Over the years I’ve developed a toolkit of utilities to help make my job of being an Information Technology professional easier. I’d like to share my list of tools and perhaps hear about some new ones that I don’t yet know about. This is work in progress so please don’t hate me if I missed something obvious.
I’ve broken this page into two categories, freeware tools and commercial tools and/or applications.
Vim is a highly configurable text editor built to enable efficient text editing. It is an improved version of the vi editor distributed with most UNIX systems. There’s nothing worse than trying to open a 100+ MB log file with Microsoft Word or Notepad only to have it hang the system on you. Vim is a great tool that can easily and quickly open the largest files possible. It also supports a myriad of program languages so it can mark up your code as your type.
WinSCP is an open source free SFTP client and FTP client for Windows. Its main function is the secure file transfer between a local and a remote computer. Beyond this, WinSCP offers basic file manager functionality. It uses Secure Shell (SSH) and supports, in addition to Secure FTP, also legacy SCP protocol.
Filezilla is a free FTP solution available in both client and server packages. Filezilla supports FTP proxy servers and it extremely useful when operating a FTP client from behind an FTP proxy appliance.
TCPView is a Windows program that will show you detailed listings of all TCP and UDP endpoints on your system, including the local and remote addresses and state of TCP connections. On Windows Server 2008, Vista, NT, 2000 and XP TCPView also reports the name of the process that owns the endpoint. TCPView provides a more informative and conveniently presented subset of the Netstat program that ships with Windows.
Wireshark is the world’s foremost network protocol analyzer, and is the de facto (and often de jure) standard across many industries and educational institutions. Wireshark was born from Ethereal, which I still use since Wireshark doesn’t yet support CAPWAP, WISP or WISPe protocols. If your looking for the version of Ethereal that supports CAPWAP, WISP and WISP you can download it from my website: wisp-ethereal-setup-0.10.14.exe.
Here are some ports of common GNU utilities to native Win32. In this context, native means the executables do only depend on the Microsoft C-runtime (msvcrt.dll) and not an emulation layer like that provided by Cygwin tools.
A free web browser designed by the folks at the Mozilla foundation. It’s a great alternative to Internet Explorer with hundreds if not thousands of add-on applets. I personally use Firefox for my daily web surfing outside of work. I also use a number of Greasemonkey scripts that enhance my web surfing experience.
VLC media player is a highly portable multi player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, …) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.
PuTTY is a free implementation of Telnet and SSH for Win32 and Unix platforms, along with an
xterm terminal emulator. PuTTY even supports connecting to serial ports so you can use it to configure those network switches and routers.
UltraVNC is a powerful, easy to use and free software that can display the screen of another computer (via internet or network) on your own screen. The program allows you to use your mouse and keyboard to control the other PC remotely. It means that you can work on a remote computer, as if you were sitting in front of it, right from your current location. If you provide computer support, you can quickly access your customer’s computers from anywhere in the world and resolve helpdesk issues remotely ! With addons like SingleClick your customers don’t even have to pre-install software or execute complex procedures to get remote helpdesk support.
AxCrypt – Personal Privacy and Security with AES-128 File Encryption and Compression for Windows 2000/2003/XP/Vista. Double-click to automatically decrypt and open documents. Store strong keys on removable USB-devices.
Tftpd32 is a fantastic tool from Philippe JOUNIN that is a must have for any network engineer. Tftpd32 includes a DHCP, TFTP, SNTP and Syslog server as well as a TFTP client. I’ve used Tftpd32 dozens of times to upgrade switches and routers from my laptop. Thanks Philippe!
GNS3 is a graphical network simulator that allows simulation of complex networks. GNS 3 utilizes Dynamips, the core program that allows Cisco IOS emulation, Dynagen, a text-based front-end for Dynamips and Qemu, a generic and open source machine emulator and virtualizer. GNS3 allows engineers to test (simulate) the design of high quality and complex network topologies, allowing the emulation of many Cisco IOS routers, IPS, PIX and ASA firewalls. Not to mention the support of Juniper’s JunOS routers.
WildPackets OmniPeek is a great commercial packet sniffer and very cost effective compared to some other commercial solutions. OmniPeek has matured greatly over the years evolving out of EtherPeek and GigaPeek and today offering a great amount of features and protocol decodes include remote packet monitoring and capture.