Mega List of Tips, Tools, Books, Blogs, and More...
Hello IT Pro,
Welcome to another IT Pro Tuesday! The week we’ve done one of our quarterly roundups, a megalist for those who may have missed an issue somewhere along the line.
As always, we have to state that we don’t have an affiliation with any of the brands listed below unless we state otherwise.
This popular app is free of charge and designed to make it even easier and quicker to develop your API. You get the following features:
You can save your history of previous requests
Unlimited tests, sharing, environments and collections
Mock servers and collection runners to enable more accurate tests
A powerful GUI
The Microsoft Sysinternals Suite
Save this link if you’d like one convenient reference for all Microsoft’s utilities. You’ll find all the files tools you need for troubleshooting and all of the help files too. On the downside, you don’t get tools for other applications such as NotMyFault. Still, it’s an excellent resource and we’re grateful to azers for the heads up.
Do you need a simple tool to complement the Robocopy command-line utility? Then RichCopy could be useful to you. It was created by Derk Bensich, an engineer at Microsoft, to give Robocopy a graphical interface.
Windows Update MiniTool
Let’s be honest, Windows updates can be a pain at times. The Windows Update MiniTool gives you a lot more control over those updates. It makes it easy to search for the ones you feel are relevant, install what you choose and block the others.
This interesting app creates a graphic representation of your disk, which makes it easy to pick up folders or files that are space hogs. It doesn’t need to be installed - it can run straight from a USB drive. Hats off to mikedopp for this great tip.
This utility makes it easy to create a bootable live USB drive. It will work across several Linux distributions, including Ubuntu. Thanks Gianks for telling us about this tip.
If you’d like more functionality from your clipboard, you’ll want to check out CopyQ. This keeps track of your standard clipboard and sorts the different data types under customized labels. You can easily sort through the information and paste it directly to the application you want. This tip came from majkinetor.
If you like to keep an eye on how Windows is performing, Desktop Info is going to prove useful for you. It allows you an overview of all your Windows metrics on the desktop. The desktop image updates regularly so that you have up to date stats. Mikedopp recommended this one because it’s effective and uses very few system resources.
This helps you assess the health of your system. What makes Healthstone special is that you can customize the health checks according to your needs. It’s low on resources, self-hosted and runs on Linux or Windows. Customize your dashboard so you receive notifications in the most convenient format for you.
The system is simple to use and customize. We tip our hats to mikedopp again for this tip.
This is another great utility that allows you to create a bootable USB drive. For you speedfreaks out there, it’s much faster than Universal USB Installer, The Windows 7 utility and UNetbootin if you’re using an ISO to create an installation drive for Windows 7.
It’s also a little faster when you’re using an ISO to create an installation drive for Linux. This application works with BIOS/UEFI and MRB/GPT. Gianks was first to the post with this tip, but there have been a few others who recommended it as well.
This tool set consists of ten tools—all free—that are ideal for scanning and monitoring your network. DollarMindy brought this one to our attention. You get:
Netwatch: Allows you to use different hosts and monitor response times.
Wintools: Allows you to edit your registers remotely, gives an event log for Windows, a useful overview of all services and processes, custom queries, CPU/RAM/HDD details
Network port and service scanner
NetCheck: Check the hardware and the quality of wiring
NetStat: Lists the open ports and the connections coming in and out.
TCP/IP workshop and SNMP browser
Lookup: For WHOIS and DNS information
Local info: Presented in convenient tables, includes your TCP/UDP statistics
MediCat USB offers a troubleshooting environment that features Windows and Linux troubleshooting tools and boot environments. This was brought to our attention by Spikerman, and it makes remote troubleshooting a lot simpler.
MobaXterm offers you a better way of managing remote terminals on your network. You get all the primary tools you’d expect and Unix commands as well. The difference is that all your tools are available from your Windows desktop.
It’s simple plug-and-play software. Try out the free version to get a taste of whether or not the software works for you. Lazylion_ca gave us this great tip.
