
- Automates Linux software raid conversion
- Converts a single Linux system disk into a software raid 1, 4, 5, 6, or 10 system in a two-pass simple command
- Version 0.13.2 includes several new distros that were tested and added to the database and an automatic check of new raider versions
NeDi discovers your network on a regular basis, allowing you to locate and track all connected devices, monitor traffic or broadcasts, send mails or SMS when certain events occur, and backup the configuration of your switches and routers. Various views offer a customized look and feel, including dynamic maps that can be used to visualize traffic and errors between buildings or even cities.
- Modular architecture provides cross vendor support and simple expanability
- Supports virtualized environments, so you can manage the VMs natively
- Pinpoint bottlenecks or network-related problems in your data center through seamless visibility
Advanced IP Scanner gives you the ability to scan hundreds of IP addresses at high speed simultaneously. Deeply integrated with Radmin remote control software, Advanced IP Scanner lets you scan your network, find all computers running Radmin Server, and connect to any of them with one click.
- Remote PC shutdown
- Run commands on a remote computer
- Simple and user-friendly interface
An advanced network monitor, Look@LAN Network Monitor allows users to monitor their net in a few clicks. Benefits of Look@LAN include being extremely easy to use and fast in discovering your network’s active nodes, plus it is full of relevant features.
- Auto-detect of network settings
- Automatic and manual network configuration
- Profile export (text and HTML)
- Network Tree View
Steward integrates easily with nearly any scripting or development language with its easy to use RESTful API; as a result, Steward is able to support any operating system. Even if you are not tracking periodic job with Steward, you can use their API to monitor and graph the run times for any piece of code and get an alert when things are running at a less than optimal level.
- Get insight into the health of your periodic tasks
- Get notifications through email or SMS when jobs fail or run much longer than usual
- Use the detailed activity log to track and help diagnose potential issues
- Simple startup by inserting a simple one line cURL request into your periodic task (Ruby developers can use Steward’s official Ruby gem)
With Yeller, you can discover and diagnose production exceptions. In fact, Yeller automatically analyzes all occurrences of an exception and tells you what is common between them. You no longer have to debug exceptions one at a time. *Please note: Yeller is free for a 30-day trial, with no credit card required.
- Supported platforms: Ruby, Clojure, Rails, Java and Go
- Full Stacktrace, params and more
- Smart Grouping – see each exception only once, regardless of how many times it happened
- Suspect Deploys – determine which deploy likely caused your error, with the code that changed during that deploy
A script written in Python, Blistd checks each DNS Blacklist to see whether your IP has been listed. Blistd is incredibly easy to download and use: simply download the tool, change the IP and email settings, execute, and you are finished.
- Automatically downloads a list of DNSBLs
- Get email alerts via SMTP
- Randomized wait between executions to avoid looking like robots
A multi-threaded file watch utility, Fido can monitor a file or directory to see if its modification time changed, and it’s intuitive enough to recognize a change even if the daemon was down at the time of the change. Written for RedHat Enterprise Linux, Fido should run in all Linux flavors, and the source bundle contains RedHat init.d scripts for users’ convenience.
- Content changes can be recognized with regular expression pattern matches
- Monitors files for changes in content or modification times
- It will kick off a user-defined script when it notices a change
- Coded to POSIX 1003.1 standards
Created for Postfix, Postfix Admin is a web-based management tool. Postfix Admin, a PHP-based application, handles Postfix style virtual domains and users that are stored in MySQL or PostgreSQL.
- Fetchmail support
- Vacation/auto-reply support
- Squirrelmail/Roundcube integration
Hashtab may be used as a simple MD5 checker as a more advanced file integrity check. Hashtab provides an easy way to verify the integrity and authenticity on both Windows and Mac machines. *Please note: Hashtab is free for people using it on their own home computer, student computer, or charitable organization. For people wishing to use Hashtab at work, it is $10 per person for a single copy use, or there may be discount options available for larger quantities.
- Provides OS extensions to calculate file hashes and supports many hash algorithms, including MD5, SHA1, HAVAL, and Whirlpool
- Runs as a Windows shell extension as Windows desktop software
- Works as a Finder plugin on Macs
- Version 5.1 includes support for SHA-3
WinMD5Free works with Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, and 7 to compute MD5 hash value or checksum for files, including those larger than 4 GB. A tiny and fast utility, it also is frequently used to check the integrity of a file and to download.
- Low resource usage; uses less than 5 MB RAM
- Standalone EXE file with fast startup; does not require .NET runtime installed
- Supports Drag & Drop
Calculate and verify checksums and hashes from Windows Explorer with the HashCheck Shell Extension. Users also have the capability of integrating file checksumming functionality into Windows and creating and verifying SFV files with the tool. Open-source with a very small memory and disk footprint, HashCheck helps anyone with a knowledge of C easily build their own customized version of this shell extension.
