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Windows 10 Clean install issues. [100% disk usage]

I have posted this in Windows10 and buildapc as well but am looking for any possible help I can get.
I am beyond frustrated right now as it has been 2 days since these issues have started. I am going to try and give as much info as possible in this post so I apologize in advance for the long entry. I'm just hoping to get any possible solution that I can because I have tried just about everything I have found so far about this subject.
This past Saturday, I had some free time during the day and my PC running windows 8 hadn't been tinkered with in a while, so I decided that I wanted to reinstall Windows and upgrade to Windows 10. (Yes, I know that the last possible free upgrade to 10 just expired Dec. 31, but that's just my luck) So I go to Amazon, purchase Windows 10 for the low low price of $109.99, and create the bootable USB using the Windows Media Creation tool. I have to remove my GPU and connect the monitor to my motherboard to access the BIOS (idk why) so I do that, boot from the usb, and start running the install.
I should probably stop now and let you know my PC specs:
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H rev. 1.0
CPU: Intel Core i5-3570k
Ram: 16GB Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3
GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 970 GAMING 4G
BootSSD: 120GB Samsung 840 EVO
SSD2: 128GB Sandisk used for games
HDD: 1TB Seagate used for other storage
Attempt 1
I wanted to clean my Windows SSD so during the installation screen, when it asked what drive to put Windows on, I selected the Samsung drive thinking it wouldn't affect the other drives in my system. I was right and everything seemed fine. Fast forward and when Windows 10 is finished installing, this is where I first notice something isn't right. Microsoft Edge opens automatically when I first log in. Naturally, I type in Google Chrome in the search bar to try and download my preferred browser. But Edge hangs up. My mouse can move, I can click around on the homepage of Edge, but nothing else is working. I try to exit out of Edge and nothing works. I get impatient and keep clicking around wondering what could possibly be wrong with this brand new fresh install of Windows 10. Finally my mouse freezes and I hard reboot my PC. I google what could have been wrong and find that Edge could have been causing an issue, so next time I use Internet Explorer to download Chrome. Fast forward 10 minutes and I have put my GPU back in and start downloading normal programs like Avast, Steam, Geforce Experience for graphics drivers. System hangs again. Same thing as before, I could use my mouse but closing or opening any programs wouldn't work and so I start to panic wondering what the hell could be the issue. I do some more googling and think it may be driver issues with the motherboard? So I reboot, go to Gigabyte's website and search for my mobo, select Windows 10 64-bit from the drop down and see only a few drivers there. (http://www.gigabyte.us/Motherboard/GA-Z77X-D3H-rev-10#support-dl) I download and install all 5 of them, thinking that was the issue. Nope, same thing happens after a couple minutes. Reboot, decide to run task manager next time and just let the PC sit for a while. Come back after 10 minutes and sure enough, frozen again, but Task Manager shows 100% disk usage even though nothing is open or running. Disk usage is pinned at 100% with every process showing 0 Mbps under it.
Attempt 2
I decide to try again, this time thinking I will disconnect my other 2 drives since maybe some of those files had compatibility issues with Windows 10 (no idea if that is even a thing but what the hell I tried it). I power down, disconnect the drives, reboot and get to the desktop. I am in Windows 10 at this point so I can just go reset Windows without bothering with the bootable USB this time. I select the option to wipe everything clean during the reset so that the drive wouldn't have anything residual left over. Same thing happens again. There is nothing attaced to my PC at this point besides the mouse, keyboard, ethernet, and the ssd im trying to install to. This time, still thinking it was a driver issue, I went through the device manager and checked for updates for every. single. thing. listed. After it was all said and done, there was only about 10 drivers that actually downloaded and updated. This did not work either. After more googling, I found that there might be an issue with my StorAHCI.sys driver. Followed steps to fix that found here (https://www.drivereasy.com/knowledge/fix-100-disk-usage-in-task-manager-improve-pc-performance-on-windows-10/#g) but that didn't seem to work either.
Attempt 3
At this point, I am thinking there might be something wrong with the installation files from the Media Creation Tool. So I load up my girlfriends old Windows Vista latop (LUL) and format the USB. I download the 4.4gb .ISO that takes an hour. I recreate the bootable USB using diskpart, and extract the files in the .ISO to the usb using WinRAR. Next, I unplug the ethernet cord from my PC thinking I would try and eliminate that as an issue as well, and boot from the USB again. I leave the install on its own for a while and come back to the region selection screen. It is frozen just like before when I was in the desktop. Reboot, setup windows this time, get to desktop, open Task Manager again, and let it sit. About 10 minutes later, freezes again. Disk usage pinned at 100% without ANYTHING running.
