Ten freeware tools for administrators

One of Desktop Management expert Serdar Yegulalp's missions is to scout out the best freeware utilities out there to help out his fellow systems administrators and Windows power users. Here he recommends 10 of these tools.

Desktop management expert Serdar Yegulalp writes about administrative tools for SearchWinSystems.com. He regularly focuses on freeware utilities. Here is a compilation of ten freeware tools he has recently written about. He also regularly answers questions from readers.

#1 - Freeware tool lets admins analyze all drives in a system
A freeware tool called WinDirStat visually maps content and directories of all drives in a system to help admins see what types of files are taking up space.

#2 - Freeware easily retrieves network adapter data
The tools built into Microsoft Windows for retrieving network adapter information have limitations. Administrators will find more functionality in a new freeware tool.

#3 - Freeware recovers lost Microsoft product keys
If you lose the product key for your Microsoft Windows or Office software, a new freeware utility can help you recover it.

#4 - Freeware helps admins monitor Windows log files in real time
Administrators who want to watch the progress of a log as new entries are written to it can use a utility called tail. Until now, there was no tail utility for Windows, but now a freeware version is available.

#5 - Utility helps admins explore global assembly cache
Microsoft provides its own tools for browsing the global assembly cache in Microsoft .NET, but a freeware utility from NirSoft lets administrators explore it in greater detail.

#6 - Recover data from unreadable CD/DVD-ROMs
CDs and DVDs don't last forever. If something goes wrong on one of your CDs or DVDs, you'll want to know -- or, better yet, have a way to recover the data. The freeware utility CDCheck performs error-checking on removable media of all kinds, but, specifically, on recordable media such as CD-R and DVD+/-R/W.

#7 - Utility installs, uninstalls apps packaged in .zip files
Most applications come with an installation mechanism; others come packaged as a single executable file in a .zip archive. To deal with this, NirSoft created a utility called ZipInstaller that installs and uninstalls applications that lack a formal installer.

#8 - Utility deletes 'undeletable' Registry keys
REGEDIT is a useful tool if all you want to do is make one quick change to the Windows Registry. But if you have to delete a Registry key with an embedded null character in its name, you'll need to turn to an auxiliary utility.

#9 - Freeware detects insecure wireless networks
If not properly secured, wireless networking can be a loophole through which hijackers can gain free network access. NetStumbler, a free utility, helps network admins determine if a wireless network is insecure or just lacking in signal strength.

#10 - Freeware maps hard drives to help you find giant files
Graphic maps of hard drives are a good way to see what's using up space on given volumes.

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