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Tech Talk Live Blog

Geek Speak – Tools That Can Make Your Job Easier

Brian Steigauf


Systems Administrators are always looking for some new tool that makes them more productive and their job easier. Some of the tools may even prevent unwanted downtime from accidentally restarting the wrong server!

WinDirStat – https://windirstat.info

WinDirStat is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for Windows Operating Systems. WinDirStat will analyze a disk volume and show what directories are using the most space, as well as where large files reside. It is very helpful to quickly determine why a drive filled up very quickly, so files can be purged or moved.

Mandiant Highlighter – https://www.mandiant.com/resources/download/highlighter

Mandiant Highlighter is a log viewing application for Windows that can open very large log files. Two features that make the application so useful are the histogram view and filtering options. The histogram view displays a “zoomed out” view of the entire log file and provides a visual for usage patterns. Anomalies to normal log entries become readily apparent. For example, a SQL injection attempt against a web server would stand out when compared to the normal GET requests, as SQL injections attempt commands are, typically, extremely lengthy. The filtering feature allows the administrator to filter out “good” entries and focus in on the other entries.

SysInternals-BgInfo – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897557.aspx

BgInfo is a simple tool that is configured to run on any Windows system at login and sets the desktop background with relevant information about the computer into which you are logged. Information can include the system name, operating system version, IP address/es, memory, last boot time, volume information (including free space), and many others. The tool only runs at login, sets the desktop background, and exits, so no resources are used after login. It is a great, simple tool for the administrator that jumps from host to host or has multiple RDP sessions opened at the same time.

Watch Brian’s complete Tech Talk Live roundtable, Geek Speak – Favorite Tips, Tricks, and Utilities, here.​​

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