Final Thoughts
There are a few things that I haven't tried yet. I haven't done any work on updating my BIOS, but I don't think that would have anything to do with it. I might still be missing drivers? Please let me know how to make sure I'm not missing drivers for anything. I also can try installing to my other SSD (was hoping not to have to delete all my games on there but whatever).
I am at work now, so will try any suggestions when I get home, but am looking for any help with this as I have spent a collective 20+ hours out of the last 48 on this issue. Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance for any help.
EDIT:
Ok, so fingers crossed I might have found the issue. I have an uptime of 35 minutes right now which is a lot longer than the average of 10 minutes that I would get before. In talking with a friend, he linked me to the Samsung Magician program to check the health status of my SSD, and when running the program it showed that I had out of date firmware on my ssd. (Samsung 840 EVO). I am still holding my breath that this might have been the solution I am looking for. Going to try and remount my other drives as well as install my GPU again and will check back in after I am finished with that. Thanks for everyone's help so far.
submitted by unkmyjunk_tv to techsupport

6

Tools & Info for Sysadmins - Mega List of Tips, Tools, Books, Blogs & More

Hi sysadmin,
It's been 6 months since we launched the full list on our website. We decided to celebrate with a mega list of the items we've featured since then, broken down by category. Enjoy!
To make sure I'm following the rules of rsysadmin, rather than link directly to our website for sign up for the weekly email I'm experimenting with reddit ads so:
You can sign up to get this in your inbox each week (with extras) by following this link.
** We're looking for tips from IT Pros, SysAdmins and MSPs in IT Pro Tuesday. This could be command line, shortcuts, process, security or whatever else makes you more effective at doing your job. Please leave a comment with your favorite tip(s), and we'll feature them over the following weeks.
Now on with the tools... As always, EveryCloud has no known affiliation with any of these unless we explicitly state otherwise.
Free Tools
Pageant is an SSH authentication agent that makes it easier to connect to Unix or Linux machines via PuTTY. Appreciated by plazman30 who says, "It took me WAY TOO LONG to discover this one. Pageant is a component of Putty. It sits in your system tray and will let you load SSH keys into it and pass them through to putty, WinSCP, and number of other apps that support it."
NCurses Disk Usage is a disk usage analyzer with an ncurses interface. It is fast, simple and easy and should run in any minimal POSIX-like environment with ncurses installed. Recommended by durgadas as "something I install on all my Linuxes... Makes finding out sizes semi-graphical, [with] super easy nav. Good for places without monitoring—lightweight and fast; works on nearly all flavors of Unix I've needed."
AutoHotkey is an open-source scripting language for Windows that helps you easily create small to complex scripts for all sorts of tasks (form fillers, auto-clicking, macros, etc.) Automate any desktop task with this small, fast tool that runs out-of-the-box. Recommended by plazman30 as a "pretty robust Windows scripting language. I use it mostly for on-the-fly pattern substitution. It's nice to be able to type 'bl1' and have it auto-replace it my bridge line phone number."
PingInfoView lets you easily ping multiple host names and IP addresses, with the results compiled in a single table. Automatically pings all hosts at the interval you specify, and displays the number of successful and failed pings, as well as average ping time. Results can be saved as a text/html/xml file or copied to the clipboard. Thanks go to sliced_BR3AD for this one.
DriveDroid simulates a USB thumbdrive or CD-drive via the mass storage capabilities in the Android/Linux kernel. Any ISO/IMG files on the phone can be exposed to a PC, as well as any other USB thumbdrive capabilities, including booting from the drive. Can be a quick and easy option for OS installations, rescues or occasions when it helps to have a portable OS handy. Suggested by codywarmbo, who likes it because of the ability to "Boot a PC using ISO files stored on your Android phone... Having a 256GB SD full of any OS you want is super handy!"
FreeIPA is an integrated identity and authentication solution for Linux/UNIX networked environments. It combines Linux (Fedora), 389 Directory Server, MIT Kerberos, NTP, DNS and Dogtag (Certificate System). Provides centralized authentication, authorization and account information by storing data about user, groups, hosts and other objects necessary to manage the security of a network. Thanks to skarsol, who recommends it as an open-source solution for cross-system, cross-platform, multi-user authentication.
