20 great Windows open source projects you should get to know

A list of 20 great open source projects for Windows that will appeal to the management and maintenance of your network

Keyfinder

Yes, I've written about Keyfinder already, but it still belongs on this list. Keyfinder searches the registry of Windows and locates the product keys of software. The information can then be saved to a file or printed. Keyfinder is not a key generator (hey -- that's illegal), but it is a good basic software management program. You can use Keyfinder to track and compare software licensing. This serves as a great tool for re-installation of licensed applications in cases where you may have lost the physical license. For obvious reasons I am not showing my product key, but you can see from the screen shot that I can quickly find those keys as well as information about my Windows installation, like service pack level, registered owner and registered organization. The configuration file can be manually edited to locate more product keys, if you know where the key is located in the registry. It takes a little work on your part to configure. Nevertheless, if you need to manage software on a budget then here is the tool.

Angry IP Scanner

Here is a tool I found when I had people coming in and out of my environment. Laptop users and vendors were coming and going every day. Management wouldn't let me lock down the network or spend a dime on securing it at the time. So I had Angry IP Scanner running constantly. It is a very easy-to-use tool for monitoring IP addresses based upon subnets. You can scan and report on hostnames, open ports, ping response time and more. You can also launch tools for your hosts like Telnet, Web browsers, tracert, and FTP. That's a lot of functionality for a little package. I have always found this tool to be a great way to know who is really on my network, unlike some built in utilities, like the DHCP server or my Network Places in Windows. I once had a major piece of accounting software that would cause the browser service to stop responding properly. When I went to look at the network, half the machines that were there would not show up in my Network Places. Angry IP Scanner gave me a quick way to check on my client PC's and know what was going on in my environment.

I have been in IT over a decade. To some, I'm a babe in this business and to others, I'm a dinosaur. Either way I have learned though the years that IT people are not too different from doctors. Of course when our patients die no one cries, well, except the user who just loss hours of work, or the business owner who thought they had no real need of a disaster recovery/business continuance plan. Like doctors, we have different tools at our disposal and some overlap in functionality. Knowing what to use at the right time and having a variety of resources is the difference between success and failure. I hope this list will help to add to your arsenal and give you "A Better Windows World."

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