This tool gives you a simple graphical representation of your hard drive, so you can see at a glance how the disk is being used. You receive a list of the extensions and how much space they’re using. We got this tip for ohyeahwell.
This tool has been designed for admins. It allows you to disable and enable protocols, hashes and ciphers allows administrators to enable or disable protocols, ciphers, key exhange algorithms and hashes. It works with Windows Server 2008, 2012 and 2016. Possibly the most-useful aspect of this program is that it allows you to use one click to implement the best practices, test your site and create your own templates.
EOTFOFFTW likes this tool for configuring SSL setting with Windows servers.
This is another tool that makes your clipboard more useful. Ditto makes it possible to save any items you've placed on the clipboard. It sorts whatever data you might have and makes it simple to search for saved information. Arkiteck gave us this great tip.
There is no better program for the removal of malware. It offers a range of scanning options and runs automatic updates daily. Offers protection from:
It offers one of the best defense solutions. You can stick to the basic free account or upgrade to the paid version for the full benefits.
Termius has been designed for the server manager on the go. It gives you a total command-line solution and portable server management. It will work with both Linux and UNIX - for both remote and local computers.
It’s a cross-platform solution and can be used to easily correct issues using your phone or laptop. Blendelabor is the one that suggested this tip.
WSUS Offline Update
This tool allows for the offline installation and secure patching of Windows and Office systems. You’ll need to download the updates via a system connected to the internet and then you save the updates to your USB drive. That makes it simple to install on all computers as necessary. Thanks mikedopp once again.
This rescue disk will restore your Linux system if it crashes. You’ll be able to run the utility to access your system and data if the system crashes. Save it to a disk, USB drive or directly to the hard drive. It contains a lot of system utilities and a wide range of useful tools. Also works on Windows.
KiTTY is an alternative to PuTTY. Think of it as PuTTY on steroids. It boldly goes where no PuTTY clients can. We’d list the features here, but that would be a long list. Check it out for yourself, we think you’ll like it.
This Windows app is an open-source solution that allows you to integrate ping and traceroute utilities into one simple tool. Generalmx gave us this great tip.
SSL Labs SSL Server Test
Head over to this site to run a deep scan on your SSL web server’s configuration. The service is free and fast. Just type in your hostname and hit submit for a detailed report.
Would you like a simpler way to create org charts and flowcharts? Then check out Draw.io. This is a free app that you run from your browser. You also have the option to integrate with your cloud storage provider.
This tool helps you ensure you’re compliant with a range of different standards, including:
It will also check for third-party content that is less than secure; subdomain SSL certificates that have expired and also the implementation of DKIM, DMARCH and SPF email servers. Pixl_graphix provided the heads up on this one.
Head over to this site if you want to quickly test your browser’s security configuration. It’s quick and easy and a great tip from Already__Taken.
Use this command line tool to check a server’s service over several ports. It tests protocols, TLS/SSL ciphers and many other things besides. It’s simple, free and you don’t need any external services, according to stuck_in_the_tubes.
Use the shortcut Win + R and open \\live.sysinternals.com\tools. It will work with any system running Windows and shares all the tools that Microsoft hosts. Jedieaston, the force will be with you for sharing this tip.
Control + r will bring up a name/command lookup function from your bash history. It’s autocomplete function comes in extremely handy in finding matches.
If you’ve ever wanted to explore the dark side, check out this podcast. You’ll learn about the exploits of real-life hackers, botnets, malware and more. The stories are presented by security expert Jack Rhysider and are fascinating. Unarj gave us the tip for this interesting podcast.
This podcast is short and sweet. It’s on every day and runs for ten minutes at the most. It’s a great way to keep up to date on the latest threats. It’s technically rich content without a bunch of annoying waffling. It’s perfect for your morning commute.
Microsoft Cloud IT Pro
This podcast delves deeper into the world of Office 365, with smatterings of information on Azure. The hosts, Ben and Scot, are knowledgeble about Office 365, Azure and SharePoint.
