This list below contains mostly free tools that every SysAdmin must have on their radar. Feel free to add your own free, favorite tool. Before adding a tool, make sure it was tested, is clean and does not add any bloatware to the computer.
- Change Windows startup programs with Sysinternals Autoruns - Fri, Sep 16 2022
- Robocopy examples - Wed, Aug 10 2022
- Patch management tips: Updating IT systems in large and small networks - Wed, Oct 20 2021
This will list be regularly updated.
Notepad++ - Powerful text editor with a ton of code/text editing plugins.
Visual Studio Code – Free code editor redefined and optimized for building and debugging modern web and cloud applications. Usable to work with your Powershell scripts.
Ditto – Easy clipboard manager.
Kinesics - Command line text editor for Windows
System information ^
Spotlight - A nice System Information Viewer.
CrystalDiskInfo – HDD/SDD utility software to display various disk information, like SMART indicators, etc.
CPU-Z – CPU information and benchmark tool.
Free PC Audit – Very simple auditing tool, which lists PC hardware and installed software.
UserBenchmark - Freeware PC speed test tool. UserBenchmark will test your PC and compare the results to other users with the same components. You can quickly size up your PC, identify hardware problems and explore the best upgrades.
DISKSPD - open source command-line tool developed by Microsoft to test workload storage performance, helpful for any HDD and SSD.
Print.Test.Page.OK - alternative test page printing tool.
Open Hardware Monitor - open source software that monitors temperature sensors, fan speeds, voltages, load and clock speeds of a computer.
Remote access ^
mRemoteNG – mRemoteNG is a fork of mRemote: an open source, tabbed, multi-protocol, remote connections manager. mRemoteNG adds bug fixes and new features to mRemote.
ASG Remote Desktop – One of the best RDP tools with multiple protocol support. Free for max 3 connections, unlimited connections + option to have connections/credentials in SQL database in paid version.
Remote Desktop Manager – Another powerful RDP manager.
Putty – Free SSH and Telnet Windows client.
TightVNC - TightVNC is a cross-platform free and open-source remote desktop software application.
AeroAdmin – Similar tool like TeamViewer, but can be also used free of charge for commercial purposes (with limited time per month).
MobaXTerm - Free X-server for connecting to *nix boxes; includes SSH and other utilities
Remote management tools ^
Action1 – A cloud-based patch management solution that’s free for the first 100 endpoints. Action1 supports policy-based patching and deployment of Windows and third-party software, and provides IT support through the built-in remote desktop feature.
RSAT (Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10) – Native Windows tools to manage Windows system features.
Meraki Systems Manager – Mobile devices management tool from Cisco.
RemoteRebootX - RemoteRebootX is a small freeware tool which allows to reboot, shut down or wake up systems on your network. It has a useful ntegrated task scheduler, a real-time status monitor, etc.
System management, analysis and troubleshooting ^
SysInternals tools – Set of advanced tools to troubleshoot Windows systems, created by Mark Russinovich. A must have tool for any Windows administrator.
DeviceTool - Device Manager for administrators. DeviceTool can enable and disable devices remotely – and run on Windows 10.
Microsoft WSUS Client Diagnostic Tool - designed to aid the WSUS administrator in troubleshooting client machines which may be failing to report back to the WSUS Server.
USB Disk Ejector - Allows you to quickly remove USB (and firewire) drives in Windows.
PAL 2.0 – Windows Performance log analyzer.
BlueScreenView – BSOD memory dump analyzer.
Windows Performance Analyzer - Windows Performance Analyzer (WPA) is a tool that creates graphs and data tables of Event Tracing for Windows (ETW) events that are recorded by Windows Performance Recorder (WPR), Xperf, or an assessment that is run in the Assessment Platform. WPA can open any event trace log (ETL) file for analysis.
Regshot – Capture Registry snapshot allowing to compare the Registry before and after some changes.
TaskSchedulerView - Displays in a single table the list of all tasks from the Task Scheduler of Windows.
Shutter - Shutter is a multifunctional scheduling utility, which has a user friendly and easy-to-use interface and supports many different Events and Actions.
WMIExplorer - Free tool formerly from Microsoft has been picked up and maintained. Very simple and easy utility to explore WMI/CIM classes.
Ctrl-Alt-Del Utilities - This is a suite of utilities in the manner of SysInternals, but these are focused on Terminal Services/Remote Desktop Services.
Sysinternals Sysmon - This tool is a Windows system service and device driver that, once installed on a system, remains resident across system reboots to monitor and log system activity to the Windows event log. It provides detailed information about process creations, network connections, and changes to file creation time.
uTaskManager - The Universal Task Manager (uTaskManager) is a Universal Windows Platform app that provides much of the same functionality as the traditional Win32 Desktop Task Manager app.
RoboIntern - Automation and task scheduling tool with focus on repetitive office tasks. Some exmaple of tasks covered by RoboIntern: Copy, move and delete files and folders, Rename files and folders, Refresh Excel data connections, Transfer text / csv file data to Excel, Run ODBC database SQLs / stored procedures, Download files with FTP, etc.
