15 essential open source tools for Windows admins

Microsoft offers great tools for enhancing your server-side experience, but open source has impressive options as well

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3

Essential open source Windows admin tool No. 6: AutoSPInstaller for SharePoint 2010

Anyone who has ever installed SharePoint knows that the SQL databases created are a mess in terms of naming, resulting in large GUID databases titles that are completely inconsistent. In contrast, AutoSPInstaller utilizes a variety of scripts to install SharePoint and makes sure database names remain clean in the process.

Download: autospinstaller.codeplex.com

Essential open source Windows admin tool No. 7: OCS Inventory

If you need a cool tool for locating all the devices connected to your network and what software and hardware you have installed on your systems, then OCS-NG is the one for you. It requires you install the OCS client inventory agent on your systems; you can then pull all that information into a repository that's easy to visualize and search.

Download: launchpad.net/ocsinventory

Essential open source Windows admin tool No. 8: UltraDefrag

UltraDefrag is a tool for Windows that can defrag system files, registry hives, and the paging file. It's continually updated to ensure improvements in performance.

UltraDefrag is fully compatible with Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and all of the 64-bit editions of Windows. It's a valuable addition to any Windows environment.

Download: ultradefrag.sourceforge.net

Essential open source Windows admin tool No. 9: Nmap for Windows

Originally a Unix-only tool, Nmap for Windows has been an important security resource for Windows shops for more than 10 years. This security scanner and network mapper can also be used to perform network inventory, manage service upgrade schedules, and monitor host or service uptime. It supports Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows XP SP1 and later.

Download: nmap.org/book/inst-windows.html

Essential open source Windows admin tool No. 10: Zenmap

Zenmap is a cool tool for mapping a topology of devices connected to your network. This security scanner works off of Nmap, providing an interactive, animated visualization of hosts on a network, configured in rings. Click on a host and it moves to the center of your network topology, giving you the ability to easily trace the host's various connections. With Zenmap, information regarding potential vulnerabilities becomes that much easier to pinpoint, ensuring your firewalls and routers are working correctly.

Download: nmap.org/zenmap

Essential open source Windows admin tool No. 11: PowerGUI

It's no secret that PowerShell is taking the Windows world by storm. It feels like a retro pleasure for many long-term admins who remember the command-line days. But for others, banging on the command line to administer systems can be a pain.

Those looking for a more graphical means of tapping into PowerShell should check out PowerGUI, a free graphical user interface and script editor for PowerShell. More valuable perhaps is the community built around PowerGUI, with its vast store of contributed scripts and libraries for administering your fleet.

Download: powergui.org

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3
How to choose a low-code development platform