Here is quite the collection of Windows-related links. Although it has been quite a while since the last one, I promise I’ve been diligently collecting the most promising links I could find, and slowly roasting them over the past weeks.
The fat has dripped out and burned on the bottom of the smoker pit leaving only these tender, flavor-laden morsels behind.
Windows System Utilities
- Sysinternals Updates: Coreinfo v2.1, Process Monitor v2.91, Disk Usage v1.34 – Start updating your tool-chest!
- Sysinternals Updates: Process Explorer v12.04, Sigcheck v1.7, ProcDump v1.8 and a new Case of the Unexplained – Yes! Even more Sysinterals utility updating goodness! Plus check out that last one from Mark Russinovich’s examination of a IE crash and trace out to a rouge toolbar DLL file. Process Explorer can now generate full/mini-dump process crash dump files. Nice.
- Sysinternals Update: Autoruns v10.01 – Whew! version 10.00 brought in a major update to this must-have utility; the ability to scan offline Windows systems. I’m not sure about the default setting now to auto-hide Windows (MS) entries…I prefer to see the buggers out of the box.
- Network Monitor : Network Monitor 3.4 Beta Released on Connect! and BETA: Microsoft Network Monitor 3.4 - Windows Live – Network Monitor 3.4 brings with it some major GUI interface improvements and column customization. However, even more exciting are claims that parsing performance has been dramatically improved. Couple that with a new high-performance filter to avoid dropping frames, as well as more granular time-stamps. Yes, Wireshark and a few other network capture utilities seem to be king, but this is definitely packet-capture tool on the move. Because it is free there aren’t many valid excuses for Windows sysadmins to not co-load this tool along side the others.
- Sysinternals New Tool: RAMMap v1.0. and Where has your Windows memory gone? Check the map (Ed Bott’s Windows Expertise) – Amazing new tool (let Ed take you on the walking tour) from Sysinternals that will clearly display just how Windows is allocating the physical memory of a system. Really, really cool. For Vista/Windows 7, and Server 2008 OS only. As Ed notes, XP memory management doesn’t support the features this tool interfaces with.
- Windows 7 SP1 public beta download to be available in July – Download Squad – Probably not as exciting a new OS SP release as was Vista SP1 & 2. Word is that this SP really just rolls up the updates that have been flowing to Windows 7. Windows 7 seems pretty great out of the gate so there hasn’t been nearly as much buzz ‘bout this one.
- Newsletter #89: Changing Win 7 Default Profile and Sysprep Tricks – Mark Minasi’s Windows Networking Tech Page – Mark has a really good must-read article regarding Windows 7’s Default User Profile as well as some accompanying Sysprep tricks. We are no where near to an enterprise deployment of Windows 7 at work so I’m probably going to be Syprepping XP Pro for a few more years to come.
- Complete Guide to Virtual Hard Disks (VHD) in Windows 7 & Windows Server 2008 R2 - The Windows Club – Nice summary and link to the official Microsoft VHD Guide document. Probably a good reference paper to keep nearby for any VHD jockeys.
- DOWNLOAD: Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V Component Architecture poster - Windows Live. Who doesn’t love a super-geeky IT poster particularly when it talks about Hyper-V, virtual networking and virtual machine snapshots. Links on that page to other related posters as well.
Freaking and Tweaking Windows
- Customize & change explorer backgrounds with Windows 7 Folder Background Changer -- The Windows Club -- and Windows 7 Folder Background Changer personalizes Explorer views – Download Squad. Simple utility to add images/textures to the background of Windows 7 Explorer page views. Not for everyone, but find the right texture…say at 40 Fresh Free Texture Packs – Noupe…and it might be neat.
- WinBubbles via UnlockForUs Say what you will about the web-page, but this has to be among one of the most complete Windows tweaking tools there is. It’s been a while since I did a post on Windows tweaking tools, but this will be among them when it comes. If you can wade through all the links to finally find where to download the utility (sigh) your search will be rewarded. It comes in both a localized install version as well as a portable one. FREE: WinBubble – Tweak Windows 7 – 4sysops gives a good review as well.
- FREE: Network Password Recovery – Windows password recovery - 4sysops. Michael Pietroforte tips us to a great network utility just for sysadmins, Nir Sofer’s Network Password Recovery v1.24. I’ve actually used this to help me pin down why network drive mapping wasn’t working on a particular system at the local church-house. It save me hours of work…but that’s another post!
