IT Pro Tuesday #42
Mega List of Tips, Tools, Books, Blogs & More...
It’s time for this week’s IT Pro Tuesday! As always, we have to state that we don’t have any affiliation with any of the brands listed below unless we say otherwise.
In this mega edition, we’re rounding up our most useful tips to date.
This open-source platform allows you to access your preferred software on the move. You’ll sync it to the cloud storage service of your choice, store it on your PC’s drive or put it on an external storage device like a USB drive. This makes this it easy to take your apps with you when moving between different work areas. The platform allows you to access several different freeware and open-source programs. It also supports commercial software.
Netcat is a Linux-based utility for network admins. It makes it possible to read or write data across a network connection. The data is transmitted using UDP or TCP. It’s extremely useful for monitoring your network, testing it, and sending data through it.
The features included are, amongst others:
Necrowerx gave us this top tip.
Are you looking for an alternative to Launchy? Then Keypirinha may well be it. If you need to supercharge Window’s load speed, this tool offers customization options that Launchy can’t match. Thanks DrnZxz for letting us know about this outstanding tip.
This tool is designed to make screen capturing and the sharing of files easier. Stesha83 recommended it as a life-changing productivity tool.
Censys lets you search for and monitor any web-connected server. It allows you to see which devices on your network are exposed and where you need to shore up security. Videoflyguy recommends this software because it updates in real-time. The basic account allows you to run ten searches a day for free. If you need to run more than that, you’ll have to upgrade your account.
Cuckoo Sandbox was recommended to us by NerdBlender, and we can see why. This is a sophisticated system that allows you to analyze malware safely. It is able to analyze any suspicious files and can scan sites that run under different kinds of software to see if they contain malware.
Another useful feature is that it allows you to trace API calls. It runs it’s analysis and distills the important security information, like signatures. You’re also able to monitor and network traffic and analyze that as well.
The Lazy Administrator Tool
This tool makes it simpler to create new users for Office 365 and Active Directory. It makes the process automatic to save you time. You can use it for your full range of clients. It’s simple to use and extremely useful.
Netwrix Account Lockout Examiner
This tool notifies you when a user has been locked out of Active Directory. It is particularly useful for troubleshooting accounts that are consistently locked. It runs off your PC or through the mobile app, which makes it useful when you’re on the go and need to unlock an account.
Thanks tGasMaskt for this great tip.
PuTTY is a telnet and SSH client. It’s open source and was initially intended to be used on the platform Windows was building. The software has an active community of volunteers who are developing other useful applications.
Security Onion was suggested to us by NameThatIMadeUp. It’s a valuable Linux-based security tool. It:
Monitors for signs of intrusion
Helps you monitor the security of the company
Assist with log management
The setup guide takes you through the steps to create your own customized set of servers. It also has a range of security tools like Logstash and CyberChef built into it.
Your Universal Multiboot Installer was recommended to us by videoflyguy, and he’s hit another home run. If you need to create a bootable flash drive with a number of programs on it, this program will do the trick. It will work across a wide range of programs. YUMI takes a different approach in that it makes use of syslinux to boot distributions on the USB drive. This approach enables you to install a number of different ISOs onto the same drive.
Snappy Driver Installer Origin
This software will make your life simpler when it comes to installing or updating drivers for Windows XP and up. It can be run from a flash drive and can be set to automatically update drivers. Oh, and best of all - it’s free.
This tool makes managing IT assets and inventory simple. It works with Windows-based systems and is simple to use. It makes it easy to see which user is using which devices. Chess_Not_Checkers says that it’s a tool that he can’t live without. You get a full 20 days to try it out. If you want to continue using it after that, you’ll have to buy it.
If you’re looking for a lightening fast search utility, Listary might fit the bill. It will work on Windows-based systems and speeds up app launching and finding or relocating files. It’s light on system resources and will integrate with various tools. jelloeater 85 gets a big shout out here for telling us about this tool.
This software makes managing your SSH sessions a lot easier. It has clever navigation tools and a range of keyboard shortcuts. These allow you to start a new session or switch over to another easily, so it doesn’t matter if you have more than one system to manage. Thanks to Specific_West for this suggestion.
This tool allows you to spring clean your Active Directory domain easily. If you need to clear out orphaned users, then this tool is perfect. Just input the search parametres, and from there, identify accounts you want to remove, move or delete. Nachomountain gets a big thank you for this tip.
Advanced IP Scanner
If there’s a more user-friendly network scanner out there, we don’t know about it. This program lists any device on your LAN. Use it to access folders that have been shared with you and for remote control of computers (via RDP and Radmin). dRaidon likes it for those times when you can’t access nmap.
This tool detects security issues in your Active Directory. It not only lists issues but gives you idea on how to correct them. SysAdmineral recommended it as a way of testing whether there are small security issues that could cause big problems later.