PCmover Profile Migrator migrates applications, files and settings between any two user profiles on the same computer to help set up PCs with O365 Business. User profile apps, data and settings are quickly and easily transferred from the old local AD users to new Azure AD users. Can be good for migrating data from a user profile associated with a former domain to a new profile on a new domain. Suggested by a_pojke, who found it useful "to help migrate profiles to 0365/AAD; it's been a life saver with some recent onboards."
GNU Guix is a Linux package manager that is based on the Nix package manager, with Guile Scheme APIs. It is an advanced distribution of the GNU OS that specializes in providing exclusively free software. Supports transactional upgrades and roll-backs, unprivileged package management and more. When used as a standalone distribution, Guix supports declarative system configuration for transparent and reproducible operating systems. Comes with thousands of packages, which include applications, system tools, documentation, fonts and more. Recommended by necrophcodr.
Attack Surface Analyzer 2.0 is the latest version of the MS tool for taking a snapshot of your system state before and after installation of software. It displays changes to key elements of the system attack surface so you can view changes resulting from the introduction of the new code. This updated version is a rewrite of the classic 1.0 version from 2012, which covered older versions of Windows. It is available for download or as source code on Github. Credit for alerting us to this one goes to Kent Chen.
Process Hacker is an open-source process viewer that can help with debugging, malware detection, analyzing software and system monitoring. Features include: a clear overview of running processes and resource usage, detailed system information and graphs, viewing and editing services and more. Recommended by k3nnyfr, who likes it as a "ProcessExplorer alternative, good for debugging SRP and AppLocker issues."
Q-Dir (the Quad Explorer) provides quick, simple access to hard disks, network folders, USB-sticks, floppy disks and other storage devices. Includes both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and the correct one is used automatically. This tool has found a fan in user_none, who raves, "Q-Dir is awesome! I searched high and low for a good, multi-pane Explorer replacement that didn't have a whole bunch of junk, and Q-Dir is it. Fantastic bit of software."
iftop is a command-line system monitor tool that lets you display bandwidth usage on an interface. It produces a frequently updated list of network connections, ordered according to bandwidth usage—which can help in identifying the cause of some network slowdowns. Appreciated by zorinlynx, who likes that it "[l]ets you watch a network interface and see the largest flows. Good way to find out what's using up all your bandwidth."
Delprof2 is a command-line-based application for deleting user profiles in a local or remote Windows computer according to the criteria you set. Designed to be easy to use with even very basic command-line skills. This one is thanks to Evelen1, who says, "I use this when computers have problems due to profiles taking up all the hard drive space."
MSYS2 is a Windows software distribution and building platform. This independent rewrite of MSYS, based on modern Cygwin (POSIX compatibility layer) and MinGW-w64, aims for better interoperability with native Windows software. It includes a bash shell, Autotools, revision control systems and more for building native Windows applications using MinGW-w64 toolchains. The package management system provides easy installation. Thanks for this one go to Anonymouspock, who says, "It's a mingw environment with the Arch Linux pacman package manager. I use it for ssh'ing into things, which it does very well since it has a proper VT220 compatible terminal with an excellent developer."
FastCopy is the fastest copy/backup software for Windows. Supports UNICODE and over MAX_PATH (260 characters) file pathnames. Uses multi-threads to bring out the best speed of devices and doesn't hog resources, because MFC is not used. Recommended by DoTheEvolution as the "fastest, comfiest copy I ever used. [I]t behaves just like I want, won't shit itself on trying to read damaged hdd, long paths are no problem, logs stuff, can shutdown after done, got it integrated into portable totalcommander."
Baby Web Server is an alternative for Microsoft's IIS. This simple web server offers support for ASP, with extremely simple setup. The server is multi threaded, features a real-time server log and allows you to configure a directory for webpages and default HTML page. Offers support for GET, POST and HEAD methods (form processing); sends directory listing if default HTML is not found in directory; native ASP, cookie and SSI support; and statistics on total connections, successful and failed requests and more. Limited to 5 simultaneous connections. FatherPrax tells us it's "[g]reat for when you're having to update esoteric firmware at client sites."
Bping is a Windows ping alternative that beeps whenever a reply comes in. Can allow you to keep track of your pings without having to watch the monitor. According to the recommendation from bcahill, "you can set it to beep on ping reply or on ping failure (default). I love it because if I'm wanting to monitor when a server goes up or down, I can leave it running in the background and I'll know the instant the status changes."