Remote Desktop Management: Reloaded
- Microsoft Download: Remote Desktop Connection Manager (RDCMan) – This is a really neat tool (though not the only out there) that allows you to manage all the different Remote Desktop connection accounts you have. It presents them in a tree/list format on the left and then shows them in thumbnail format (or active in a single pane) on the right. (4sysops blog has great screenshots of it in action in his post Free RDP client.) I’m using it right now to manage multiple remote packet capture systems across our network and it makes hopping between them a breeze. Natively supported on Windows 7; Windows Server 2003; Windows Server 2008; Windows Server 2008 R2; Windows Vista, folks with Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 will need to obtain version 6 or newer of the Remote Desktop Connection client software. See Description of the Remote Desktop Connection 7.0 client update for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) for Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP1, and Windows Vista SP2 for more information and the download links at the bottom of the page.
- mRemote -- (free version) – Was a similar multi-remote connection management tool I found mentioned in a few comments about the above application. I had never heard of it before but it seems to support a very wide range of remote protocols, and allows uniform management of them all, including RDP, VNC, SSH, Telnet, HTTP/S, Rlogin and a few others. What was nice was that once you download and install, it will then assist you in locating/sourcing any additional downloads to support other protocols it can handle that it doesn’t find pre-loaded on your system. Seems to have a strong fanbase. Overview
- chriscontrol - Project Hosting on Google Code -- (freeware) – ChrisControl was another interesting remote control tool I rediscovered in it’s new home on GoogleCode pages. The Beta 2 version was released in January 2010 so the author is still hard at work refining it. ChrisControl is curious in that as long as you have the target system’s IP address/hostname and a valid account id/pw, then you have a good chance of connecting to it. First it see if RDP or VNC is installed/running. if RDP is available, it uses that to connect. If VNC is present it will use that. If neither, then it prompts the user to remote install VNC server on the target system! You have options to uninstall the VNC server when done.
- I’d recently posted this link to the Remotely Enable Remote Desktop :: IntelliAdmin - (free tool) – but it seems appropriate to re-include it again. This utility automates a trick to get RDP started when not enabled on the box.. Get the micro-file from this link: Enable Remote Desktop – Remotely (exe download-link from IntelliAdmin). I tend to avoid direct links but the download link from their blog-post page actually points to their full-featured application, and not the standalone tool. I’ve had the opportunity over the past few weeks to use this tool a few times and every time it save my bacon.
- TeamViewer 5 is now out (free for personal (non-commercial) usage) and has some new enhancements. Check out the TeamViewer Download page. There is also a TeamViewer Portable version. I found really cool that if you download the setup installer and run it, it gives you two options; “Install” to fully install on the system or “Run” to execute TeamViewer on the system “portably/temporarily” (and without the need for the user profile to have “admin” privileges on the system. That’s a cool feature that calls to mind the way ShowMyPC offers the exe download of it’s own product which when executed, unpacks and runs…rather than installs. ShowMyPC, btw, was updated recently to v3050. Speaking of TeamViewer, I had been able to use TeamViewer on WinPE builds with great success. However, the newest versions didn’t seem to execute well. I did manage to create an ugly work-around that again lets me keep use of TeamViewer as an option to remote-connect to a WinPE 3.0 booted system. Yes, another blog post awaits on this one…
- 2X Client Portable 8.1.870 Released -- PortableApps.com. This multi-connection management tool has also been recently updated. It also is similar to the Microsoft RDC-Manager and does support RDP connections. I’ve dipped my feet into using it a bit as well and was pleasantly surprised with the performance. I really like the “tabbed” remote system display arrangement. While the “client” tool is free, you can also use it to connect to systems running the 2x Application Server. Check out the 2X ApplicationServer download page for more information on that side of operations.
Free Microsoft Money!
No. Seriously! I mean it! Get Microsoft Money free. This “Sunset” version doesn’t require any on-line activation. It is really slick and for a former Quicken user, is very mature and polished. Lavie and I love it. What don’t you get with this wonderful and sophisticated yet approachable financial management tool? Well, as well as I can tell, almost nothing is missing except integration with Microsoft’s own on-line “Live” capabilities, which for the poor folk like Lavie and I, isn’t much we would be using currently anyway. It is simply an amazing opportunity.
Even if you don’t really think you would use it, if you don’t already have a personal finance management (banking/credit/loans/etc.) software, download this and play around. Heck, at least download the installer and keep it handy. Read the download details page linked below carefully for full details.
- DOWNLOAD: Money Plus Deluxe Sunset… FREE – Kurt Shintaku’s Windows Live blog.
- Download details: Money Plus Sunset Deluxe – Microsoft Download Center
“From the MS download page Overview
All versions of Money Plus sold at retail and online, required users to perform an “Online Activation” step in order to keep using the product, even if online services had already expired. Online Activation was also required for every machine onto which Money Plus was installed. Now that Money Plus is no longer available for purchase, the online activation step will eventually become unnecessary and unsupported. This Money Plus Sunset package is targeted at removing the activation dependency. There are two versions of Money Plus Sunset. The Money Plus Sunset Deluxe version is meant to replace Premium, Deluxe, and Essentials versions of Money Plus. The Money Plus Sunset Home and Business version is meant to replace Money Plus Home and Business. Please note that Money Plus Sunset versions come preconfigured with: · No online services (no online quotes, no bill payment, no statement downloads initiated by Money, no data sync with MSN Money online services, etc…) · No support services (support services are limited to online self-help only, see Money Plus Sunset EULA and Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle pages for more details) · No need to activate the product.
