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5 additions to your network admin toolkit

5 tools for network admins

IT support calls are a hidden cost within your business. As your team ‘fights fires’, important maintenance work and future development plans are placed on hold. The here-and-now has a serious impact on the future.

These five tools will help you keep on top of support calls, giving you a little extra time to deal with all those other IT issues that are fighting for your attention!

1. Systems Lizard Remote Process Explorer

When running a busy helpdesk, you know that minimising desk-side visits helps keep your efficiency rates up. Particularly when many of these calls take mere seconds to resolve.

Remote Process Explorer allows you to connect to a remote PC and view all of the information available in Task Manager. You can then start and stop services remotely, often fixing the problem without needing direct intervention by one of your support technicians. And if the problem is ‘unrecoverable’ you can also remotely reboot the machine.

2. Ontrack EasyRecovery Enterprise

As handy as traditional backups are, they are prone to occasional failure, and recovery often takes an inordinate amount of time for a handful of files. Ontrack EasyRecovery allows you recover deleted files from PCs, laptops and servers in a fraction of the time.

Ontrack EasyRecovery can also be used to recover data when your usual backup regime fails. Best of all, many of the tools can be used remotely, further reducing the time required to recover deleted data.

3. PowerShell Scriptomatic

Windows PowerShell provides a useful way to interface common Windows settings on individual PCs. PowerShell Scriptomatic provides a point-and-click to build these scripts so that anyone with even the most limited knowledge of WMI functions can create automated scripts.

Using Scriptomatic you can then build network-wide scripts to perform global configuration changes quickly and easily. Best of all, Scriptomatic is completely free.

4. Belarc Advisor

In the event that you manage a small network without a proper centralised admin console, Belarc Advisor can scan individual PCs, generating a report of useful machine data. Each scan gives you details about the hardware – including RAM configurations – and software. If you use OEM software, Belarc Advisor can even recover serial numbers and CD keys.

All reports are generated in HTML format, so you can add them to your IT support knowledgebase relatively easily too.

5. Wireshark

To accurately ascertain the health of your network, you need to know which devices are attached and how much bandwidth they are using. Wireshark provides all the tools you need to inspect network traffic and diagnose problems.

Multi protocol support means you can analyse any portion of your network too, including wired Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth (among others) from a single console. Wireshark is also completely free.

So there you have it – 5 tools to make your life as an IT administrator slightly easier. So what have we missed? Which tools would you recommend to other IT support professionals?

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