LDAPExplorerTool is a multi-platform graphical LDAP browser and tool for browsing, modifying and managing LDAP servers. Tested for Windows and Linux (Debian, Red Hat, Mandriva). Features SSL/TLS & full UNICODE support, the ability to create/edit/remove LDAP objects and multivalue support (including edition). Endorsed by TotallyNotIT... "Holy hell, that thing is useful."
MxToolbox is a tool that lists the MX records for a domain in priority order. Changes to MX Records show up instantly because the MX lookup is done directly against the domain's authoritative name server. Diagnostics connects to the mail server, verifies reverse DNS records, performs a simple Open Relay check and measures response time performance. Also lets you check each MX record (IP Address) against 105 blacklists. Razorray21 tells us it's an "excellent site for troubleshooting public DNS issues."
Proxmox Virtual Environment is a Debian-based Linux distribution with a modified Ubuntu LTS kernel that allows deployment and management of virtual machines and containers. Suggested by -quakeguy-, who says, "Proxmox is totally killer, particularly if you don't want to spend a ton of money and like ZFS."
Multi Commander is a multi-tabbed file manager that is an alternative to Windows Explorer. It has all the standard features of a file manager plus more-advanced features, like auto-unpacking; auto-sorting; editing the Windows Registry and accessing FTP; searching for and viewing files and pictures. Includes built-in scripting support. Reverent tells us "What I love about Multicommander is that it basically acts as a launcher for all my tools. Documents automatically open up in my preferred editor (vscode), compressed files automatically open up in 7-zip, I have a ton of custom shortcuts bound to hotkeys, and it has a bunch of built-in tools. I can even do cool things like open up consolez in the focused directory and choose to open CMD, Powershell, or Powershell 6 (portable) and whether it runs as admin or not. Oh yeah, and it's all portable. It and all the tool dependencies run off the USB."
Apache Guacamole is a remote desktop gateway that supports standard protocols like VNC, RDP and SSH. The client is an HTML5 web app that requires no plugins or client software. Once installed on a server, desktops are accessible from anywhere via web browser. Both the Guacamole server and a desktop OS can be hosted in the cloud, so desktops can be virtual. Built on its own stack of core APIs, Guacamole can be tightly integrated into other applications. "Fir3start3r likes it because it "will allow you to RDP/VNC/TELNET/SSH to any device that it can reach via a web browser....you can set up folders/subfolders for groups of devices to keep things organized - love it!!"
ShowKeyPlus is a simple Windows product key finder and validation checker for Windows 7, 8 and 10. Displays the key and its associated edition of Windows. Thanks to k3nnyfr for the recommendation.
Netdisco is a web-based network management tool that collects IP and MAC address data in a PostgreSQL database using SNMP, CLI or device APIs. It is easy to install and works on any Linux or Unix system (docker images also available). Includes a lightweight web server interface, a backend daemon to gather network data and a command-line interface for troubleshooting. Lets you turn off a switch port or change the VLAN or PoE status of a port and inventory your network by model, vendor, and software. Suggested by TheDraimen, who loves "being able to punch in a MAC and find what port it is plugged into or run an inventory on a range of IPs to find unused in static range..."
NetBox is an open-source web application that helps manage and document networks. Addresses IP address management (IPAM); organizing equipment racks by group and site; tracking types of devices and where they are installed; network, console, and power connections among devices; virtual machines and clusters; long-haul communications circuits and providers; and encrypted storage of sensitive credentials. Thanks to ollybee for the suggestion.
Elasticsearch Security. The core security features of the Elastic Stack are now available for free, including encrypting network traffic, creating and managing users, defining roles that protect index and cluster level access, and fully secure Kibana with Spaces (see the linked blog post for more info). Thanks to almathden for bringing this great news to our attention.
BornToBeRoot NETworkManager is a tool for managing and troubleshooting networks. Features include a dashboard, network interface, IP scanner, port scanner, ping, traceroute, DNS lookup, remote desktop, PowerShell (requires Windows 10), PuTTY (requires PuTTY), TigerVNC (requires TigerVNC), SNMP - Get, Walk, Set (v1, v2c, v3), wake on LAN, HTTP headers, whois, subnet calculator, OUI/port lookup, connections, listeners and ARP table. Suggested by TheZNerd, who finds it "nice [for] when I calculate subnet up ranges for building SCCM implementations for my clients."