16 Powershell Modules
If you want information straight from the source, it doesn’t get much better than 16 Powershell Modules.This software contains many of the best tools that PowerShell architect Przemyslaw Klys has created.
PSWinReporting: To monitor changes to Active Directory. A report is provided showing all the changes that have been made.
PS WriteWord: If you don’t have Word installed, but need a Word document, this tool can help.
According to thenewimprovedhankp, Wifi Analyzer will help you find the best channel to connect up to. It looks for networks that aren’t as busy for you. Works on Android devices.
Jarun Terminal Utilities
Jarun Terminal Utilities is composed of handy Terminal utilities that make it possible to crossover between Terminal functions and a GUI environment. The idea behind the tool is to make it easier for sysadmins working remotely to access and work on their terminals.
There are several tools available including:
One of the smallest file managers we’ve seen. It allows navigation, transfer of files, editing texts and a lot more.
A time-saving Google search tool.
And a whole lot more.
We’d like to thank sablal for the recommendation.
This is another sophisticated piece of software. Speccy provides information about what your PC has under the hood. Choose between a fast summary or a much more detailed report. NoelSlevin told us that this tool is quite useful to keep on hand,
GNU Midnight Commander
Do you prefer working with a visual file manager? Then you’ll love GNU Midnight Commander. It’s packed with useful features that allow you to move, delete or copy individual files or file trees.
BorgClown enjoys using it for complicated directory structures. It’s easy to use and quick.
The Book of Secret Knowledge
This site offers a range of manuals, hacks, blogs, web/CLI tools and lists. If you’re a sysadmin, you’ll want to bookmark this site. We’re grateful to wheybee99 for sending in this tip. Some examples of the things that you’ll find include:
Can I use: Gives you an updated list of what front-end technology the different browsers support
ShellCheck: This tool helps you debug your scripts
The Powershell Cheatsheet Compilation
Prateeksingh1590 sent in this useful link. He also compiled the cheatsheets on this site. There are several cheatsheets available. Most reference Powershell, but there are some others thrown in for good measure.
Brother_bean sent in this useful list of shortcuts.
Click on the Windows Key and:
The directional buttons: Left or right will halve the size of the active window and snap it left or right. Up allows you to go back to fullscreen mode. Down gets to back to your desktop.
M: Allows you to minimize all screens
Shift + directional arrows: Will move the screen to an adjacent monitor.
RegularAlicorn sent in this batch of helpful shortcuts:
Win + Ctrl + D: Creates a virtual desktop
Win + Ctrl + left or right arrow: Switches between the active and virtual desktops.
Ctrl + Shift + Enter: Plug this in from the Start Menu and you’ll be able to open programs with administrator’s privilege.
Win + X: This creates a neat menu to work from.
Here are some of the shortcuts we like to use:
Win + Pause: Opens the system settings
Win + L: Locks the computer
Ctrl + Win + Shift + B: This resets the graphics driver and may save you having to restart altogether if there are docking issues.
UptimeRobot alerts you if any of the sites you are monitoring go down. You choose how often your sites are pinged. When a site doesn’t respond, a message is sent out via your chosen contact method. Orgitnized suggested that we try this one, and we’re glad that he did.
Blacklist Monitor alerts you if any of your domain names or IP addresses have been blacklisted. This gives you a chance to find the source of the issue and start the delisting process fast.
"A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history—with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila." —Mitch Ratcliffe
Sysinternals Video Library
Sysinternals Video Library is a resource that’s a little outdated. That said, there are still a lot of useful troubleshooting information for videos. Many of the tools that they talk about are still the same as they were when the videos were made. As andyinv says, “The basics still apply.”
NixCraft began as a useful resource for sysadmins working with Linux or Unix. Since then, it’s grown into an active community. You’ll find a lot of interesting research into and discussions about open-source software.
Check it out for yourself - there are many resources on this site. And, you’re also able to ask the community for advice if you’re really stuck.
The Deployment Bunny
The Deployment Bunny is another great resource. This one is based on virtualization, OS deployment and infrastructure for Microsoft systems. The site owner, Mikael Nystrom, is a Microsoft MVP and holds a senior position at TrueSec.
Slipstick Systems Outlook and Exchange Solutions Center
This site is the brainchild of Diane Poremsky, an industry expert and Outlook MVP. If you’re an exchange administrator or an outlook user, the resources, tutorials and so on will come in handy. There’s also a forum if you’d like input from the community.
Podnutz Tech Podcast Network
This series of podcasts has been created for the end users of various types of tech. You’ll find topics as diverse as support for Windows through to gaming for Android devices. Speel recommended the site for its straightforward advice.
This podcast is hosted by Carole Theriault and Graham Cluley. They draw on their extensive experience in the cybersecurity industry. The result is a set of interesting discussions on cybercrime, privacy, and hacking. It received the award for “Best Security Podcast of 2018.”