- Process and verify the checksums/hashes stored in checksum files
- Easily check the hash of a file from Windows Explorer, as HashCheck adds a “Checksums” tab to the shell’s file properties dialogue; plus, save the results to a checksum file
- Create checksum files quickly and easily
- Compatibility: international support and 64-bit-compatible
CyoHash is a simple shell extension intended for end users/desktop. The tool is used from within Windows Explorer to calculate hashes or checksums of a file. CyoHash is a project hosted by SourceForge.net.
- Calculate MD5 hash, SHA1 hash, or CRC32 checksum
- Additional SHA256, SHA384, and SHA 512 algorithms are available for users of Windows XP SP3 or newer
- Useful for non-GNU or non-UNIX users to verify file integrity after a download
A small utility that allows you to calculate the MD5 and SHA1 hashes of one or more files in your system, HashMyFiles works on Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8. The utility also allows you to copy the MD5/SHA1 hashes list into the clipboard or same them into a text/html/xml file.
- Can be launched from the context menu of Windows Explorer
- No installation process or additional DLL files; simply run the file executable file to begin
- Supports drag and drop
ntopng offers high-speed web-based traffic analysis and flow collection as the next generation of the original ntop. Based on libpcap and written in a portable way, ntopng virtually will run on every Unix platform, including MacOSX and Win32.
- Sort network traffic according to a variety of protocols
- Geolocate hosts
- Display IP protocol usage sorted by protocol type
- Produce HTML5/AJAX network traffic statistics
Andrew S. Baker’s homebase is the UltraTech Zone, and he has compiled a “public technology repository” within The UltraTech Knowledgebase and The Brainwave Consulting Technical Archive. Both sites contain an abundance of free information on a broad spectrum of computing topics including Windows Operating Systems, Capacity Planning, Server Virtualization, and more.
- Archive broken down loosely into categories
- Archive also organized alphabetically
- Geared toward SysAdmins: the SysAdmins category is the most hefty, with 60+ links to downloads and information
BgInfo v4.20 helps you manage multiple computers because it automatically displays relevant information about a Windows computer on the desktop’s background. Get the computer name, IP address, service pack version, and more, plus enjoy the freedom to edit any field, font, and background color, all through BgInfo v4.20.
- Place BgInfo 4.20 in your startup folder, or configure it to display as the background for the logon screen
- Does not consume system resources or interfere with other applications, because it writes a new desktop bitmap and exits
- Use the Windows Scheduler to run BgInfo on a regular basis to ensure long-running systems are kept up to date
MobaXTerm, “the complete toolbox for remote computing” is a session manager with all the network clients you could possibly need: RDP, VNC, SSH, telnet, rsh, FTP, SFTP, and SCMCP. As an enhanced terminal for Windows with an X11 server, a tabbed SSH client and several other remote computing network tools, MobaXTerm brings the necessary Unix commands to Windows desktop.
- Free X server fully configured (based on Xorg)
- Easy display exportation from any remote host
- X11-forwarding capability in OpenSSH
- No need for installation; you can begin from a USB stick
- Packaged in a single executable: a light and portable application
35. TTY Plus
SysAdmins using PuTTY (the most popular SSH client for Windows) love it but hate having to start a new copy of it every time they open a new connection. TTY Plus’ MTPuTTY (Multi-Tabbed PuTTY) is a small utility that enables SysAdmins to use one tabbed GUI Interface for an unlimited number of PuTTY applications. Take the multiple windows out of your work and put them into separate tabs with MTPuTTY.
- Allows you to work with PuTTY without the hassle of multiple windows on the desktop
- Supports all PuTTY protocols
- Can automatically login the remote servers and “type” passwords, plus can “type” a script in several PuTTY tabs simultaneously
- Easy to use and designed with native Win32 code – no need for libraries
MessenPass is a password recovery tool that reveals the passwords of several instant messenger applications, including MSN Messenger, Windows Messenger (in Windows XP), Yahoo Messenger (Versions 5.x and 6.x), and more. MessenPass relies on a user being logged in and having one of the programs with which it works remember one of your passwords.
- Cannot be used to grab passwords of users other than the one currently logged in
- Does not require any installation; just run the executable file from the zip file
- Automatically detects the Instant Messenger applications installed on your computer, decrypts their stored passwords, and displays all username/password pairs found
- Save the passwords for Instant Messenger applications without displaying any user interface
A Windows application meant to simplify the use of the PuTTY SSH Client, SuperPutty is a window manager that allows users to embed the PuTTY windows inside a Windows form to create a tabbed interface. Thus, SuperPutty helps SysAdmins handle multiple connections with PuTTY much more easily.
