Troubleshooting Tools for Everyone's Budget
With some free troubleshooting tools, you definitely get much more than you pay for.
I liked your earlier tips on using Netperf and the
Windows password reset CD. Both of those tools were within my budget,
and I was hoping that you could recommend some similar troubleshooting
tools for general purpose network troubleshooting.
Kevin, first I must say that I think your "budget" is similar
to that of several other administrators out there. I think that Netperf
and the Windows password reset CD fell within your budget because they
were free. Each of these tools had been described earlier in my "Bottleneck
Battle" and "Admin
Since there are hundreds of different tools out there, I can't talk about
them all here. So instead I'll start some of the tools that I've gotten
the most mileage out of over the years.
For starters, one of my favorite general purpose troubleshooting tools
is the Ultimate Boot
CD. This tool includes the Offline
NT Password & Registry Editor boot disk and countless other tools.
So in addition to gaining access to a system in the event of a lost or
forgotten password, you can also use the CD tools for:
- Memory testing
- Disk partition resizing
- Disk cloning
- Hard disk diagnostics
- CPU performance testing
- System benchmarking
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The Ultimate Boot CD ISO image is 140MB in size, but can be downloaded
as an 83MB self-extracting zipped executable. While there are some other
boot CDs out there, I chose to stick with the Ultimate Boot CD because
it's completely legal. Some other CDs that you can get online have illegally
licensed content, so I'm not pointing them out in an effort to keep my
job for at least another week.
Another set of tools that you should look at are the countless troubleshooting
tools available at Sysinternals.com.
Filemon and Regmon are excellent tools for viewing file and Registry activity
in real time. I also like PsTools for network troubleshooting and system
maintenance. If I continue with my commercial for Sysinternals tools,
your eyes will probably start to glaze over, so I'll quit while I'm ahead.
The Sysinternals web site is sponsored by Winternals, which like many
software vendors might have studied marketing from some expert crack dealers.
They lure you in with the free Sysinternals tools ("Come on! Give
'em a try! You'll love them!") and when you're looking for a better
troubleshooting fix, they're there to sell you the Winternals tools.
I, for one, am an admitted Winternals addict. I was lured in by Sysinternals
freeware and soon lined up for the Winternals Administrator's Pak. The
Administrator's Pak is loaded with tools that you'll soon wonder how you
ever lived without. While it retails for $499, I've found the time saved
by using Admin Pak tools to be well worth the price of the software.
While the Ultimate Boot CD and the Sysinternals freeware tools should
give you a good start on the road to better network troubleshooting, there
are plenty of other excellent tools out there to help you along the way.
If I didn't mention your favorite tool, please tell other readers about
it by mentioning it as a comment to this article.