Awesome Selfhosted is a list of free software network services and web applications that can be self hosted—instead of renting from SaaS providers. Example list categories include: Analytics, Archiving and Digital Preservation, Automation, Blogging Platforms ...and that's just the tip of the iceberg!
Rclone is a command-line program for syncing files and directories to/from many platforms. Features include MD5/SHA1 hash checking for file integrity; file timestamp preservation; partial-sync support on a whole-file basis; ability to copy only new/changed files; one-way sync; check mode; network sync; backend encryption, cache and union; and optional FUSE mount. Recommended by wombat-twist because it supports "many cloud/traditional storage platforms."
Freeware Utilities for Windows can be found in this rather long list. Tools are organized by category: password recovery, network monitoring, web browser, video/audio related, internet related, desktop, Outlook/Office, programmer, disk, system and other. Appreciation to Adolfrian for the recommendation.
Checkmk is a comprehensive solution for monitoring of applications, servers, and networks that leverages more than 1700 integrated plug-ins. Features include hardware & software inventory; an event console; analysis of SysLog, SNMP traps and log files; business intelligence; and a simple, graphical visualization of time-series metrics data. Comes in both a 100% open-source edition and an Enterprise Edition with a high-performance core and additional features and support. Kindly suggested by Kryp2nitE.
restic is a backup program focused on simplicity—so it's more likely those planned backups actually happen. Easy to both configure and use, fast and verifiable. Uses cryptography to guarantee confidentiality and integrity of the data. Assumes backup data is stored in an untrusted environment, so it encrypts your data with AES-256 in counter mode and authenticates using Poly1305-AES. Additional snapshots only take the storage of the actual increment and duplicate data is de-duplicated before it is written to the storage backend to save space. Recommended by shiitakeshitblaster who says, "I'm loving it! Wonderful cli interface and easy to configure and script."
DPC Latency Checker is a Windows tool for analyzing a computer system's ability to correctly handle real-time data streams. It can help identify the cause of drop-outs—the interruptions in real-time audio and video streams. Supports Windows 7, Windows 7 x64, Windows Vista, Windows Vista x64, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 x64, Windows XP, Windows XP x64, Windows 2000. DoTheEvolution recommends it as a preferable way to check system latency, because otherwise you usually "just start to disconnect shit while checking it."
TLDR (too long; didn’t read) pages is a community-driven repository for simplifying man pages with practical examples. This growing collection includes examples for all the most-common commands in UNIX, Linux, macOS, SunOS and Windows. Our appreciation goes to thblckjkr for the suggestion.
Network Analyzer Pro helps diagnose problems in your wifi network setup or internet connection and detects issues on remote servers. Its high-performance wifi device discovery tool provides all LAN device addresses, manufacturers and names along with the BonjouDLNA services they provide. Shows neighboring wi-fi networks and signal strength, encryption and router manufacturer that can help with finding the best channel for a wireless router. Everything works with IPv4 and IPv6. Caleo recommends it because it "does everything Advanced IP scanner does and more—including detailed network information, speed testing, upnp/bonjour service scans, port scans, whois, dns record lookup, tracert, etc."
SmokePing is an open-source tool for monitoring network latency. Features best-of-breed latency visualization, an interactive graph explorer, a wide range of latency measurement plugins, a masteslave system for distributed measurement, a highly configurable alerting system and live latency charts. Kindly suggested by freealans.
Prometheus is an open source tool for event monitoring and alerting. It features a multi-dimensional data model with time series data identified by metric name and key/value pairs, a flexible query language, no reliance on distributed storage (single server nodes are autonomous), time series collection via a pull model over HTTP, pushing time series supported via an intermediary gateway, targets discovered via service discovery or static configuration, and multiple modes of graphing and dashboarding support. Recommended by therealskoopy as a "more advanced open source monitoring system" than Zabbix.
MediCat is bootable troubleshooting environment that continues where Hiren's Boot CD/DVD left off. It provides a simplified menu system full of useful PC tools that is easy to navigate. It comes in four versions:
  • MediCat DVD—PortableApps Suite, Linux boot environments and a full mini Windows 10 WinPE Boot Environment
  • MediaCat DVD Naked—Linux boot environments and a full mini Windows 10 WinPE Boot Environment
  • Mini Windows 10 x64—Windows 10 WinPE Boot Environment and PortableApps Suite
  • Mini Windows 10 x64 Naked—Windows 10 WinPE Boot Environment
Recommended by reloadz400, who adds that it has a "large footprint (18GB), but who doesn't have 32GB and larger USB sticks laying everywhere?"
