I have been on the lookout lately for some good tools to fill up my flash drive and I thought I would ask the Server Fault community for recommendations on good tools that will fit onto a thumb drive.
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These are the utilities I have on my drive:
- CurrPorts displays the list of all currently opened TCP/IP and UDP ports on your local computer.
- ftpserver3lite is an FTP server
- ftpwanderer2 is an FTP client
- ipnetinfo answers questions about an IP address: owner, country/state, range, contact info, etc.
- miranda general messaging solution (supports most P2P messaging networks)
- omziff encryption decryption tool.
- FoxitReader wonderful alternative to adobe's PDF reader. light and fast and portable.
- Qm (The Quick Mailer) if you just want to send an Email the old pasion way with no installation.
- Restoration quick and basic undelete utility.
- smsniff basic TCP sniffer.
- torpark a Firefox-based browser for completely discrete browsing.
- treepad just a nice utility to organize your data in, much like freemind and other mind maps.
- cpicture a picture viewer
- DriveMan for managing hard drives on the local computer.
- FollowMeIPLite very much like www.whatismyip.com only much quicker.
- hfs opens a small HTTP file server from desired folder, for instant file sharing.
- angry ip scanner scans IP's
- kill.exe - needs no introduction :)
- putty a telnet utility every system administrator has got to be familiar with.
- startup control panel, StartupList, regcleaner - really there are many registry cleaners/managers out there, lots of them fits nicely in a thumb-drive.
- Revealer reveals passwords from password fields. It is very useful in many situations.
- vncviewer client for the VNC remote desktop protocol
- WinAudit audits a Windows machine. Lots of useful information.
- xcopy.exe - it is still useful to have around.
- TcpView shows all all TCP and UDP endpoints on your system.
Beyond Compare, brilliant for checking for changes
In top of that, I strongly recommend to add TrueCrypt if you keep any personal or confidential data. Sometimes I need to put customer's database backups and I'd be in great trouble if someone gets access to them.
I got these from crazeegeekchick.com some time ago and I really love them.
TrueCrypt – encrypt your thumb drive to protect your information
ToDoList – A task management tool that allows you to repeatedly sub-divide your tasks into more manageable pieces whilst still presenting a clean and intuitive user experience. (Windows Only)
Portable Firefox – Leaves no personal information behind on the machine - you can take along your browser/extensions/bookmarks anywhere
Pidgin Portable – All-in-one instant messaging (supports AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo, G-Chat, etc)
WS FTP32 – ftp client
FileZilla – yet another ftp client
Notepad2 – a fast light-weight advanced text editor with syntax highlighting
Notepad++ - this is one of my favorite text editors – now made portable
Color Cop – this is one of my favorite freeware apps – includes an eyedropper you can drag over any window to grab the color value. It then offers a palette of 42 complimentary colors to the one you've picked.
Ifranview – a light little graphics viewer/editor that packs a big punch. You can use it to work with screen captures, create slideshows and more
GIMP – the popular open source image editor packaged as a portable app – very robust
7-Zip Portable – handles zip, gzip, tar, rar etc
Allway Sync – syncs files between your thumb drive and PC
Unknown Devices – helps you find out what the unknown devices in the device manager are
TestDisk – data recovery software that can recover lost partitions or make drives bootable again
UTorrent – my preferred bit torrent client – I love having this with me wherever I go
Roeder's .NET Reflector – recently purchased by Red Gate, this still-free app can be used to explore .NET assemblies, understand relationships between classes and methods, find where types are instantiated and exposed or check that code has been correctly obfuscated before release. There are also over 30 add-ins available.
Process Explorer – formerly Filemon and Regmon, this is an invaluable sleuthing tool
TightVNC – based on the popular VNC remote control software, this version can live on a thumb drive
WinMerge – compares differences between files and merges changes. It has the same features as the desktop version
Text2Html – a text to HTML converter – converts text files into HTML format
Portable Apps Suite – this is the mac-daddy of them all – it includes Firefox, Thunderbird(email), Sunbird(calendar),ClamWin (antivirus), Pidgin(see above), Sumatra PDF Readable, KeePass Password Safe, OpenOffice, CoolPlayer (audio Player) and even a couple of games
Restoration – Recover accidentally deleted files – even after they were deleted from the recycle bin
Infra Recorder Portable – cd and dvd burning
RockXP – allows you to recover windows passwords or keys, change keys, display system password, and more – sneaky!
[Update: Initially I deleted this answer because I spotted it was already mentioned in the question. However I think it would be good for it to see votes so I have checked the Community Wiki box to prevent people from thinking I'm trying to game the system]
Apps from http://portableapps.com/ like Portable Firefox leave no trace on the system you run them on.
Also the PortableApps app itself makes using them a piece of cake.
What doesn't fit on a thumb drive, these days? 16GB drives are like $50!
Wireshark - monitor network traffic.
One of my most-used tools on my USB-Stick:
It's about the easiest and quickest (regex) find/replace tool available.
A decent text editor (eg. notepad++). Process Explorer.
I usually keep about a dozen different types of boot-images on my USB (and yes, it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to buy all this stuff):
- DOS boot for Ghost (for old computers)
- DOS boot with CDROM
- Small BartPE with Ghost
- Offline NT Password Recovery boot
The main reason being that when you work with governmental organizations, you can't always get access to the Internet, but (for me) it was easy to burn CDs there. It made debugging bad hardware, and problemtic OSs much easier.
Definitely Total Commander. Just runs out of the install folder; does packing/unpacking, FTP, file diff, folder sync, multi-rename, checksum generation/verification. You name it...
For those who still own POP3 accounts; E-Res-Q (shameless plug!) allows no-frills access to a POP3 account for quick viewing and cleanup of messages (good for clearing spammed out or blocked-with-a-50MB-attachment accounts).
DosBox of course, for when you need to emulate an old ODS machine for, umm, old office applications.
Aside from SysInternals, utilities from Nirsoft are also useful.
Installers for perl and vim
Portable Total Commander is a must have for any portable environment.
Win32 GNU tool set
AutoHotKey can be placed on and run from your flashkey.
There are many things you might script an ability to do which might ease Server related tasks.
I really like http://portableapps.com/ for this.
This question is 7 hours old, and no one have mentioned a hex (binary) editor yet. Sometimes, even a sysadmin needs to look inside a file to check (or tweak) what realy lurks inside.
Lightweight but a little old, frhed a is free binary file editor for Windows.
HxD is a carefully designed and fast hex editor, seems more current.
Make a thumb drive that is bootable to Ubuntu.
For constantly updated info on this, check out
Directory Opus, it feels like half of your computer is always with you.
Maybe take a look on Framakey which is a compilation of modified program to use them on a USB stick.
It currently includes :
- OpenOffice.org 2.0b
The Computer Repair Utility Kit that Technibble put together has most of the essential tools you'd need. It's been designed so that the tools can run from a USB drive. Unfortunately, they no longer distribute the toolkit themselves, but you can probably find a copy elsewhere.
Technibble also has lots of reviews of sysadmin tools.
I'd say having a bootable WinPE image is crucial for desktop/server support.
Far manager, of course, besides the stuff other mentioned. It is like Total Commander, but what is interesting about it is that it is a Windows console application - but it displays full UI.