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As a Windows administrator, what tools do you feel you cannot live without?


locked by Mark Henderson Dec 3 '12 at 4:50

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50 Answers 50

A couple of things that make my life easier:

Terminals - multi tab terminal services/remote desktop client.


Nmap - network scanner extraordinaire

  • Active Directory - if you manage a domain this is your best friend. It centralizes all control over users/computers/printers/groups in your organizational unit into one program.

  • gpedit - the group policy editor, allows you to easily manage registry entries for groups of users at a higher level.

  • regedit - Great for making lower level tweaks to the system not available through the group policies.


I still find myself firing up Sequoia View to spot the massive temp files/caches that can otherwise lie unnoticed on a volume.


Apart from the regular Windows MMC tools and OS native support tools, these are a few I use regularly. Sysinternals, Resource Kit tools, WinDBG, WMI scripts, Performance & reliability monitor and PowerShell scripts



Invaluable command line tool I primarily use for killing programs and processes although it does allow a fairly high degree of control over hardware.


XCopy (although RoboCopy is more capable) and Ping (cmd), along with .bat files for scripting.

This answer says RichCopy is even more capable. – Dan Dascalescu Dec 3 '12 at 4:02

RDtabs from Avian Waves for managing and organising RDP connections


Terracopy or Richcopy. Quick file transfers. Scored points at my new job by mentioning this to my boss!


Ant or NAnt to run some kind of operations with easy way to check if the tasks runs ok or not, parallelize, and so on.

  • Notepad2
  • Executor
  • BgInfo (on all servers)
  • LPD.exe
  • NirCmd
  • Blat

Bart PE, with a large assortment of plug-ins. Not so much for day-to-day use but for all those times when things go wrong and normal tools won't help or when something can't be achieved while the regular OS is running.

Perl. Tools such as logparser might be OK for some jobs but Perl has no limits.

Robocopy. In my opinion the best readily available copy utility for Windows. If you have a copy/move/sync operation that you can't do with Robocopy it's time to read the manual again.

This answer says that RichCopy is much better than RoboCopy. – Dan Dascalescu Dec 3 '12 at 4:02

Joeware tools and Sysinternals


SciTE for text editing and Servant Salamander as file manager. Unfortunately, Salamander is a commercial product, but it is exceptionally good for working with files and folders.


More votes for PowerShell, Notepad++, PuTTY, pscp, Cygwin, sdelete, WinDirStat, and System Internals.

Also some sort of Remote control software be it UltraVNC, RDP, or whatever.


For Sysadmins that have a laptop, I would add NetProfiles .

Also, the website is absolutely awesome.


smsniff from NIRSOFT. The quick network sniffer.

Fiddler a good HTTP debugging porxy with really good SSL support


Remote Desktop Manager is awesome, It centralize all my remote connections (Including RDP, Putty, SQL Server, HTTP Interfaces, (S)FTP, CIFS shares, OpenVPN connections...

It's really a must have, all this for free, but the enterprise edition allows you some nice thing like storing connections settings in a database to push modifications to the others admins)


Heh... Norton Comander.. I like console (since DOS/Windows 3.x) and i use FAR Manager ( as my file manager for a long time.

Now new version (2.0) with Unicode support(!) is availible. And this version not shareware, it's FREE (BSD-like license). It's still in "alpha" and a bit tricky to install but fully working (even x64).


TextPad is great.
VirtuaWin is fantastic if one is a fan of virtual desktops.
UltraVNC (because VNC will need to be used eventually, even despite RDP)
I personally like using Cygwin over cmd/command for console
Definitely Wireshark
All of the Administrator Tools that come with Windows


Richcopy, a released tool that used to be used internally in Microsoft. It's a ultimate copying tool that is much better than robocopy.


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