Don’t let all that scare you off. You can still manually import transactions from banks (if they support MS Money or compatible formats) down into this version of MS Money to save time from hand-entering them.
Seriously…Microsoft is giving away Money for free. Who would have ever thunk?
So a while back I was working on another side project and found some tips on using Google Sites to host files and other materials for downloading by your blog’s fans. Sounded like a clever idea although I do have a handy and free Box.net account already with a few publically made shared folders like that one that contains reg.keys for enabling/disabling InPrivate Mode for IE 8.
Eventually I came back to Google Sites and figure it had enough features and such to be worthwhile to set up a basic GSD site page. Nothing there worth seeing for now, but in time I might be able to use it to make a more technically organized website of tips and such.
There are lots of pre-built templates to get started with. I chose a “project tracking” format for some reason. We’ll see what happens.
A Tiny, TinyApps Diversion
The succinct TinyApps bloggist has been hard at work finding “outside the box” solutions for external storage media and usages.
Get your crazy on with these amazing tips and hardware finds!
- TinyApps.Org Blog : Boot any and all ISO images from USB drive.
- The iodd 2501 External HDD. Product page. Seed with your ISO’s and you can select any of them to boot from. Oh yeah, it also comes with a write-protect switch. Sounds like the perfect tool for sysadmins and forensic experts with more boot images in ISO format than they know what to do with! Discard the disks! Resellers that were noted (not meant as endorsements of any kind) : LinITX.com - iodd 2501 Portable Virtual ROM – Silver , Amazon.com: iodd 2501 Portable Virtual Rom: Electronics, and Welcome to I-Odd USA.
- TinyApps.Org Blog : Hard drive enclosure with write protect switch which would be the ACP-2127 at around $20 or so depending on source. Seems like a can’t miss trick with spare 2.5” SATA drives littering up the shelves.
Of course, all the USB HDD talk has got me crazy thinking about other related items.
- Into The Boxes: Issue 0×0 had a great tip from Don C. Weber on page 14 regarding re-purposing the controller/connecter from external HDD enclosures . Sure, toss (destroy/hammer) the bad 2.5” HDD, but keep the USB mini-port to SATA hardware adapter in your kit. It’s a dead-simple way to access SATA drives and is a “green-recycling” solution to boot.
- USB Boot Without BIOS Support – Kent Hall’s “What the….?” blog – Although most all “modern” BIOS systems support booting from external USB devices (properly configured of course), some hardware you encounter might not. Chris’s trick involves using PLoP Boot Manager and RawWrite (if making a floppy) to create a bootable floppy/CD pre-booter if you will, that then leverages up the USB device to do the actual post-pre-booting from. Not an everyday need but so simple it wouldn’t hurt to have such a boot-CD pre-crafted, just in case. PLoP Boot Manager supports a number of features and is worth looking at even if this scenario doesn’t fit your need.
Free Firewalls for Windows
Currently, the Windows 7 firewalls and my own home router are providing me sufficient firewall protection for my comfort zone. Maybe in a while I will revisit my Windows Firewall post roundup and see which ones still remain and if any new-comers of late are present.
In the meantime, snack on these….
- The Three Best Free Firewalls for Windows – according to the MakeUseOf blog.
- TinyApps.Org Blog : Excellent freeware firewall for Vista and Windows 7. Yep. While those three are medium/large sized, leave it to TinyApps to come in with an amazing l33t and lightweight free find; Windows 7 Firewall Control 3.5. And in both 32 and 64-bit flavors, AND a portable version as well. Zowsers! There is also a “Plus” version that is not free, but much more fully featured.
Graphically Seen and Heard
- Tintii: free, standalone selective coloring/color popping filter for your images – (freeware) – Review and linkage via freewaregenius.com.
- RasterVect Softwarescan. – (freeware) – Great tool to convert raster images into vector formats. See also Vector Magic which can “vectorize” bitmap images online for free or the $ desktop version. I really love and depend on Vector Magic.
- Bing’s Best-3, Windows 7 Themepack Released – The Windows Club. I love to download these themepacks and extract the wallpapers from them. I’ve got a massive wallpaper folder I run now with these best-of images. Beautiful stuff.
- 40 Fresh Free Texture Packs - Noupe. Previously mentioned in this post. Great and free texture packages.
