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Tools a Windows administrator cannot live without

I just joined a small computer lab which basically uses all Windows boxes and a few Windows Sever 2003. Coming from a *nix background I am missing all the nice tools that we have for diagnosis and troubleshooting. My question is what are the safe, free (not terribly concerned if it is like beer or freedom -both acceptable) tools out there that Windows system admins use for their day to day troubleshooting (network, applications, servers etc).

I am aware of the tools that come with Windows (and their limited capabilites) - so my query is with what do you fill in your arsenal? (may be a list of win versions of tools that come in standard linux distros)

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marked as duplicate by John Gardeniers, joeqwerty, l0c0b0x, jscott, Zoredache Jan 7 '11 at 0:05

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Pose a few example troubleshooting scenarios where the standard tools are inadequate? –  Oskar Duveborn Jan 6 '11 at 20:41
    
    
The vagueness was totally intentional to maximize suggestions, and @l0c0b0x your observation is spot on. I was actually looking for such a discussion and finally summarize the contextually what tools are available for the two platforms. –  Tathagata Jan 7 '11 at 0:21

2 Answers 2

They are semi-developer-oriented, but the sysinternals tools are among the best and most useful tools available.

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I don't think that I would characterize them as developer-oriented, to be honest. I'm an admin, and I've been using them for about 8-9 years. Helpful all the time. –  mfinni Jan 6 '11 at 21:07
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:) fair enough. let's just call them awesome for everyone –  Michael Lowman Jan 6 '11 at 21:23
    
+1 Given the vagueness of the question, the Sysinternals Suite is probably the best answer. –  Jeff McJunkin Jan 6 '11 at 22:01
    
I use those tools regularly as an admin but can't recall ever having used them as a developer. Perhaps because that's not what they're for. –  John Gardeniers Jan 6 '11 at 23:56
    
@Jeff: vagueness was totally intentional to maximize suggestions. But coming to think of it, I'll try to edit the question and make it less vague. –  Tathagata Jan 7 '11 at 0:10

Besides sysinternals, I would also add Wireshark, Spinrite (not free but worth it), and a live boot CD with various recovery and imaging tools.

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