The 10 best admin tools for Windows Server

Manage, find, optimize and secure with OpenSource and Freeware. Administrators of Windows servers, can solve problems faster and run servers more stable with a few additional tools. The best tools are free of charge, in many cases can be used without installation and increase the security and stability in the network. A look at the ten essential admin tools in this article is worthwhile.

With these free tools admins keep the Windows server under control

Administrators who manage web servers, or developers who develop programs for IIS, should look into Fiddler. Also interesting are the developer tools in IE 10, which call administrators via F12. The tools display the source code for a page and help with error analysis, for example if a page takes a long time to load. The Network tab allows you to check page load times to determine which areas of a website are slowing down loading.

  • Tool 1: Using the developer tools in IE 10 when connecting to IIS 8 helps solve performance issues
  • Tool 2: Fiddler is easy to use: Start Fiddler, select “File/Import Sessions”. Call the option “IE’s F12 NetXML” and then the saved file.
  • Tool 3: If administrators want to find errors in the network or make sure that everything is working, the AD Replication Status Tool can quickly and easily display the replication status of all domain controllers.
  • Tool 4: Veeam Explorer for Exchange can access Exchange EDB files and read individual objects. Administrators can restore individual objects. The tool is available for free and is also compatible with Exchange 2013.
  • Tool 5: With Veeam Backup Free Edition, administrators can also backup virtual servers over the network to a packed file. They can also use the tool to restore virtual servers to another Hyper-V host.
  • Tool 6: The Windows Performance Toolkit consists primarily of three tools: Xperf.exe, Xperfview.exe, and Xbootmgr.exe. Administrators first measure performance using the Xperf.exe command-line tool by giving the tool several options at startup. During analysis, the tool saves a trace file that is later analyzed with Xperfview.exe.
  • Tool 7: Veeam One monitors the performance of virtualization hosts and their virtual servers for free. Administrators can see problems at a glance and also receive suggestions for improvement.
  • Tool 8: With the Live-CD Backtrack you can perform extensive network analyses. The collection is based on Linux. The focus is on the analysis of security holes.
  • Tool 9: With the Security Compliance Manager, administrators create templates for group policies with which servers and workstations can be optimally secured. The settings are created in the tool and then distributed via group policies.
  • Tool 10: The CMDlet get-sdmgphealth can analyze in the PowerShell which group policies are implemented on clients and if the settings work. The source DC is also displayed.

Using the developer tools in IE 10 when connecting to IIS 8 helps to solve performance problems.

In order to analyze a page later, the output can also be saved. However, to perform an analysis, the saved .xml file cannot be read into the IE development tools. But the freeware tool Fiddler is available for this purpose.

If several domain controllers are in use, they must be able to replicate among each other. If problems occur, Microsoft helps with the AD Replication Status Tool.

Data backup and performance analysis

Companies that use virtual servers should take a look at the tools from Veeam. For example, Veeam Explorer for Exchange can recover individual objects from Exchange databases. The tool is optimized for virtual servers. Starting with version 7, Veeam Explorer for Exchange is also compatible with Exchange Server 2013. Veeam Backup Free Edition backs up virtual servers for free. The tool is compatible with Hyper-V and VMware.

Another tool from Veeam is Veeam One. This free tool can monitor virtual servers and virtualization hosts.

With the free Windows Performance Toolkit from Microsoft, administrators can measure system performance and troubleshoot performance issues. With the toolkit, administrators can measure performance bottlenecks, as well as application startup problems and delays.

Security in Windows networks

With the free live Linux distribution, administrators can scan their network for vulnerabilities. The Linux version is specifically designed to uncover vulnerabilities in networks and includes numerous tools for analysis and testing. The download takes place as ISO file. To test networks, administrators download the ISO file of the security distribution and burn it as an image on a DVD.

If companies want to optimally secure their servers, this works in Windows networks mainly via group policies. Templates and tools help to better secure the system. Microsoft offers the free tool Microsoft Security Compliance Manager (SCM).

Administrators can download the free Group Policy Health cmdlet from the SDM Software website. After they include the cmdlet in the PowerShell, administrators can use the Get-SDMGPHealth -computer command to verify that set Group Policy Health works.