Friday, September 06, 2013

SysInternals

It's been a while since I last posted something truly a tech tip for everyday users.
This is not something ground breaking and way out in the realm of the really techie user. Every user who is even moderately techie ought to already know about this, but for the enthusiast home user or future IT pro who hasn't yet run across Sysinternals (formerly WinInternals) you are really missing out.

Sysinternals has long provided really useful free utility programs for Windows that run with a small footprint and don't leave a lot of mess behind them after they run. You don't normally have to "install" them, just run them.

BgInfo is a neat little tool that will post some useful details about your computer in the corner of the screen so that you have a quick reference for which version of Windows you are using, What CPU your computer has, how much memory, and other details a tech support agent might ask about.

Desktops allows you to organize your applications on up to four virtual desktops so you can quickly switch between groups of applications. Put your Excel spreadsheet and bank stuff on one virtual screen, and facebook and twitter on another...

If you are making presentations often, or have a visual impairment, ZoomIt is a screen zoom and annotation tool designed for technical presentations, but generally useful for anyoone who wants to zoom in on stuff once in a while.

If you have ever run defrag and wondered how to defragment those system files that defrag can't touch, well Contig is there for that purpose.

For the advanced users, some of these tools are particularly useful in troubleshooting problems or investigating security issues. For example, if you needed to know what process is making outgoing connections to a certain IP that you suspect is related to malware, TCPView might help you track down just what program on your computer is doing that. Process Monitor (which is a replacement for two legacy Sysinternals utilities, Filemon and Regmon) can help you track a program's every move.

Some of the tools, like the PS tools and AD tools will only be of interest to pros working in an office environment.

Here is a quick free video course for those interested in some of sysinternals' more advanced tools. (you need a Windows Live/Hotmail login to get there, but that's free too).
http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/utilizing-sysinternals-tools-for-it-pros

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