Friday, February 21, 2014

Cross-Platform SysAdmin Tools for Windows

I was leaving one job and taking another, and thought I'd share some tool suggestions for my multi-platform-admin friends.  So I wrote this up, to present on my last day.  But I didn't want to leave it behind, so I put it here, for posterity.

This also gave me a handy reference, when setting up a new workstation in a new office.

All are free, most are open-source, and all are recommended.
  1. 7zip - 7-zip.org
    1. Multi-format archiver for Windows -- gui and command-line.  As good or better than WinZip, but it's free and open-source
  2. CCleaner and Defraggler from Piriform  - www.piriform.com
    1. Great system maintenance/cleanup tools -- paid for professional use.
  3. Cygwin64 - cygwin.com
    1. bash, x-windows, and tons of other *nix tools for Windows
    2. The x64 version is much faster than the x86 version - get that one
  4. Filezilla FTP - filezilla-project.org
    1. This was much less useful in a Linux environment than I expected - virtually everything moved over SCP.
    2. April 2016 Update: Filezilla has had some problems with "optional" add-on "offers" - adware and borderline-malware. Bad enough that SourceForge won't host their software any more. Better to use WinSCP.
  5. FLux - justgetflux.com/
    1. Not strictly for SysAdmins, but automatic screen color adjustments are allegedly good for your eyes.
  6. Google Drive
    1. Duh
  7. LastPass lastpass.com
    1. Handles almost every kind of secure credential you need to remember
  8. Nmap - nmap.org
    1. GUI and command line - fantastically useful
  9. Notepad++ - notepad-plus-plus.org
    1. Fantastic text editor, tons of plugins, free, open-source, etc.
  10. Paint.net - getpaint.net
    1. Free, dot-Net based graphics editor with tons of features
    2. Not strictly for sysadmins, but still very useful for image manipulation
    3. Far easier to justify than Photoshop
  11. PsTools - sysinternals.com
    1. a great suite of command line tools for Windows from SysInternals, which was purchased by Microsoft in 2006 (the whole SysInternals suite is great)
  12. PuTTY - www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty
    1. save yourself some headaches and set your default preferences, like tcp keepalives, username, etc.
    2. Move your settings around with registry exports/imports
  13. RVTools - www.robware.net
    1. Simple, alternative/complement to the VMWare vSphere client - great for finding problems with your VM's and hosts without navigating through a ton of screens
  14. Tera Term - en.sourceforge.jp/projects/ttssh2/
    1. Free, open source, terminal emulator - much better at serial operations than PuTTY
  15. Treesize - jam-software.de/treesize_free
    1. The paid version is super powerful, the free version is still very good.
  16. VirtViewer - spice-space.org/download.html
    1. KVM virtualization console client for Windows - tough to find, very useful
  17. WinSCP - winscp.net
    1. Just what it sounds like
  18. Wireshark - wireshark.org (fka Ethereal)
    1. Capture and analyze packets - especially useful for desktop visualization and filtering when you've got a complex tcpdump file from somewhere else
  19. April 2016 Addition: Babun zshell for Windows - https://babun.github.io/ 
    1. Slick package of Cygwin (x86) utilities, the Z shell, and a bunch of other interesting applications. 
    2. This is the first non-Cygwin package I've seen that includes Cygwin, and also lets you run Cygwin setup independently, to manage the mix of Cygwin tools.

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