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More free tools coming under Sysinternals brand

Look for Sysinternals to expand its lineup of free Windows tools and add others from the Microsoft Download Center.

ORLANDO -- Microsoft may have morphed FileMon and RegMon into a single tool, but the Sysinternals line is doing anything but shrinking.

With the caveat that nothing is set in stone, Sysinternals senior program manager Otto Helweg said other sets of tools such as the Resource Tool Kit for Windows Server 2008, among others, are going to get the full Sysinternals ease-of-use treatment.

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"We are going to take tools like the Resource Kit tools for Longhorn, support tools and [Microsoft employee] internally submitted tools, scrub them and put them under the Sysinternals brand and single executable workflow," Helweg said during a session at TechEd 2007 here this week.

The Sysinternals team will also be cleaning up "orphan tools" from the Microsoft Download Center and centralizing them under Sysinternals, he said.

IT managers can expect to see a new set of free tools in the next six months. One particular area of focus will be networking, Helweg said.

Karl Amber, Web server engineer for Fidelity (FMR Corp.), said he has been using Sysinternals PSExec tools for years but would like to see the same simplicity in the form of Sysinternals networking tools. "The [Sysinternals] tools are useful, but when my signal is slow and a message pops up telling me it's a network problem, it's a guessing game," Amber said.

Ever since Microsoft bought Sysinternals about a year ago, IT managers have benefited from the company's deep pockets and engineering staff, said Christopher Hoscheid, senior systems engineer for TekLinks in Homeland, Ala.

"If they take the knowledge from back-end Microsoft guys and all those non-supported tools out there and put it under the Sysinternals format, we could get triple the amount of tools we have [access to] now," Hoscheid said. "That's a heck of an upgrade from the days of just [Mark Russinovich], and the tools were great then anyway."

"The tools will continue to be free, and we will not use them as a carrot to sell something else," Helweg said.

One thing that has changed since Microsoft took over ownership of the popular tool set is licensing -- a change that has Derek Weigel, IT manager at a large hardware company in Santa Clara, Calif., breathing a sigh of relief.

"Before we had to register every single machine, and now we can use enterprise-level licensing to do it once," Weigel said.

Before, IT managers had to license and pay for a certain number of tools for a certain number of machines. "Now you can use as many copies as you want without any charges or having to deal with a lot of licenses," Helweg said.

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