Important Tools for Windows Systems Administrators

Shoaib Hayat Software Applications Consultant
In this article my aim is to list down the tools that are important for a Windows System Administrator (The Must Have!!)

1) The Basic:
First of all the basics Ping, telnet, traceroute, whois net and netstat one must be familiar to these tools as no matter how basic, yet these tools will be start of most troubleshooting process.

2) SysInternals:
Then we move on toTCPView, procexp (Process Explorer), procmon (Process Monitor) and psexec (Execute processes remotely) which are essential in system monitoring, tracing and troubleshooting. In fact I would suggest to install the compelte SysInternals Suit my Mark Russonowich.

3) Windows Administration Tools:
Moving on, the third most important thing is Windows Administration Tools, out of which I will list some of the important ones; Remote Desktop Services Manager, Active Directory Administrative Center, Active Directory Sites and Services, Group Policy Management, Hyper-V Manager, Debugging Tools for Windows and Windows PowerShell etc.

4) Secure Remote Access Tools
Connectivity tools like putty and winscp403.

5) Packet Tracer
Any packet tracer would do but WireShark is probably the best and it is free.

6) Network Scanning Tool
Nmap is the one tool, every system administrator must try to use more and more, and not only for network scanning but for OS fingerprints, audits and troubleshooting.

7) Auditing tools
One should have MBSA but the one I have liked is PSI Scan, very rich and audits almost all major windows applicaiotns on client computer.

8) Miscellaneous Tools
Following are some miscellaneous but very helpful tools;

    tscmd is a very useful tool for accessing and editing user''s terminal service profile settings in AD
    RootKit reveler: for advance troubleshooting
    Tcpdump: The classic sniffer for network monitoring and data acquisition
    Ngrep:  Convenient packet matching & display
    GnuPG / PGP: Secure your files and communication w/advanced encryption
    WinDIRStat: HDD analysis with excellent visuals
    2X Client: For ease of access to remote server using RDP

9) Google
When I say Google as a tool, I am referring to Google as a very powerful search engine. You can find out anything on internet using Google.

10) PortableApps
go to download and install in a USB stcik, and you have the liberty to port the most important tools you need to any where you can take that USB stick.

11) System Cleanup and Security

    * CCLeaner    
    * Windows Installer CleanUp Utility

Hopefully in times to come we will discuss many examples which will involve the use of these tools.

Shoaib Hayat Software Applications Consultant

Comments (3)

Just a heads-up to all NMAP fans: Version 5.21 is out!
Guys the N-Map tool is just awesome, btw can i find a quick guide to get the most of it..
NMAP's site (unsurprisingly at has selected chapters from Fyodor's book "NMAP Network Scanning". I highly recommend the book for the examples of speeding up scanning and detection.

Using various methods, I've been able to bring down times on scanning out client's WAN links from 48 hours for eight addresses to 30 minutes for 64 of them.

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