This is another network of podcasts built around the successful, “The Linux Action Show.” You’ll find that a range of topics is discussed as diverse as News and Politics through to open-Ssurce software.
We might just have to call speel the podcast whisperer for alerting us to this site.
This podcast is hosted by Leo Laporte and Steve Gibson. They cover the hot-button issues in cybersecurity. Gibson coined the term “spyware” and offered the first program to defeat it. Laporte has extensive experience in the tech media industry. The result is a dynamite podcast every Tuesday.
This podcast is centred on sysadmins within the Microsoft stable of products. It’s aired once a week on Wednesday. Richard Campbell, the host, interviews a new industry expert every week. Thanks johnjohnjohn87 for this tip.
This podcast aims to teach you how to get the best out of your Sysinternals tools. The episodes feature a different tool or aspect of that tool each week. You get an in-depth explanation of how to use the tool and what it’s good for. Thanks to Phil4real for this outstanding tip.
The Case of the Unexplained
This webcast is drawn from TechEd sessions presented by Mark Russinovich. It deals with the most-difficult problems you may encounter with Windows and other apps that us Sysinternals or similar tools. Every episode gives you a few different ways to troubleshoot these issues. Thanks bagaudin for recommending this one.
Jigsaw Google Phishing Quiz
In our opinion, everyone should take this quiz, and we recommend sharing it with anyone you’re working with. It’ll help you assess how good you are at determining if an email is legitimate. It’s interesting - some of these examples look like the real deal. You’ll also get advice on recognizing the tell-tale signs of a scam.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
This book is not specifically related to sysadmins or IT Pros. It does, however, give advice on building your focus when it comes to tasks that require intense concentration. It’s an excellent book that can be applied across a lot of disciplines.
PowerShell in Depth, 2nd Edition
This book should be required reading for anyone who works with PowerShell. The authors, Jeffrey Hicks, Richard Siddaway and Don Jones are all PowerShell MVPs. This is for the intermediate to advanced user. There’s a ton of information on just about every PowerShell question you might have.
Pro SQL Server Internals, 2nd Ed.
This book was written for database admins and developers who want to leverage SQL Server. You’ll learn how to track down the cause of issues, instead of just having to use quick patches. If you’re an intermediate user of SQL, this will advance your skills to the advanced level. Thanks become_taintless for this recommendation.
Information Security Policy Templates
This set of templates was originally created to assist those attending SANS courses. They’ve since been made available to all. Bfrd9k suggested them because they don’t require a lot of tweaking to make them useful.
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Blog
This blog is the brainchild of Charles Parker, who has extensive industry experience in systems deployment. He shares the experience he’s gained over the last 15 or so years in the industry working on Microsoft-based systems.
This blog by Andrea Mauro centres on storage, cloud and virtualization. Mauro is a systems architect, administrator and virtualization professional who is alsoa university lecturer and highly sought after trainer in this area. I
Techbunny: Random Thoughts About Tech
This blog is administered by Jennelle Crothers, who uses her 15 years of experience as a systems administrator to create a valuable resource for other sysadmins. She’s passionate about Microsoft and will help you get the best performance out of their systems.
The Practical Sysadmin
This blog is the creation of Josh Reichardt, who specializes in building simple systems that are easy to scale up in size. He shares his knowledge in the blog and also covers a lot of other topics related to tech. He’s got extensive experience in building distributed systems and in making infrastructure simpler through coding automation.
Adam the Automator
This blog is run by Adam Bertram, a Microsoft Powershell MVP who started an innovative technology company, TechSnips. The focus of the blog is on DevOPs, scripting and automating various functions through software.
This tech blog focuses on Microsoft Azure Infrastructure. It’s been going since 2006, so there is information on a range of different versions covering:
ShyAwayFromLight gets the kudos for finding this little gem.
Shit Sales People Say
This Twitter account is something that all sysadmins and developers working with a sales team can relate to. Kenelbow recommended it to us as a fun way to pass a few minutes. If you thought your sales team made unrealistic promises to clients, you haven’t seen anything yet.
A bit of fun, compliments of SonOfDadOfSam:
A programmer is going to the store.
His wife says, "Get a loaf of bread—and if they have eggs, get a dozen."
The guy comes back with 12 loaves of bread.
His wife says, "Why did you buy so much bread?"
He says, "They had eggs."
Thanks to CoilDomain, figfigworkwork and wagodago for these clever jokes that most people will never understand:
I'd tell you a joke about UDP, but you probably wouldn't get it.
A TCP packet walks into a bar and says, "I'd like a beer."
The bartender replies, "You want a beer?"
The TCP packet replies, "Yes, I'd like a beer."
An SQL statement walks into a bar and sees two tables.
It approaches and asks, "May I join you?"
Graham | CEO | EveryCloud