Windows Support Tools are one of Windows XP's hidden gems. This collection of more than 100 utilities, many of which originally became available in the Microsoft Windows 2000 Resource Kit, includes tools you can use to change settings, clean up your PC, troubleshoot problems, retrieve system information, and much more. Several of the Windows Support Tools are particularly useful for systems and network administrators. This month, I introduce you to 10 of my favorite Windows Support Tools.

You'll find the Windows Support Tools in the \support\tools folder on your XP CD-ROM. The tools aren't installed by default. To install them, you can either run the setup.exe command from a command line or double-click the suptools.msi installer package. To install all the Windows Support Tools, choose Complete Installation.

10.Active Directory Administration Tool (ldp.exe)—The Windows Support Tools ldp.exe utility provides a Windows Explorer–type view of Active Directory (AD). This tool lets you connect to AD or any Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)–compatible directory. You can use ldp.exe to display objects that are stored in AD along with the objects' metadata, security descriptor, and replication metadata.

9.Windows Installer Cleanup (msicuu.exe)—Msicuu.exe displays a dialog box that lets you select available Windows Installer (.msi) files to clean up. This utility helps you fix problems if the Windows Installer installation, rollback, or uninstallation process fails. The Windows Support Tools also include msizap.exe, a command-line tool similar to msicuu.exe. Unfortunately, these tools work only with Windows Installer files, not with all setup files.

8.DHCP Server Locator (dhcploc.exe)—Dhcploc.exe displays the names of all DHCP servers that are active on a given subnet. This tool can also detect unauthorized DHCP servers and, if it finds one, either beep or send an alert.

7.Movetree (movetree.exe)—The Movetree program is a command-line program you can use to move AD objects, such as organizational units (OUs) and users, between domains in an AD forest. When you use Movetree with AD users, the tool moves only the AD objects—Movetree doesn't move associated profiles and logon scripts.

6.Open Handles (oh.exe)—The oh.exe command displays all open file handles on the system. In addition to displaying the open file, the command displays the name of the process that opened it. For the registry, oh.exe displays the open keys. This utility is useful in determining which processes might be holding files open on your system when an application reports a file-sharing conflict.

5.Network Connectivity Tester (netdiag.exe)—The Network Connectivity Tester is a command-line program that can help you determine the cause of various network problems. Netdiag.exe can display information about your system's TCP/IP configuration, the network adapter, the network protocol bindings, your network's DNS server, and even hotfixes that are installed on your system.

4.Domain Secure Channel Utility (nltest.exe)—Nltest.exe is the Swiss Army knife of the Windows Support Tools. You can use nltest.exe to list your domain controllers (DCs) and sites, test the status of a trust relationship between Windows domains, display user account information, force user account synchronization, and shut down a system, to mention just some of the tool's capabilities.

3.Directory Disk Usage (diruse.exe)—The Directory Disk Usage utility is a command-line tool that displays directory size information. Diruse.exe lets you determine the amount of disk space that directories and subdirectories use and can quickly give you an idea of what happened to all that storage space you used to have. The diruse.exe tool also displays compression information for compressed NTFS directories.

2.DNS Server Troubleshooting Tool (dnscmd.exe)—The DNS Server Troubleshooting Tool lets you perform all your important DNS management tasks from a command-shell script. You can use dnscmd.exe to create and change zones and resource records and to force replication between the DNS server and its cache or the physical DNS data files.

1.Windows Domain Manager (netdom.exe)—The netdom.exe Windows Support Tool lets you work with Windows domains and trusts. You can use netdom.exe to add and remove computer accounts from a domain, reset computer account passwords, move servers among domains, and establish one- and two-way trusts between Windows domains. Because netdom.exe is a command-line tool, it can add powerful capabilities to your administrative scripts.