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Sysinternals tools now available on the fly

IT administrators can now access Microsoft's free Sysinternals diagnostic tools via a new service being tested by the vendor.

Microsoft is testing a service that gives IT managers anywhere access to all the free Sysinternals diagnostic and troubleshooting utilities from any machine connected to the Internet.

IT administrators no longer need to download and unzip the tools.

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 They can run them from any Web location, said Mark Russinovich, a technical fellow with Microsoft who created the toolset.

Microsoft bought the popular troubleshooting utilities from Russinovich back in 2006. Russinovich and his team continue to develop new tools and deliver updates for such popular tools as Process Monitor and Process Explorer.

Down the road, Russinovich said it is unclear if the service called Sysinternals Live will become a primary delivery vehicle for the tools since his team is just now trying to figure out the best way to make the IT community aware of the new site.

Even with word just getting out, IT administrators can see how the Web-based file share service will come in handy.

Clyde Johnson, for example, like many systems administrators is not likely to be at his keyboard all day.

"What if you're not at your machine? You have to walk around with everything in your head or get on the Internet for information," said Johnson, senior network and systems administrator with HCC Aegis Inc., a New Bedford, Mass.-based environment equipment manufacturer. "Being up on the Internet, you can run the [Sysinternals] tools from any machine you use and not have to remember where the [tool] downloads are or where they're running."

Others are not so sure the service will make much of a difference to their daily routine. "[Sysinternals] tools are such a small download, so it doesn't really do anything for me," said Bob Williamson, IT manager of law firm Eisenhower & Carlson PLLC out of Tacoma, Wash., referring to the ability to easily download the tools to whatever machine you happen to be on.

The service and tools are free, but Johnson questions if that will remain the case. "Microsoft doesn't do anything for free.…they'll eventually try to make money on this," he said.

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