Top 7 Free Tools for System Administrators

  • May 26, 2021

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

A guide for system admin tools
Tools for System Administrators

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. Image to Text

 Administrators have to deal with a lot of paperwork, and quite a huge amount of it is literal physical paperwork. IT admins have to deal with that and then file it in a digital form for record keeping.
Filing a physical document as a scanned image is not good because the document cannot be edited or manipulated in any way. Manually transcribing them is a problem because of the sheer effort involved. So, IT admins can utilize this Image to Text tool to do it for them.
Even without any scripting involved, this online tool will massively improve the time it takes to convert a physical document to a digital one. It further gives the option to make necessary changes in the converted text as well. Administrators can then download the TXT file of the output and save it for future use. This tool is free to use, and allows multiple image inputs at once—you can increase the limit by upgrading to premium— and can extract text from images of handwriting as well.  

3. 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 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

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. To reduce video file size use Adobe Media Encoder.

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. 

Thousands of businesses rely upon Scalefusion for managing their mobile device, desktops, laptops and other endpoints

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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