PRTG monitors all the systems, devices, traffic and applications in your IT infrastructure—traffic, packets, applications, bandwidth, cloud services, databases, virtual environments, uptime, ports, IPs, hardware, security, web services, disk usage, physical environments and IoT devices. Supports SNMP (all versions), Flow technologies (NetFlow, jFlow, sFlow), SSH, WMI, Ping, and SQL. Powerful API (Python, EXE, DLL, PowerShell, VB, Batch Scripting, REST) to integrate everything else. While the unlimited version is free for 30 days, stillchangingtapes tells us it remains "free for up to 100 sensors."
NetworkMiner is a popular open-source network forensic analysis tool with an intuitive user interface. It can be used as a passive network sniffepacket capturing tool for detecting operating systems, sessions, hostnames, open ports and the like without putting traffic on the network. It can also parse PCAP files for off-line analysis and to regenerate/reassemble transmitted files and certificates from PCAP files. Credit for this one goes to Quazmoz.
PingCastle is a Windows tool for auditing the risk level of your AD infrastructure and identifying vulnerable practices. The free version provides the following reports: Health Check, Map, Overview and Management. Recommended by L3T, who cheerfully adds, "Be prepared for the best free tool ever."
Jenkins is an open-source automation server, with hundreds of plugins to support project building, deployment and automation. This extensible automation server can be used as a simple CI server or turned into a continuous delivery hub. Can distribute work across multiple machines, with easy setup and configuration via web interface. Integrates with virtually any tool in the continuous integration/delivery toolchain. It is self-contained, Java-based and ready to run out-of-the-box. Includes packages for Windows, Mac OS X and other Unix-like operating systems. A shout out to wtfpwndd for the recommendation.
iPerf3 provides active measurements of the maximum achievable bandwidth on IP networks. Reports the bandwidth, loss and other parameters. Lets you tune various parameters related to timing, buffers and protocols (TCP, UDP, SCTP with IPv4 and IPv6). Be aware this newer implementation shares no code with the original iPerf and is not backwards compatible. Credit for this one goes to Moubai.
LatencyMon analyzes the possible causes of buffer underruns by measuring kernel timer latencies and reporting DPC/ISR excecution times and hard pagefaults. It provides a comprehensible report and identifies the kernel modules and processes behind audio latencies that result in drop outs. It also provides the functionality of an ISR monitor, DPC monitor and a hard pagefault monitor. Requires Windows Vista or later. Appreciation to aberugg who tells us, "LatencyMon will check all sorts of info down to what driveprocess might be the culprit. It will help you narrow it down even more. This tool helped me realize that Windows 10's kernel is terrible in terms of device latency when compared to previous versions."
GNU parallel is a shell tool for executing jobs—like a single command or a small script that has to be run for each of the lines in the input—in parallel on one or more computers. Typical input is a list of files, hosts, users, URLs or tables. A job can also be a command that reads from a pipe, which can then be split and piped into commands in parallel. Velenux finds it "handy to split jobs when you have many cores to use."
Kanboard is open-source project management software that features a simple, intuitive user interface, a clear overview of your tasks—with search and filtering, drag and drop, automatic actions and subtasks, attachments and comments. Thanks go to sgcdialler for this one!
Monosnap is a cross-platform screenshot utility with some nice features. Suggested by durgadas, who likes it because it "has a built-in editor for arrows and blurring and text and can save to custom locations—like Dropbox or multiple cloud services, including it's own service, Amazon S3, FTP, SFTP, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Yandex, Evernote... Video and gaming screen capture also, shrink Retina screenshot preference, etc, etc... Every feature I've ever wanted in a screenshot utility is there."
Advanced Port Scanner is a network scanner with a user-friendly interface and some nice features. Helps you quickly find open ports on network computers and retrieve versions of programs running on those ports. Recommended by DarkAlman, who sees it as the "same as [Advanced IP Scanner], but for active ports."
Spiceworks Network Monitor and Helpdesk allows you to launch a fully-loaded help desk in minutes. This all-in-one solution includes inventory, network monitor and helpdesk.