This podcast is for data center managers and those involved in infrastructural development. Keep track of recent developments in the world of the cloud, virtualization, storage, networking, convergence and storage.
This podcast is a mishmash of the latest news and best practices related to Microsoft Cloud tech. The hosts, Chris Goosen, Warren du Toit and Nicolas Blank interview experts and thought leaders in the cloud arena.
This podcast airs weekly and offers great insight into the security industry. Learn about the latest updates and catch interviews with top experts in the field. Patrick Gray, the host, is an award-winning journalist and well worth subscribing to.
If you’re a systems engineer, you’ll want to check out this podcast. It covers systems engineering, automation, networking and DevOps. There’ll also often be interesting soundbytes about security and software development. The style is casual and simple to understand.
Get Started in PowerShell3
This tutorial is presented in an easy-to-follow video format. It’s aimed at the beginner and so focuses on a general introduction to PowerShell3. It’s not going to make you an expert overnight, but it is a good place to start. It was recommended to us by FireLucid.
This site provides simple, clearly written tips and assistance for those using Windows, Office and a lot more besides. Just post your dilemma with Windows 7 and later versions, Office and Surface on the forum. You’ll get your answer quickly enough.
Deeperdownunder recommended this site for assistance and news.
Learn X in Y Minutes
This site is a valuable resource if you want to find syntax for the main progamming languages. The site is driven by a very enthusiastic and helpful community. Not only did ssebs let us know about the site, but they also provided us with the following shortcuts.
This site is a resource every sysadmin should bookmark. You’ll find calculators, tools, resources and a range of useful links. LateralLimey made this great recommendation.
This site is an excellent resource if you want to understand how the latest technology works. The tech is explained in simple terms that anyone can understand, with plenty to keep even the geekiest reader happy.
This tip was brought to us by _deftoner_. This site offers a complete guide on Windows security events. It’s also useful if you want an audit online. You can see how the events link together and review the efficacy of solutions you’ve put forward.
The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
This book is interesting if you’re running an IT department. IT managers will recognize many of the challenges the protagonist faces as his department was practically in tatters, when he's given three months to turn things around. If he doesn't succeed, the IT department will be outsourced. Sp002n_b3nd3r recommended this highly entertaining read.
UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, 5th Edition
This book is best described as a complete guide for sysadmins. It’s been written by experts working in the industry. You get practical tips and advice covering every aspect of sysadmin you can think of.
Taming Information Technology: Lessons from Studies of System Administrators
Thank you to AngryMountainBiker for suggesting this book. This fascinating read explains the important lessons the authors discovered as they studied sysadmins over a period of time. The examples are extremely interesting. This livens up the pace of what might otherwise have been a very dry read.
Learn Active Directory Management in a Month of Lunches
This book is a no-nonsense guide for those just starting out with Active Directory. It offers practical advice in simple terms that help you take your skills to the intermediate level. You’ll learn about admin tasks that allow the network to run smoothly and also how to administer Active Directory from PowerShell or through the Window’s in-built GUI tools.
Sans Digital Forensics and Incident Response Cheat Sheets
The Cheat Sheets on this site cover incident response. You’ll find:
Sans DFIR really did a great job, so do go over and have a look.
Ned Pyle’s Blog
This blog was created by the Directory Services Team at Microsoft. Ned Pyle no longer maintains an active presence, but there’s still a wealth of information to draw on. Thanks for the heads up, Azers.
Happy SysAdm has been providing resources, solutions and tips for system administrators since 2010. The blog is written by a Senior Systems Administrator with close to 15 years experience in designing, scripting, monitoring and performance-tuning Microsoft environments going all the way back to Windows 3.1/95/NT4.
Stephanos Constantinou’s Blog
This blog is another valuable resource. The author has listed all his original scripts for:
Microsoft Active Directory
Microsoft Exchange On-Premise
He shares plenty of useful tips and tricks. Have a look at the excellent PowerShell tutorials too.
That’s all for this week. See you at the same time and same place next week. And please keep those tips coming in.
Graham | CEO | EveryCloud
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