Handy, Dandy, FREE!

Like most IT professionals, you’ve got more to do than is humanly possible. We can help. Well, our utilities can. Every month the Utility Spotlight column presents a handy utility that can help you get your work done. We’ve compiled 10 of our most useful tools for accomplishing everything from advanced copy and paste to upgrading SharePoint. Even better, they’re free!

Here’s our guidance: take advantage of these free tools to free up your time.

Robocopy GUI Traditional copy and paste works well enough for simple tasks, but for advanced functionality, you need Robocopy. But what if you're not a fan of the command line? Enter Robocopy GUI.

ADMX Migrator With Windows Vista, the format for Group Policy templates has changed to an XML-based structure. The ADMX Migrator utility can convert your legacy ADM files into the new ADMX format, as well as help you easily create your own custom ADMX files.

Autoruns The vast number of apps that run automatically at system start up can be a source of endless headaches. But with Autoruns, you can investigate every app that runs automatically, letting you troubleshoot conflicts, track down malware, and free up system resources.

The Shared Computer Toolkit One of the most common requests at the Group Policy forum GPanswers.com is how to take machines and lock them down. People want to ensure their machines can’t be broken by Joe User or Harry Badguy.

WMI Code Creator As a systems administrator you’re surely no stranger to Windows Management Instrumentation, which gives you access to a wealth of management information and allows you to automate administrative tasks. This tool generates custom code that lets you can get the most from the myriad of computer management options WMI has to offer.

BGInfo Wouldn’t it be great if you could see everything you need to know about a PC—its name, IP address, gateway, free disk space, and so on—in a single place. You can, with this free tool from Sysinternals. 

SyncToy Face it, most of the users you support just don't back up there data. SyncToy provides an unintrusive way to ensure your users' files are always backed up and ready to be easily restored.

Virtual Machine Remote Control Plus The Virtual Server 2005 interface is a Web application, offering the conveniences of Web-based management. But sometimes you want a rich UI that behaves like a Windows application.VMRCplus gives you an alternative UI that offers easy configuration management and remote control of virtual machines, all from within a single application.

Windows Easy Transfer Companion When it's time to migrate your users from their old Windows XP computers to new Windows Vista machines, the biggest chore is reinstalling your users' applications on their new PCs—and making sure those apps work.

Upgrade Toolkit for SharePoint Sites and Templates Upgrading to Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 can pose challenges if you use customized sites and templates. Explore a new Solution Accelerator that provides tools and guidance to help you get the job done.

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