Simplify administration

The Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Resource Kit provides several powerful NT management resources that you can't find anywhere else. In this Top 10, I share my favorite graphical tools and utilities that you can find in the resource kit. (Check out Mark Minasi's This Old Resource Kit columns for more information about resource kit tools.)

10. Graphical IPConfig (wntipcfg.exe) is a graphical version of NT's standard Ipconfig command. Graphical IPConfig displays the system's IP address, host and domain name, and the DNS and WINS servers that are in use.

9. Remote Process Kill (wrkill.exe) installs as an NT service. This tool lets you list and optionally terminate a remote system's processes.

8. Duplicate Finder (dupfinder.exe) lists all the duplicate filenames that exist in a given disk or directory. The first time you run this utility, the number of duplicates you have will probably surprise you.

7. File and Directory Comparison (windiff.exe) lets you quickly check the file versions of your system's applications and scripts. You select a source and a target directory, and windiff.exe compares the contents of those directories, reporting on any version differences that it finds.

6. Switch Users (su.exe) lets you execute a program under the security context of a different logon ID. You'll find this feature particularly useful when you're performing administrative functions on networked client systems. Switch Users lets you enter the target logon ID and password and the name of the executable function that you want to run.

5. Remote Shutdown GUI (shutgui.exe) displays a handy dialog box that lets you shut down a networked computer (when you run the program without parameters). The tool can display a shutdown message on the remote system, delay the shutdown for a specific period of time, and optionally restart the system.

4. Share UI (shareui.dll) lets you create a special Shared Directories folder in My Computer that you can configure all your system's shares from. With Share UI, you can create and delete shares and edit the permissions of both the hidden and public shares on your system. To install this utility, navigate to the \NTResKit directory. Right-click the shareui.inf file, then select Install from the pop-up menu.

3. Network Watcher (netwatch.exe) lets you display a list of the users connected to your system's shares. The tool can monitor multiple systems, as well as connect and disconnect shares.

2. TweakUI (tweakui.cpl) is a powerful tool that lets you customize the appearance and behavior of the NT desktop. Such customization would otherwise require you to directly change the Registry. TweakUI offers two particularly handy features: You can turn off your CD-ROM drive's AutoPlay feature, and you can choose to clear all your history settings when you log off. To install this utility, navigate to the \NTResKit\PowerToys directory. Right-click the tweakui.inf file, then select Install from the pop-up menu.

1. Command Prompt Here (cmdhere.exe) might not be the flashiest or most powerful resource kit utility, but it's the tool I use most frequently. To install this utility, you need to navigate to the \NTResKit\PowerToys directory. Right-click the cmdhere.inf file, then select Install from the pop-up menu that appears. Following installation, the Command Prompt Here option appears in a pop-up menu that displays when you right-click objects in Windows Explorer. To open a command prompt window in the current directory, simply select the option.