- Licensed under a liberal MIT/X11 license, allowing program and source code to be used in both commercial and non-commercial applications
- Compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8
- Compatible with Microsoft .NET framework, 3.5 or newer
- Supports both a 32-bit and a 64-bit operating system
A free Android app, Rhybudd alerts you of Zenoss events as they happen. Even better, Rhybudd has the capability of being customized in a variety of ways to ensure that you get only the alerts you want.
- Full support for Zenoss as a Service installations
- Acknowledge All and Swipe to Close functions
- Use Rhybudd Push to reduce costs and battery drain
OMD bundles Nagios with several important add ons and easily can installed on every major Linux distribution. The OMD team also provides prebuilt packages for all enterprise Linux distributions, as well as for some others, including Ubuntu.
- Multiple instances per host
- Simple creation of new sites
- Platform independent paths
- Speed optimizations
- Currently includes Nagios, Icinga, Thruk, Multisite, and more
The Apache HTTP Server Project, a collaborative software development effort, is aimed at creating a commercial-grade and freely available source code implementation of an HTTP server. The project is part of the Apache Software Foundation, and hundreds of users have contributed ideas, code, and documentation to the project. With all of the contributions, some tools have been created for the Apache HTTP Server, including ApacheBench.
- ab – Apache HTTP server benchmarking tool is meant for benchmarking your Apache HTTP server
- Designed to give you an impression of how your current Apache installation performs
- Specifically shows you how many requests per second your Apache installation is capable of serving
Developed by Torsten Wittrock, WSUS Offline Update allows you to update any computer running Microsoft Windows and Office safely and quickly without an internet connection. While the open source project connected to the tool has changed names from “c’t offline update” and “DIY Service Pack,” it is being continued by Wittrock.
- Site offers videos, screenshots and publications to aid in using WSUS Offline Update
- Version 9.3.1 includes Autolt script compiler updated to version 188.8.131.52
- Active forums with users sharing updates, tips, and suggestions
mRemoteNG is a utility to enhance mRemote, an open source, tabbed, multi-protocol, remote connections manager. View all of your remote connections in a simple, powerful tabbed interface with mRemoteNG.
- Adds bug fixes to mRemote
- Adds new features to mRemote
- Supports several protocols, including RDP, VNC, ICA, SSH, Telnet, and more
A multi-protocol and multi-source command-line download utility, aria2 supports HTTP/HTTPS, FTP, BitTorrent and Metalink. aria2 is lightweight and has the ability to be manipulated with the built-in JSON-RPC and XML-RPC interfaces.
- Multi-connection download
- Fully featured BitTorrent client
- Metalink enabled
- Remote control
Spiceworks helps SysAdmins handle all of your IT with a single integrated app. With network inventory and mapping, network monitoring and alerting, troubleshooting, and more, Spiceworks gives you all of the tools you need to make IT management more manageable.
- Spiceworks has a community of over 5 million IT pros sharing information and advice
- Quick download and installation
- Stores network credentials safely behind your firewall
- Allows you to manage your network, run an IT help desk, research and buy products and more
KeePass helps you manage your passwords securely as a free open source password manager. It allows users to put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key file; you simply have to remember one master password or select the key file to unlock the entire database, which is encrypted using AES and Twofish.
- Strong security
- Multiple user keys
- Portable and no installation required for easy accessibility
- Export to TXT, HTML, XML and CSV files
- Import from several file formats
- Strong random password generator
JiJi Self Service Password Reset gives end-users the capability of securely resetting their own Active Directory passwords without needing to involve tech help desk professionals. Because end-user downtime and help desk staff time spent resetting forgotten or last passwords is reduced, JiJi Self Service Password Reset essentially helps organizations lower costs, improve security, and increase productivity.
- Multi-factor authentication available for password reset (Q&A challenge, email verification, mobile verification)
- Mobile browser support enabled for self-service pages and help desk user pages
- Ability to install web portal over DMZ
- Administrator can customize and brand the end user pages and the text shown on the login screen for password reset
TeraCopy helps reduce the time spent copying several files over the network with newer versions of Windows. Designed to copy and move files at the highest maximum speed possible, TeraCopy skips bad files and then displays them at the end of the transfer, allowing users to see which files need attention. TeraCopy is free for non-commercial use only; commercial users need to purchase a license.
- Integrates Windows Explorer’s right-click menu and can be set as the default copy handler
- Automatically checks the copied files for errors by calculating their CRC checksum values
- Pause and resume file transfer activities
- Shell integration
ADManager Plus is a Windows Active Directory Management and Reporting Solution that is simple and easy to use to AD Administrators and Help Desk Technicians with their daily activities. The software handles a broad range of complex tasks, with its centralized and intuitive web-based UI.