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By Brien Posey August 2, 2010 Over the years, Microsoft has given us a staggering number of tools to help with server administration. Since there are so many tools available, I decided to talk about some of my favorites.
1: System Center Capacity Planner
It might seem strange to start out by talking about a tool that Microsoft has discontinued. But I've found System Center Capacity Planner (Figure A) to be so helpful, I wanted to mention it anyway. In case you are not familiar with this tool, it's designed to help make sure your proposed server deployment will be able to handle the anticipated workload. According to Microsoft, the System Center Capacity Planner is being replaced by the System Center Configuration Manager Designer (which I have not yet had a chance to use). The end of life announcement for System Center Capacity Planner indicates that it is no longer available, but at the time of this writing, you can still download it from TechNet, as well as from other third-party sites.
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This means that any management tasks that can be performed through the GUI can also be performed from the command line or performed through a PowerShell Script. Figure B 3: Best Practices Analyzer The Best Practices Analyzer(Figure C) isn't really a single tool.10 must-have Windows server tools 2: PowerShell Microsoft's Server products have evolved to the point that you can perform almost any administrative action from the command line by using PowerShell (Figure B). SQL. Inc. Small Business Server. TechRepublic is a registered trademark of CNET Networks. and other Microsoft server products. Most of the newer Microsoft Server products include management tools that are actually built on top of PowerShell. a CBS Company.html . Inc For more downloads and a free TechRepublic membership. please visit http://techrepublic. but rather a series of tools designed to analyze your server deployments and ensure that they adhere to Microsoft's recommended best practices.com/2001-6240-0.com. You can download PowerShell 2.. Figure C Page 2 Copyright © 2010 CNET Networks. All rights reserved. Microsoft provides versions of the Best Practices analyzer for Exchange.0 from Microsoft.
a CBS Company. TechRepublic is a registered trademark of CNET Networks. ADSI Edit is similar: It gives you free rein over Active Directory.html .com/2001-6240-0. Figure E Page 3 Copyright © 2010 CNET Networks. please visit http://techrepublic. It analyzes the way in which your servers are configured and then recommends how you can change various aspects of the configuration to make them more secure. 5: ADSI Edit Figure D Another of my favorite tools is ADSI Edit (Figure E). you can use ADSI Edit to get rid of the folders that the Exchange Server management tools leave behind. I have found ADSI Edit most useful for working with Exchange Server deployments. but if you use it incorrectly..com. Whenever someone asks me about ADSI Edit. All rights reserved.10 must-have Windows server tools 4: Security Configuration Wizard The Security Configuration Wizard is designed to help you to reduce the attack surface of your servers. you can destroy Windows. The Security Configuration Wizard is included with Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Inc For more downloads and a free TechRepublic membership. Inc. but you can also download a Windows Server 2003 version. The registry editor allows you to manually change various configuration parameters within a system. ADSI Edit allows you to manually edit the Active Directory database. but if you make a mistake you can destroy it. I usually compare it to the registry editor. When this happens. It is sometimes impossible to remove Exchange public folders through conventional means.
a CBS Company. Server Core Configurator (Figure G) is an open source tool written by Guy Teverovsky.com/2001-6240-0.. it's worth its weight in gold because it allows you to do some amazing things. Microsoft offers some PowerShell scripts.particularly with regard to Active Directory replication. Inc. you can export all the user accounts from a domain and then use the resulting text file to create those same user accounts in a different domain. You can access it by entering LDIFDE in a command prompt window. But it has gotten me out of a couple of jams. server hardware continues to improve. The DCDIAG utility (Figure F). you have to be careful when using this tool because you can really mess up your Active Directory if you use it incorrectly. which is included with Windows Server. Inc For more downloads and a free TechRepublic membership.com. Even so. The Microsoft File Server Migration Wizard (which is included in the File Server Migration Toolkit) helps organizations merge the contents of aging file servers into DFS root. please visit http://techrepublic. you must perform certain post installation tasks before the server is ready to use. For example. However. 8: LDIF Directory Exchange The LDIF Directory Exchange utility isn't exactly a tool I use every day. problems do occasionally occur -.10 must-have Windows server tools 6: DCDIAG Although domain controllers are usually fairly reliable. LDIF Directory Exchange is a command-line tool for importing and exporting Active Directory objects. As with ADSI Edit.html . The Server Core Configurator simplifies the provisioning process by providing a simple GUI you can use for the initial configuration. there is one third-party tool I want to mention. Page 4 Copyright © 2010 CNET Networks. 9: Server Core Configurator So far. The LDIF Directory Exchange utility is built into Windows Server. so I wanted to include it on my list of favorite tools. Any time you perform a server core installation of Windows Server 2008. all the tools I've talked about are provided by Microsoft. Figure F 7: Microsoft File Server Migration Wizard As time goes on. TechRepublic is a registered trademark of CNET Networks. lets you run a full series of diagnostic tests against malfunctioning domain controllers. All rights reserved. Windows will display the command's full syntax along with the various commandline switches you can use. Some organizations are finding that they can decrease management costs by consolidating their aging file servers. but performing the initial configuration process from a command line can be tedious.
html . a CBS Company.. Figure G Figure H Page 5 Copyright © 2010 CNET Networks. TechRepublic is a registered trademark of CNET Networks. All rights reserved. Inc For more downloads and a free TechRepublic membership.com. Inc. please visit http://techrepublic.10 must-have Windows server tools 10: Microsoft Application Compatibility Manager The Microsoft Application Compatibility Manager (Figure H) is part of the Application Compatibility Toolkit.com/2001-6240-0. It's designed to ease the transition from one version of Windows to the next by compiling an inventory of the applications running on your desktops and determining whether each one is compatible with the new version of Windows.
html .0 Published: August 2. Please take a minute to drop us a line and tell us how well this download worked for you and offer your suggestions for improvement. or Mac machines 10 obscure antivirus tools worth checking out 10 cool tools in Windows 7 Version history Version: 1. Inc For more downloads and a free TechRepublic membership.com/2001-6240-0.10 must-have Windows server tools Additional resources TechRepublic's Downloads RSS Feed Sign up for the Downloads at TechRepublic newsletter Sign up for our 10 Things Newsletter Check out all of TechRepublic's free newsletters 10 Linux rescue tools for recovering Linux.. a CBS Company. Inc. please visit http://techrepublic. Thanks! —The TechRepublic Content Team Page 6 Copyright © 2010 CNET Networks. we need your feedback. TechRepublic is a registered trademark of CNET Networks. All rights reserved. Because we're continually looking for ways to improve the usefulness of these tools. Windows.com. 2010 Tell us what you think TechRepublic downloads are designed to help you get your job done as painlessly and effectively as possible.
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