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What are your must have tools/programs at work?

#1

Hey All,

I’m starting a new system administrator job soon, and it got me to thinking. In your opinion, what are some must have tools/programs/utilities to install when you’re setting up a new workstation.

Just looking for some general advice on some tools i should keep handy. It’s a primarily
Windows 10 / Server 2012 / Hyper-V environment.

3 Likes

#2

YUMI to make a single USB drive with windows, linux, and various troubleshooting utilities.

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#3

YUMI is awesome, I currently have it setup on a 64GB USB stick with Debian, Ultimate Boot CD, Arch, and Kali on it lol. I keep that on me at all times.

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#4

This is biased for windows of course.
Two things that are an automatic install on any windows machine are notepad++ and 7-zip

Hash Tab is another program I like a lot, also Tablacus Explorer but not for every single machine.

I prefer Rufus over YUMI, but I don’t need installer flash drives all that much so I re-flash pretty much every time.

If you are also administering Linux boxes, Putty and AnyDesk are nice, although Powershell remoteing and remote desktop probably take care of your remote shell+remote gui needs in a Windows only environment.

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#5

Yeah i use notepad++ for task management and taking notes. For some reason i prefer to write scripts in VS Code even though it’s for sure a resource hog.

I’ve never heard of Hash Tab and Tablacus Explorer, I’m going to have to check them out.

I use RDCMan for remote desktop connections. If you haven’t checked it out before, I highly recommend it.

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#6

sysinternals

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#7

TCPView, Procmon, ProcExp and Startups are god sent.

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#8

COMSOL Multiphysics and MATLAB…

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#9

Splunk, and nessus appears to be gaining “must have” traction with me.

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#10

MremoteNG or some other kind of remote session window manager. When I see someone painfully swapping between many full screen RDP or other types of sessions I want to beat them to death with their own monitor. OPTIMIZE THAT WORKFLOW!

Powershell is going to be your best bet. Get good with powershell, remote scripting, creating HTML reports that programs do not provide, running your scripts in jobs and automating deployment. Many windows guys ignore this side of things but most of the new Microsoft GUIs are literally running powershell commands in the background. There are also a lot of GUIs that are missing incredible hidden functionality that exists in the available power shell commands for tons of programs.

The big bonus is you will look better then all the people who “aren’t scripting people” and will gain a new viewpoint on all the technology you work with. No one starts out good in scripting. Just do small things people ask for like pulling drives and viewing data in the beginning and then learn to do small things like adding a drive to a hyper-v vm. As you get more confertble with working in powershell you can import an excel sheet that spins up sets of vms for new builds or even change windows settings remotely on the fly on a few hundreds of servers.

(Sorry if this is preachy but I feel like most IT people are really missing out on some amazing ability because they don’t want to think beyond the mouse clicks…)

1 Like

#11

So i know powershell and python pretty well. I used them heavily at my last job to automate my morning checks and generate weekly reports. I definitely agree with you, a lot of windows admins tend to shy away from scripting, which i don’t understand. Either way, thanks for the tip!

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#12
  • MYSQL Workbench
  • Kate
  • A bunch of stuff that isn’t applicable to windows or hyper-v (things like rdb client, qemu utils, libvirt)
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#13

Good cool, those are excellent and I’ve donated to at least notepad++

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#14

My go to software on my workstation are mobaxterm, iterm, vscode, vmware workstation and oracle virtualbox

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#15
  • Notepad++ (mostly for opening files notepad chokes on)
  • Wireshark (if you’re involved in network/application diagnostics)
  • Visual Studio Code (Haven’t noticed it being too bad on resources and it has GIT integration)
  • GIT - seriously, learn git, even if its just the basics to do version control on your scripts! It’s a lot better than renaming the old script with a date, then wondering WTF you did between version X and version Y, 6 months down the track, and why. This is what commit notes and git log are for. It’s not hard. “git init”, “git add”, and “git commit” should be enough to get you started. Then “git log” to see the commit history.
  • VMware Workstation (if you’re on Linux though, maybe KVM will suffice, depending on whether you need to talk to vSphere, workstation can be handy). If you have Windows 10 Pro, maybe the client OS version of HyperV will get you by also.
  • OneNote (for eliminating paper, and having all your notes/drawings everywhere). Notepad++ is all well and good, but Onenote works with a tablet and actual drawings. Sketches are very handy to develop an idea or work out network/application flow, etc. - which leads me to…
  • my iPad Pro. Or other tablet with a pen/pencil of your choice. Get all your notes organised and in one place, that is replicated everywhere. No more wondering which scrap of paper or notebook you had that document in… and no more losing said notebook… if i lose my ipad for example it’s all available on my phone, watch, laptop, etc. It can also do search with handwriting recognition.
  • putty. if you need to manage switches/routers/etc. it’s a must have.
1 Like

#16

Use this everytime I have a multimonitor setup. I use the 3 part grid, but the software has other templates and lets you design your own.

http://www.workrave.org/
Workrave is also good if you need something to remind you to get up every so often.

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#17

I’d also suggest re: git… use it for config files… git all the things…

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#18
  • Terminator
  • Remmina
  • KeePass
  • Emacs
  • VMWare Workstation
  • Pinta
  • Powershell Core
  • nmap
  • dig

Everything else should come with an on the metal install of Fedora like networking tools like curl, nslookup, and traceroute, text editing like vi and scripting languages like perl, Python and Ruby.

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#19

Yeah, my list was mostly windows focused, as a real OS (macOS, Linux, etc.) comes with most of the stuff you need already :smiley:

1 Like