- Identify audio & video codecs required, with VideoInspector – The Windows Club see also GSpot Codec Information Appliance and the Shark007.net - Windows 7 Codecs - WMP12 Codecs and ffdshow tryouts. Course you can always cross-match what codecs you need against which ones you got using InstalledCodec from Nir Sofer.
- Sculptris – (freeware) – Check out Download Squad’s take on this …insanely cool, free 3D modeling software.
It’s all in the pot today!
- FREE: NTPWEdit – Reset Windows password - 4sysops. Yep. Used it quite successfully on a few WinPE booted systems where someone “cleverly” changed the admin password. Bugger.
- How to recover lost ADSL password or other ISP password – Tips and techniques by Nir Sofer with his own tool roundup..
- Network Password Recovery v1.24 – (freeware) – NirSoft tool to review your saved passwords for Windows Network shares or .NET Passport account.
- Universal Extractor at LegRoom.net – Version 1.6.1 fresh out of the oven! See this FileHippo.com page for all the changes baked in to this release.
- RouterPassView – (freeware) – NirSoft tool to recover your router password and wireless keys from supported router models.
- BulkFileChanger – (freeware) – NirSoft tool to do some major and fun things for files/file-lists such as change their time-stamps or file attributes. CybernetNews likes the RegexRenamer: Bulk File and Folder Renaming Using Regex.
- DiskDigger – Newly updated file-recover program that (unfortunately) isn’t free any longer (see tool blog page The move to shareware for the breakdown). It still will work, but just not as conveniently. The Portable Freeware Collection - Disk Digger page does contain a link to the last really “free” version 0.8.3, so while you don’t get the added features and spanking GUI from the new v1.0, you still can get much of the same functionality.
- WhatInStartup v1.21 -- Updated NirSoft auto-run/startup manager tool.
- Back4Sure -- (freeware) – Yet another good (file/folder) backup program, updated as of 5-16-10. Hop over to UK’s Homepage and check the side-bar for the feature and download links.
- How To Force Uninstall Unwanted Windows Programs Using IObit Uninstaller – MakeUseOf blog tip.
- ISOBuddy converts and burns disc images -- including DMG, MDF, PDI, and more – DownloadSquad tip.
- TMonitor – CUPID – (freeware) – neat utility that will display the active CPU clock speed for each system core. Seen via this Download Squad Post
- USB Drive Letter Manager 4.5.0: unbelegte Laufwerke ausblenden – German blog page from Stadt-Bremerhaven which really points out the USB drive letter manager - USBDLM utility.
- Speccy and Recuva both were recently updated by Piriform software. Get the newest releases!
And the Browser Wars continue….
- There is the Opera 10.60 alpha preview – Try the latest version and the Opera 10.60 Alpha 1 and the very latest edition can be found in this Weekend fixes post for you Opera die-hard fans.
- SRWare Iron - The Browser of the Future is based on Chrome/ium.
- Internet Explorer 9: Platform Demos are still popping up newer versions regularly. This latest one included IE Diagnostics features as explained by the IEBlog crew.
- Apple - Safari 5 is also recently set loose among the Web. Dwight Silverman at the TechBlog has his take in the Safari 5 for Mac and Windows is out post and Ars Technica dives deeper in their Safari 5: faster, less clutter, secure browser extensions review.
- For Chrome/ium goodness, I’m relying on the amazing Portable Google Chrome 18.104.22.1689 as packaged by Stadt-Bremhaven. The thing that has won me over with this particular portable-ization is the inclusion of the additional Neue Version des Portable Chrome Updaters which is an exe that when run offers to download/unpack/update your portable Chrome; in your favorite flavor as long at it is “Dev Channel”, “Beta Channel” “Release Channel” or my personal taste pick “Chromium”. Quench that thirst!
- Meanwhile…Firefox trundles on, slowly inching the way to the next major release..be it Firefox 3.6.4 or Firefox 4.0. Firefox Release Recap: June 2010 Week 3 « The Firefox Extension Guru’s Blog and also see this informative Firefox 3.7/Gecko 1.9.3 Alpha 5 Released post from the Guru as well.
- How to Improve Extension Startup Performance – Mozilla Add-ons Blog is an interesting read on maybe the roadmap to come and the love/hate relationship with Firefox extensions; something great for customization and making a really practical browser, but potentially performance impacting with weigh-down.
- Internet Explorer 9 and Safari 5 – The Windows Blog team. Of course IE guys would have a bone or two to pick with Safari 5 in a side-by-side comparison, wouldn’t they? I’m sure it is 100% objective.
- How to enable extensions for Safari 5 on OS X and Windows – Download Squad tip. Safari 5 (will) support extensions as well. Only it isn’t fully armed on the current release. However you can do so following that guide, then head over to this Tumblr page where you can find a number of early releases if you really want to. I wonder if Safari will take a performance hit like Firefox has a tendency to once they start getting added-on…
Happy Father’s Day!