File and disk operations ^
Filezilla – Free software, cross-platform FTP application, consisting of FileZilla Client and FileZilla Server.
WinSCP – Free and open-source SFTP, FTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3 and SCP client for Microsoft Windows. Its main function is secure file transfer between a local and a remote computer.
TreeSize Portable – Scans your drives and folders and graphically shows large items.
Recuva – Recover Data from SD Card, Hard Drive, USB, Memory Stick, PC, Camera, etc.
PropertySystemView - View and modify the properties of file from GUI and command-line.
FreeFileSync - Free open source data backup software which helps you compare and synchronize files and folders on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
7-Zip - free file zip utility that can compress to several formats and can read and expand even more, including .RAR
WinMerge - free file and directory comparison tool
DelProf2 - Successor to Microsoft's DelProf for deleting profiles
SetACL - utilities to manage various permissions in Windows, includes backup & undo permissions
SetACLStudio - A GUI version of SetACL
NTFSLinksView - List of all symbolic links and junctions in the specified folder, and their target paths. It also allows you to save the symbolic links/junctions list into text/html/xml/csv file.
Boot, backup and recovery ^
Rufus - Small portable tool to create bootable USB Flash drives, includes an option to download the Windows.
Ultimate Boot CD - Live Rescue CD based on Debian.
Hiren Boot CD – Another rescue CD based on Windows PE.
Cobian Backup - File-backup program that can be used to make automatic backups for your directories and files. Cobian Backup can be run as a service or as a regular application. It can backup to some other location in the same computer, to the network and even to an FTP server. The program supports compression and encryption.
MacriumReflect – Disk imaging/cloning tool which is really simple and can be used free of charge also for business purpose. Registration with email address is required and also paid versions are available, but for basic operation you can use it free even for business.
DriverBackup - A portable freeware software that can backup and restore your drivers.
Veeam Backup Community Edition - The Community Edition can leverage Veeam Agents to back up physical servers and workstations that cannot be virtualized, get physical backups off site and protect endpoints for your workforce!
Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows FREE - Free version of a simple, user friendly backup tool from Veeam. It allows you to do a complete backup of your hard drive, file level backup, etc. You can also create a recovery media to perform bare metal recovery from your backups. The free edition supports one backup job.
Veeam Agent for Linux FREE - A simple backup agent that’s designed to ensure the Availability of your Linux Instances, regardless of if they’re deployed in the public cloud or on premises.
Veeam ONE Community Edition - Monitoring for up to 10 workloads of any combination of Veeam Backup & Replication™, Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows or Linux workloads, as well as vSphere and Hyper-V infrastructures,
Ventoy - an open source tool to create bootable USB drive for ISO files. With ventoy, you don't need to format the disk again and again, you just need to copy the iso file to the USB drive and boot it. Both Legacy BIOS and UEFI are supported in the same way.
RVTools - Windows application which uses the VI SDK to display information about your virtual environments. Interacting with VMware vCenter Server.
vCenter Converter - Quickly converts local and remote physical machines into virtual machines without any downtime. Note: Download not available, retired by VMware.
Starwind V2V Converter - StarWind V2V Converter enables conversion of a physical machine into a virtual one that resides on a Hyper-V or ESXi server. The utility allows converting physical disks or volumes into a variety of formats: VHD/VHDX, VMDK, QCOW2, and IMG/RAW.
Angry IP Scanner – IP scanning tool.
Advanced IP Scanner - Easy to use IP scanning tool. Does not require installation.
Wireshark – Wireshark is a free and open-source packet analyzer. It is used for network troubleshooting, analysis, software and communications protocol development, and education.
PingInfoView - A small utility that allows you to easily ping multiple host names and IP addresses, and watch the result in one table. It automatically ping to all hosts every number of seconds that you specify, and displays the number of succeed and failed pings, as well as the average ping time.
KeePass Password Safe – KeePass is a free open source password manager. Passwords can be stored in an encrypted database, which can be unlocked with one master key. With dozen of plugins available, KeePass is one of the best password manager tools.
BitWarden - Free cross platform password manager, includes web access, desktop apps and mobile apps.
Greenshot – Really nice, feature rich, easy and free print screen tool.
f.lux – Adapts screen color temperature based on day time – eye saver. Can be partly replaced with Night Light feature available in Windows 10.
ShareX - Screenshot and markup tool, can also do screen recordings
DesktopRefresh - Simple utility to tell Windows to refresh the environment
OBS Studio - Free screen/video capture tool.
ScreenToGif - Another open source tool to capture screen, webcam, editor and so.
Microsoft Active Directory Topology Diagrammer - The Active Directory Topology Diagrammer tool automates Microft Office Visio to draw a diagram of the Active Directory Domain topology, OU , DFS-R or your current Exchange 20XX Server Organization.
MS Error Lookup Tool - The Error Lookup Tool looks up constants in all known Windows products error headers through a large set of tables built into the tool at compile time. Run the app with no arguments for command line help and a list of header files currently indexed..
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BabelMap - BabelMap is a free character map application for Windows that allows you to browse through the entire Unicode character repertoire of nearly 144,000 characters, or search for a particular character by name or by code point.