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Seven Free Tools for Windows Server Administrators

By Eric Geier (Send Email)
Posted January 22, 2014

There is a seemingly endless array of tools out there to help you configure, manage, troubleshoot and secure Windows Servers and domains. Today we'll share a variety of helpful – and free – server administration tools you may want to consider adding to your arsenal.

Core Configurators

These two "Core Configurator" tools provide you a GUI (graphical user interface) on the Core editions of Windows Server. Windows Server 2012 R2 Tutorials They allow you to set up and configure most components via the GUI rather than being forced to use the CLI (command-line interface). These tools are Core Configurator 2.0 for Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 and Corefig for Windows Server 2012 Core and Hyper-V Server 2012.

Active Directory Best Practices Analyzer

The Active Directory Best Practices Analyzer is provided by Microsoft inside Windows Server, as of Windows Server 2008 R2. It analyzes key settings and other ActiveDirectory components to check if they are following Microsoft's Best Practices standards. The tool can help you identify ways to increase security and performance of your ActiveDirectory. For each setting or component scanned, it displays a status and description.

Active Directory Explorer

Active Directory Explorer (AD Explorer) is an Active Directory viewer and editor that allows you to view the AD database, save off-line snapshots, create favorite locations, and save advanced searches. You can view object properties and attributes without having to open dialog boxes, modify permissions, and view an object's schema. You can also compare two AD snapshots to see what objects, attributes and security permissions changed between them.

Viewfinity Local Admin Discovery

The Viewfinity Local Admin Discovery scans your network and shows which user accounts have administrator rights. This can help identify users that might have unnecessary privileges that could lead to security breaches, malware infection or other issues.

You can select which computers to scan or choose an organizational unit or AD organization. The Viefinity tool will categorize the results, generate graphical summary reports and allow you to export to Excel for further analysis and reporting. You can also easily remove desired accounts from the Administrators group.

Remote Desktop Manager

Remote Desktop Manager lets you centralize many types of remote connections and services along with their passwords/credentials into a single platform. It can help increase faster response times and can even help improve security. The developer offers a premium edition with a free 30-day trial but they also provide a completely free edition with limited functionality.

Remote Desktop Manager can manage remote connections via Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDP, RemoteFX), Microsoft Windows Azure (RDP), Microsoft Hyper-V (RDP), Microsoft Remote Assistance, VNC (RealVNC / TightVNC / UltraVNC / built-in), Citrix (ICA / HDX / Web), Web (HTTP / HTTPS), LogMeIn (Free / Pro), TeamViewer and PC Anywhere. It also supports management of FTP, FTPS and SFTP (Windows Explorer / Filezilla / WinSCP / built-in) and Telnet, SSH, RAW and rLogin (Putty / Kitty / built-in).

Desktop Central Free Windows Admin Tools

Desktop Central offers a set of Free Windows Admin Tools that includes a dozen tools for Windows Server and PC administration and management: Remote Task Manager Tool, Wake on LAN, Software Inventory Tool, Remote Command Prompt Tool, GPO Update, Shutdown/Restart Tool, Join/Unjoin Computer Tool, Currently Logged On User, Hard Disk Space Detector Tool, Local Users/Groups List Tool, Network Share Browser Tool and Laptop Battery Power Monitor Tool.

Eric Geier is a freelance tech writer — keep up with his writings on Facebook. He's also the founder of NoWiresSecurity, a cloud-based Wi-Fi security service, and On Spot Techs, an on-site computer services company.

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