Top 8 Free Tools for System Administrators

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    “Information Technology is the core of how you do your business and how your business model evolves itself.” – Satya Nadella

    Keeping knowledge of the right tools prevents you from hours of extra work and redundancy. In this modern age of Information Technology, every business has its foundation laid in designing a powerful technological stack to ensure smooth operational efficiency. IT professionals are key persons responsible in every organization for selecting SysAdmin tools and maintaining an enterprise’s technological front.

    We have selectively picked the top 7 free system administrator software for testing, troubleshooting, monitoring and communication.

    1. Wireshark

    Wireshark is a popular network protocol analyzer to keep a check on network issues. This tool enables IT teams to keep a round-the-clock hawk-eyed view on the network traffic and is effectively used by non-profit organizations, government sectors, corporations and educational institutions.

    Of the many features that this tool offers, Deep inspection, Live capture and Offline analysis are the most acclaimed. It also enables system administrators to perform VoIP call analysis, read & write different capture file formats such as tcpdump, Catapult DCT2000, Microsoft Network Monitor, Network General Sniffer, RADCOM WAN/LAN Analyzer, Cisco Secure IDS iplog, and many more. It browses the captured network data on GUI, or via the TTY-mode TShark utility and runs effortlessly on Windows, Linux, macOS, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD and many others. 

    Wireshark allows users to read live data from Ethernet, Bluetooth, USB, Frame relays and many others depending on the platform and enables decryption support for many protocols making it an instant hit amongst system admin tools.

    2. Notepad++ 

    Notepad++ is a free source code editor and Notepad replacement that runs in a MS Windows environment and uses only Win32 API and STL to ensure high execution speed and smaller program size. 

    By offering a comprehensive set of features such as syntax highlighting and folding, customizable GUI, autocompletion, file status auto-detection, multi-language support, as well as few basic features such as zooming, multi-view, bookmarking, drag & drop, playback and screen recording, this system administrator tool for windows is a power-packed solution for IT admins.

    Additionally, Notepad++ efficiently optimizes its processes to enable the CPU and PC to reduce power consumption, leading to lesser carbon dioxide emissions making it a global favorite.

    3. Clonezilla 

    Clonezilla is an open-source disk cloning tool that preserves and recovers hard disk data of one or several PCs. It is known for its system deployment, bare metal backup, and recovery. 

    It offers features such as multiple file system support, the ability to reinstall bootloader such as grub and syslinux, image encryption, multicast support, Bittorrent support amongst many others.

    This SysAdmin tool is especially beneficial for IT admins of large enterprises and school system administrators since they have to manage hundreds of laptops at once. Clonezilla’s cloning capabilities enable administrators to create a master disk image and deploy it onto multiple devices at once making it a time and effort-saving approach.

    4. PowerShell

    PowerShell is a cross-platform task automation solution that runs on Windows, Linux and macOS. It is a command-line shell and scripting language designed specially to automate the administration of the Windows operating system and all programs functioning in the Windows ecosystem and simplify configurations. 

    PowerShell has become one of the most popular SysAdmin tools owing to the efficient features that it provides such as managing access to a large number of files, setting up new machines, automating backups, adding new drives, updating security software and granting new user access to shared files.

    5. Scribe

    Scribe is an AI-powered tool that documents any process for you. IT professionals can turn even the most complicated process into an easy-to-follow visual procedure that helps you close support tickets, troubleshoot issues and execute jobs. 

    Scribe captures your screen to generate step-by-step guides complete with text and annotated screenshots.  Then, you can use Scribe’s AI feature to turn your workflows into training manuals and more.

    Scribe is a Chrome extension and desktop application that is fully secure. The tool uses OpenAI LLM APIs, with a strict set of limitations on how data can be used. Scribe doesn’t allow OpenAI to use your data to train our or their models. All data is discarded after 30 days, so it is processed but not stored by OpenAI and is only used for purposes of service provision.

    Easily capture and share Scribes via link, embed or exported to PDF, HTML or Markdown.

    6. 7-zip

    7-zip is a widely used high-performance award-winning open-source tool to compress and decompress files. It runs smoothly on several versions of Windows & Linux platforms. The 2 main reasons why system administrators use this tool is for compression to a normal zip format or to encrypt the compressed file. But apart from these features, here’s why most IT admins are driven towards this tool; it is free of charge and open for commercial use, it offers a high compression rate and it is compatible with the Windows ecosystem and uses a secure AES-256 file encryption system.

    Not only does it allow backup of files from external media such as USB, CDs and DVDs, but also provides a powerful file manager. Also, it is available in 87 different languages and provides technical support to its users making it one of the most popular choices.

    7. Keepass

    In today’s world, everything is password protected which means you have to remember hundreds of passwords for various websites, servers, email accounts and network log-ins. On an enterprise level, where one of the major responsibilities of system administrators is protecting the company’s security, password management stands to be a crucial factor. 

    Keepass is an open-source password manager, which stores all the password data on a single platform securely. The user is expected to set and remember only one master password for this tool which provides access to the complete database.

    8. Microsoft Teams

    IT admins are burdened with several tasks, many of which require seamless communication such as providing technical support, troubleshooting, hardware & software management amongst many others. It becomes critical to adopt an efficient team communication tool that ensures and streamlines workflow without extended downtime.

    Microsoft Teams has recently launched a free plan for small businesses. With favorable features such as online meetings, video conferencing, screen sharing, meeting recording, unlimited chats, guest access, file attachment up to 2GB per user and file sharing up to 10 GB as a whole, storage and sharing with One Drive, multi-factor authentication and much more, the free version of MS Teams is gaining momentum amongst SysAdmin tools. 

    Closing lines…

    These are just a handful of the hundreds of system administrator tools available for free. System administrators are tasked with designing the tech stack that is suitable for their company’s developmental requirements and future goals. Choosing and selecting the ideal set of tools is the first step towards improving your organization’s operations, reputation, and profits. 

    Shambhavi Awate
    Shambhavi Awate
    Shambhavi is a Senior Content Writer at Promobi Technologies with prior experience in commercial writing, creative planning, product cataloging, and content strategizing. She is a "Biotechnologist turned writer" and believes that the inception of great ideas happens over coffee.

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