Microsoft Safety Scanner helps you find and remove malware from computers running Windows 10, Windows 10 Tech Preview, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server Tech Preview, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2, or Windows Server 2008. Only scans when manually triggered, and it is recommended you download a new version prior to each scan to make sure it is updated for the latest threats.
CLCL is a free, clipboard caching utility that supports all clipboard formats. Features a customizable menu. According to JediMasterSeamus, this clipboard manager "saves so much time. And you can save templates for quick responses or frequently typed stuff."
Desktop Info displays system information on your desktop, like wallpaper, but stays in memory and updates in real time. Can be great for walk-by monitoring. Recommended by w1llynilly, who says, "It has 2 pages by default for metrics about the OS and the network/hardware. It is very lightweight and was recommended to me when I was looking for BGInfo alternatives."
True Ping is exactly the same as the standard ping program of Windows 9x, NT and 2000—except that it does a better job calculating the timing. It uses a random buffer (that changes at every ping) to improve performance. Thanks to bcahill for this one, who says, it "... can send pings very fast (hundreds per second). This is very helpful when trying to diagnose packet loss. It very quickly shows if packet loss is occurring, so I can make changes and quickly see the effect."
Parted Magic is a hard disk management solution that includes tools for disk partitioning and cloning, data rescue, disk erasing and benchmarking with Bonnie++, IOzone, Hard Info, System Stability Tester, mprime and stress. This standalone Linux operating system runs from a CD or USB drive, so nothing need be installed on the target machine. Recommended by Aggietallboy.
mbuffer is a tool for buffering data streams that offers direct support for TCP-based network targets (IPv4 and IPv6), the ability to send to multiple targets in parallel and support for multiple volumes. It features I/O rate limitation, high-/low-watermark-based restart criteria, configurable buffer size and on-the-fly MD5 hash calculation in an efficient, multi-threaded implementation. Can help extend drive motor life by avoiding buffer underruns when writing to fast tape drives or libraries (those drives tend to stop and rewind in such cases). Thanks to zorinlynx, who adds, "If you move large streams from place to place, for example with "tar" or "zfs send" or use tape, mbuffer is awesome. You can send a stream over the network with a large memory buffer at each end so that momentary stalls on either end of the transfer don't reduce performance. This especially helps out when writing to tapes, as the tape drive can change directions without stopping the flow of data."
TeraCopy is a tool for copying files faster and more securely while preserving data integrity. Gives you the ability to pause/resume file transfers, verify files after copy, preserve date timestamps, copy locked files, run a shell script on completion, generate and verify checksum files and delete files securely. Integrates with Windows Explorer. Suggested by DarkAlman to "replace the integrated Windows file copy utility. Much more stable, quicker transfers, crash tolerant and adds features like 'No-to-all' and 'yes-to-all' for comparing folders."
MultiDesk & MultiDeskEnforcer are a combination of a tabbed remote desktop client (terminal services client) and a service that limits connections to only those that provide the correct shared secret (keeps hackers from accessing your server via RDP even if they have the correct password). Suggested by plazman30 as being "[s]imilar to Microsoft's RDP Manager, [b]ut doesn't need to be installed and has tabs across the top, instead of the side."
The PsTools suite includes command-line utilities for listing the processes running on local or remote computers, running processes remotely, rebooting computers, dumping event logs, and more. FYI: Some anti-virus scanners report that one or more of the tools are infected with a "remote admin" virus. None of the PsTools contain viruses, but they have been used by viruses, which is why they trigger virus notifications.
Mosh is a remote terminal application that allows roaming, supports intermittent connectivity, and provides intelligent local echo and line editing of user keystrokes. It can be a more robust and responsive replacement for interactive SSH terminals. Available for GNU/Linux, BSD, macOS, Solaris, Android, Chrome and iOS. Suggested by kshade_hyaena, who likes it "for sshing while your connection is awful."
HTTPie is a command-line HTTP client designed for easy debugging and interaction with HTTP servers, RESTful APIs and web services. Offers an intuitive interface, JSON support, syntax highlighting, wget-like downloads, plugins, and more—Linux, macOS, and Windows support. Suggested by phils_lab as "like curl, but for humans."
LibreNMS is a full-featured network monitoring system. Supports a range of operating systems including Linux, FreeBSD, as well as network devices including Cisco, Juniper, Brocade, Foundry, HP and others. Provides automatic discovery of your entire network using CDP, FDP, LLDP, OSPF, BGP, SNMP and ARP; a flexible alerting system; a full API to manage, graph and retrieve data from your install and more. TheDraimen recommends it "if you cant afford a monitoring suite."
