A 4sysops reader recommended the freeware tool Windows System Control Center (WSCC) as an alternative to NirLauncher, the portable free launcher. I tested WSCC and it is indeed an interesting tool, not only as an admin utility but also as an example of how Windows could morph into a cloud operating system.
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Even though WSCC isn't delivered with the Sysinternals or the NirSoft tools, you can use all these great free admin tools immediately without the need to download because WSCC just launches them through the web. For the bigger tools, this can increase the time it takes for the tool to start. However, if you launch the utility a second time while WSCC is still open, it will be loaded from a local cache. Of course, the launch speed depends on your available bandwidth.
If you prefer to store the tools of both suites locally, WSCC can download them all in one go and store them automatically in the correct folder. WSCC recognizes which tools are locally available when you start it. If you use WSCC's integrated download feature, you might want to delete the zip files in the Data folder to save space on your USB stick.
The main advantage of launching the tools through the web is that you always automatically have the latest version. However, WSCC also has an update feature that allows you to check if any Sysinternals or NirSoft tools have been updated. This method also detects new tools.
It is also possible to combine both methods. That is, you can store your most important utilities locally and launch the tools you need only every now and then through the web. WSCC displays an icon in front of the tools that tells you whether the local or the online version will be launched.
Instead of downloading all tools at once, you can simply right-click a particular tool and then select "Check for updates." This will "install" the tool locally if you didn't download it yet.
Despite the fact that launching the online version can take more time, another downside of this method is that the help files are unavailable. For installed tools, a question mark symbol is displayed next to a short description of the tool.
Unfortunately, WSCC only supports Sysinternals and NirSoft; that is, you can't add other admin tools to its interface. The reason for this is that only those tool suites offer a "web API."
So what has WSCC to do with cloud computing? Well, I think, this tool demonstrates how future Windows versions could unite the cloud-based approach with the PC model. As I outlined in my Windows 8 wish list, this will only happen if Microsoft provides the corresponding streaming API that ensures that only those parts of an application that the user currently needs are downloaded.
Wouldn't it be cool if all your Windows apps were available on every Windows PC you log on to? Well, you will have to wait some more time for this happen. In the meantime, you can at least launch your NirSoft and Sysinternals tools from the cloud conveniently with WSCC.
I have tested WSCC 220.127.116.11 on Windows Server 2003 and Vista. The tool didn't work on Windows PE 3.