Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Great Utility Updates

A few handy utilities for Windows got some quiet updates yesterday and today:

Sysinternals Process Explorer

Process Explorer for Windows v11.0 - This fantastic freeware utility from Microsoft's Sysinternals got a pretty big update.  There were a number of changes made but the majority of them seem to be getting to play even better with Vista. The link has a full list of changes, but these are the ones that stand out to me:

• New treelist control for better UI responsiveness

• More flags on groups in security tab and SID display

• Thread IDs on threads tab

• On-line search uses default web browser and search engine

• Vista ASLR column for processes and DLLs

• Vista Process and thread I/O and memory priorities in process and thread properties

• Vista Process and thread I/O and memory columns

• Run as limited user runs with low IL on Vista

• Reports information for all object types on Vista

• Show details for all processes elevation menu item on Vista

Supports replacement of task manager on Vista

• Faster startup

Did you catch that next-to-last item?  You can now set Process Explorer to replace the standard Task Manager in Vista.  It also supports this option in XP.  All of my systems now have been updated to make Process Explorer launch at Ctrl-Alt-Del keypresses.  It changes back to normal by just unselecting the option from the toolbar.  It does seem to launch and run much faster than before.

This is a must-have tool for anyone who supports Microsoft systems.

Sysinternals PageDefrag

Microsoft's TechNet Magazine has a great (but brief) article that details the benefits of the Microsoft Sysinternals tool PageDefrag.  If you have ever wondered what this freeware tool does or why you might want to consider using it, check out the article: Utility Spotlight: PageDefrag -- TechNet Magazine, September 2007

Spybot Search and Destroy 1.5 - Final!

Spybot remains one of my favorite anti-malware tools.  It has lots of advanced features and does a good job pulling malware from machines.  Sure, it probably can't fully clean a machine of a bad malware infection by itself, but it still holds an honored spot in my anti-malware toolbox.

I've posted before that Spybot was in beta testing of this release and had been happily using it for a number of months.  It performed great.

So now Safer Networking has made their final release of Spybot Search and Destroy 1.5 available to the public.

The GUI is cleaned up.  The updater has been updated. It now "officially" supports Vista. Memory issues have been cleaned up. Mozilla and Opera now join Internet Explorer in receiving the ability to be "immunized" by Spybot. Improved functions under Wine, boot CD (PE) support, Win 95 compatibility was restored, 64-bit support, a "portable.ini" file to enable preferences to be saved if run via USB, Vista Security Center integration, support to rename services before stopping/killing them, and a host of interface bug fixes, tweaks, and sundry.  Full change log here.

I've not been successful using Universal Extractor to unpack the Setup file.  So to make it "portable" for USB, I just ran the installer, then copied the files from the Program Files folder it created onto my USB stick.  Runs like a charm from USB and the portable.ini file helps keep it tidied up with my preferences saved.

NirSoft Utility Updates

Two handy NirSoft tools (freeware) also got nice updates:

CurrPorts - This tool identifies and lists all open TCP/IP and UDP port connections on your system.  The update adds three new features:

  • New column: Added On - Displays the date that the specified connection was added.
  • New Option: Put Icon On Tray.
  • New Option: Log File.

SysExporter - Every now and then I will find some data in a program or application or dialog box that I want to capture, but just can't seem to get at.  SysExporter is a tool that can capture much of that data, even when other means cannot.  Four new features are added in this release:

  • New Option: Display HTML As Plain Text (For HTML controls)
  • New Option: Display Invisible Items.
  • New Option: Display Items With Invisible Parent Window.
  • Added filters by control type.

So many great tools and little time to play with them....


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