Tftpd64 is an open-source, IPv6-ready application that includes DHCP, TFTP, DNS, SNTP and Syslog servers and a TFTP client. Both client and server are fully compatible with TFTP option support (tsize, blocksize, timeout) to allow maximum performance when transferring data. Features include directory facility, security tuning and interface filtering. The included DHCP server offers unlimited IP address assignment. Suggested by Arkiteck: "Instead of Solarwinds TFTP Server, give Tftpd64 a try (it's FOSS)."
Tree Style Tab is a Firefox add-on that allows you to open tabs in a tree-style hierarchy. New tabs open automatically as "children" of the tab from which they originated. Child branches can be collapsed to reduce the number of visible tabs. Recommended by Erasus, who says, "being a tab hoarder, having tabs on the left side of my screen is amazing + can group tabs."
AutoIt v3 is a BASIC-like scripting language for automating the Windows GUI and general scripting. It automates tasks through a combination of simulated keystrokes, mouse movement and window/control manipulation. Appreciated by gj80, who says, "I've built up 4700 lines of code with various functions revolving around global hotkeys to automate countless things for me, including a lot of custom GUI stuff. It dramatically improves my quality of life in IT."
MTPuTTY (Multi-Tabbed PuTTY) is a small utility that lets you wrap an unlimited number of PuTTY applications in a single, tabbed interface. Lets you continue using your favorite SSH client—but without the trouble of having separate windows open for each instance. XeroPoints recommends it "if you have a lot of ssh sessions."
ElastiFlow is a network flow data collection and visualization tool that uses the Elastic Stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana). Offers support for Netflow v5/v9, sFlow and IPFIX flow types (1.x versions support only Netflow v5/v9). Kindly recommended by slacker87.
SpaceSniffer is a portable tool for understanding how folders and files are structured on your disks. It uses a Treemap visualization layout to show where large folders and files are stored. It doesn't display everything at once, so data can be easier to interpret, and you can drill down and perform folder actions. Reveals things normally hidden by the OS and won't lock up when scanning a network share.
Graylog provides an open-source Linux tool for log management. Seamlessly collects, enhances, stores, and analyzes log data in a central dashboard. Features multi-threaded search and built-in fault tolerance that ensures distributed, load-balanced operation. Enterprise version is free for under 5GB per day.
Ultimate Boot CD boots from any Intel-compatible machine, regardless of whether any OS is installed on the machine. Allows you to run floppy-based diagnostic tools on machines without floppy drives by using a CDROM or USB memory stick. Saves time and enables you to consolidate many tools in one location. Thanks to stick-down for the suggestion.
MFCMAPI is designed for expert users and developers to access MAPI stores, which is helpful for investigation of Exchange and Outlook issues and providing developers with a sample for MAPI development. Appreciated by icemerc because it can "display all the folders and the subfolders that are in any message store. It can also display any address book that is loaded in a profile."
USBDeview lists all USB devices currently or previously connected to a computer. Displays details for each device—including name/description, type, serial number (for mass storage devices), date/time it was added, VendorID, ProductID, and more. Allows you to disable/enable USB devices, uninstall those that were previously used and disconnect the devices currently connected. Works on a remote computer when logged in as an admin. Thanks to DoTheEvolution for the suggestion.
WSCC - Windows System Control Center will install, update, execute and organize utilities from suites such as Microsoft Sysinternals and Nirsoft Utilities. Get all the tools you want in one convenient download!
Launchy is a cross-platform utility that indexes the programs in your start menu so you can launch documents, project files, folders and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. Suggested by Patrick Langendoen, who tells us, "Launchy saves me clicks in the Win10 start menu. Once you get used to it, you begin wondering why this is not included by default."
Terminals is a secure, multi-tab terminal services/remote desktop client that's a complete replacement for the mstsc.exe (Terminal Services) client. Uses Terminal Services ActiveX Client (mstscax.dll). Recommended by vermyx, who likes it because "the saved connections can use saved credential profiles, so you only have to have your credentials in one place."
Captura is a flexible tool for capturing your screen, audio, cursor, mouse clicks and keystrokes. Features include mixing audio recorded from microphone and speaker output, command-line interface, and configurable hotkeys. Thanks to jantari for the recommedation.
(continued in part 2)
submitted by crispyducks to sysadmin