'Must Have' Windows Utilities

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By Janet Ryding Janet Ryding offers five add-on products for Windows NT/2000 that are 'must have' utilities for network administrators.

There can be no doubt that with every release of a new operating system from Microsoft the need for third-party utilities becomes less and less. One major complaint about NT was its lack of disk quota capabilities, something Unix has included since day one. Several companies noticed this oversight and produced a product that did the trick. The release of Windows 2000 saw disk quota capabilities become part of the OS, thus making the need to purchase this type of software unnecessary for the majority of enterprises.

Whether you agree with Microsoft's policy of continually adding features to its products that were once available only from other sources remains open for debate. But in my role as a network administrator, I still find a need to seek out additional software to make my job easier. While I'm sure everyone has their favorite "must have" utilities, these are my Top 5 "must have" NT/2000 add-ons.

1. Server Monitor Lite
Server Monitor Lite is an invaluable monitoring product that allows you to centrally monitor your servers and receive notification if a problem occurs. I use this utility to periodically ping all my servers, watch for low disk space, keep an eye on critical NT/2000 services and make sure the company intranet is still accessible for my users. The latest release includes a Web browser interface.

2. Lost Password Recovery
How many of you have inherited systems for which no one knows the local administrator password, or have had users that need access to Word, Excel, or Access documents that are password-protected and nobody knows the password? This handy little product will save the day for by letting you reset the password on a huge array of systems.

3. Hyena
Managing an NT network is hard work, and while Active Directory certainly makes it a bit easier, Hyena makes user management a breeze. Hyena is designed to both simplify and centralize nearly all day-to-day management tasks, while providing new capabilities for system administration.

4. Virtual Network Computing (VNC)
The inclusion of Windows Terminal Services may help with remote server support, but what about all those NT4 or Windows 9x devices out there? VNC lets you control Windows, Unix, and Mac machines from the comfort of your desk.

5. Network View
It's always easier to diagnose your network problem if you know where everything is located. This handy little tool will automatically generate a network diagram for you within minutes, thus eliminating the need to manually draw out your network again.

Now it's your turn. E-mail me at pn1995@yahoo.co.uk with your favorite utilities, and I'll create a Top 10 list from the results.

Janet Ryding

This article was originally published on Oct 22, 2002
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