Looking across all of the software platforms available to IT Professionals, it’s actually quite a small portion of tools that I actually use on a regular basis outside of my normal RMM/PSA offering (or that I don’t automate with RMM). Here’s a brief list of useful 3rd party software that I use almost daily.
Windows Sandbox is included in Pro and Enterprise OS and allows you to run an isolated Windows 10 environment within your workstation to run executables to check for their integrity without having to worry about infecting anything. A great tool for those ‘just in case’ moments. Here’s an article to find out how to install it.
Nirsoft is a website that provides an amazing set of tools to recover countless pieces of vital information. Most common uses include:
- Router Passwords
- POP3/IMAP Credentials
- Browser Saved Passwords
- NK2 File editor (now known as stream.dat files)
- Product Key recovery (Produkey)
- BlueScreen View (shows faulting kernel within BSOD)
These tools are incredibly useful to gather this information at a fraction of the time it would otherwise take.
If you’re not automating your disk monitoring, TreeSize by jam software is a great visual aid to viewing the data eating up your hard drive storage. The software is lightweight, fast and allows you to delve into File Explorer from the report.
Advanced IP Scanner
Through a lack of necessity, I used Angry IP Scanner for many years before discovering the Advanced IP scanner. Advanced IP Scanner allows you to install or simply run from the installer for a quick IP scan of any network. It shows you a list of devices, status, manufacturer, MAC address and discovered services (RDP, HTTP, etc.)
Scans are exportable to CSV and network shares and remote shutdown commands are supported.
TestDisk by CGSecurity is an amazing utility that can get you out of a sticky situation. Quite often after running software like Recuva (owned by Piriform, like CCleaner) I would feel that I have exhausted all options, however, TestDisk seems to be able to go even deeper, finding dead partitions on drives that don’t even appear. The software allows you to create images of the faulty drive and then work within the software to recover the data without having to then modify the original data.
An MVP in the world of techies, SysInternals provides lightweight advanced configuration utilities that make light work of IT Management. Process Explorer and PSExec are some of my most commonly used tools. PSExec allows you to run PowerShell on remote machines which can then allow you to do almost anything, without having to interrupt the user.
Built into Windows since Windows 7 (previously called Problem Steps Recorder) is a keylogger, annotation tool and screen recorder in one. This tool can be great in those situations whereby you’re expected to explain something over the phone (or find yourself repeatedly explaining the same thing). It works by recording what you do on your screen from start to finish. It then allows you to edit the final output and save it. You can then send it across to the recipient and find that you’ve created an almost foolproof document on how to do something.