10 new cool tools for Exchange admins

Lots of new tools are coming out from Microsoft and others to help the mail keep flowing and people working

It feels like I've been inundated with new admin tools to play with lately, both from Microsoft and third parties. I'm happy to be swimming in that sea of options.

Many of the tools came from the Microsoft Exchange team as part of the updated release a few weeks back of the online Deployment Assistant for Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2013 migration. That release was followed by Jetstress 2013, used for testing the performance and stability of your Exchange storage under a stress load by simulating Exchange I/O behavior. And just yesterday the Exchange team released the Microsoft Connectivity Analyzer Tool 1.0 (MCA), a companion to the Remote Connectivity Analyzer (RCA) website (also upgraded to 2.1).

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It's exciting stuff, especially for Exchange admins awaiting the Cumulative Update 1 pack for Exchange 2013 that will finally enable the transition from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013. Having all of these other tools will no doubt help ensure connectivity, stability, and performance is maintained during those migrations.

Beyond Microsoft's tools, I recently go to play with a tool from U-BTech Solutions called Exchange Tasks 365 that handles recipient management for both my on-premise Exchange 2013 environment and my cloud-based Office 365 environment. It just works!

A cool free tool available through CodePlex is the beta Exchange Reports, which provides information on mailboxes, distributions groups, and more. You can even perform message tracking through the tool.

I asked colleagues for other cool tools they've come across, and I received several great suggestions.

Fellow Exchange MVP Tony Redmond mentioned Microsoft's Office Configuration Analyzer Tool (OffCAT), which provides a detailed report of installed Office programs. It has the same feel as the Best Practices Analyzer tools that Microsoft offers for products such as Exchange. Once it completes scanning, OffCAT provides a list of issues (critical and informational) and links to possible fixes. It's great for keeping your Office apps humming -- especially Outlook.

vExpert David Davis gave me two great tools to play with. One is Multiple Remote Desktop (MuRD) to manage and arrange your remote desktop connections -- very useful for those of us who connect to tons of virtual servers (in my case, Exchange servers) all day long. Another tool is 5Nine Software's Hyper-V Manager, which is really handy when you might not be able to use System Center VMM or Hyper-V Manager in the OS, such as with a GUI-less Windows Server Core install; it lets you manage all your machines through the single interface. Note that you'll need the paid version if you want to remotely connect to individual VMs, which applies to most folks.

For those of you who want a client app to help your stay organized, Office MVP Heather Ackmann says to check out Telerik's Tasks for Windows 8. It's a colorful and fun to-do manager that lets you add categories and projects, select priorities for each task, set due dates and times, and add notes, pictures, phone numbers, and so forth. The paid version lets you append voice notes as well.

This story, "10 new cool tools for Exchange admins," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blogand follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.