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This chapter is from the book

More Useful Tools

We cannot pick apart every last little feature. It's just not practical or necessary when you have an Internet filled with article after article that will round out your knowledge on any one of these tools. The key is to know they exist and to know what they do—a true master takes what she's been given and adds to it. Here are some of the other tools you can use to help you administrate:

  • Data Sources (ODBC)—Uses Open Database Connectivity to move your data from one type of database to another. So, for example, you can move data that was created on FileMaker Pro into an Excel format.
  • Defragmenter—Found under the Accessories, System Tools, the defragmenter is no longer a graphical tool that you can watch move your data blocks around. But you can and should still schedule it, using either the tool or the Task Scheduler. It is set up by Task Scheduler to automatically defragment the drive once a week at 1:00 am, but if you know the system isn't on at that time then you will want to change the time.
  • Disk Cleanup—Lets you free up disk space by searching through your folders for unnecessary or unused files. One great example of an unused file is the hibernation file. You can delete it from here (usually the size of your installed RAM).
  • Print Management—Manages printers and print servers on a network.

Other tools such as the Memory Diagnostics Tool and the Reliability and Performance Monitor are addressed in chapters to come.

The following are some other resources an admin should know about and have in her utility belt:

  • Windows Vista Resource Kit—Resource Kits are must-haves for any serious admin. These are sets of command-line tools that simplify the managing of Windows through a command prompt. The Windows 2003 Resource Kit is a free download that works on a variety of Windows systems and contains close to 200 tools. The Vista Kit can be purchased and includes a book and CD. Microsoft has a site dedicated to Resource Kit information: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/
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  • Sysinternals—Mark Russinovich's incredible site of free tools has not been phased out now that he has moved into the Microsoft world; they have just been moved to this new location: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/default.mspx. Some tools to look out for are PageDefrag, Process Explorer, AutoRuns, BGInfo, and a bevy of others.
  • Adminpak (Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Administration Tools Pack or Windows Server 2003 R2 Administration Tools Pack)—These are free tools you can install on your Vista desktop if you plan on administering servers on your network. You might have some difficulty running these to start with, but you just need to register the DLLs for the tools. An article at http://4sysops.com explains how to install the pack on Vista.
  • 4SysOps.com—It's not a collection of tools, but a website that is great for system admins to keep up-to-date on the latest and greatest tools and how to use them.
  • Microsoft BDD 2007 (Business Desktop Deployment)—BDD 2007 contains important deployment tools for Vista, such as ImageX, WSIM (Windows System Image Manager), and WDS (Windows Deployment Services). You can download it at Microsoft Connect.
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