Great new utilities join old favorites
The Windows Server resource kits have always been one of the richest sources of administrative tools and utilities for the Windows Server platform. Many of the tools from the resource kit eventually make their way into either the base OS or Microsoft's Support Tools offering. The Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit continues the tradition, offering some of my favorite tools from previous versions of the resource kit as well as many great new utilities. This month, I share my 10 favorite tools from the Windows 2003 resource kit.
10. Cmdhere—A perennial favorite of mine, Cmdhere is a shell extension that I use every day. When installed, Cmdhere adds a CMD Prompt Here option to the Win-dows Explorer context menu that appears when you right-click an object in Windows Explorer's left
pane. Selecting the CMD Prompt Here option opens a Windows command shell in the same path as that object.
9. Robocopy—Another of my longtime favorites, Robocopy is a command-line tool that maintains identical copies of a folder in multiple locations. Unlike standard Xcopy, Robocopy works well across slow and unreliable WAN connections and writes a complete log of its activities when it finishes a task.
8. Autoexnt—The Autoexnt tool is a service that lets you automatically run a batch file named autoexnt.bat without having to log on to the system. To control the logon account under which autoexnt.bat runs, you can use Windows' Service properties.
7. IfMember—IfMember is a handy command-line tool that determines whether the current user is a member of a given Windows group. The tool can test for membership in groups on the local computer, as well as groups on the computer's domain and trusted domains. IfMember is handy for command shell scripts and is a particularly useful addition for Windows logon scripts.
6. QGrep—The QGrep tool is a worthwhile utility to have in your command shell scripting toolkit. Like its UNIX progenitor, QGrep is a command-line tool that searches a file or list of files for a specific string or pattern and returns all lines that contain a match.
5. DNSDiag—A command-line tool that helps you troubleshoot email delivery problems, DNSDiag attempts to connect to a given SMTP server using a specific set of DNS server IP addresses. DNSDiag displays diagnostic messages that track the DNS server resolution process. You must run the tool on the system that's experiencing DNS resolution problems.
4. ClusDiag—Unlike most of the other tools listed here, ClusDiag is a graphical tool. ClusDiag performs a set of diagnostic tests on a cluster to troubleshoot cluster setup problems and ensure that the cluster is correctly configured. The tool displays its results on screen and can generate various reports based on the diagnostic data.
3. AcctInfo—The AcctInfo tool is a DLL that adds a property page to the user's Properties dialog box in the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in. The new property page displays detailed user account information—such as the date a user's password was set, the password's expiration date, and the date and time that the user last logged on and off—and lets administrators reset user passwords.
2. CDBurn—I find myself using ISO images more and more these days, and CDBurn is one of two new resource kit tools that I turn to. CDBurn is a command-line tool that lets you burn ISO images to CD-ROM, CD-R, and CD-RW media. You can also use CDBurn to erase CD-RW media.
1. DVDBurn—As you'd guess, DVDBurn is a command-line tool that lets you burn a DVD disk from a DVD ISO image. The tool works with DVD, DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW media and can also be used to erase DVD-RW and DVD+RW media. I use this tool frequently to burn ISO images I've downloaded from the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN).