CheapWare: Our Readers' Picks

Network Computing readers submit their favorite IP scanners, spam blockers, text editors and protocol analyzers.

December 13, 2003

9 Min Read
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 • Adrem's FreeCon - Similar to NetWare's RCONSOLE, it uses eDirectory authentication and can work over TCP/IP or IPX/SPX.
Submitted by Don Brill

MagikDHCP - Nice little DHCP server for my laptop ghost server.

slimftpd, Whitsoft Dev. - A cheap way to get an ftp server on my desk from remote file access. ($6.95)

RealVNC, AT&T - It is an excellent tool to remote into my machine through our secure VPN or to remote control servers from my desk.
All 3 Submitted by Keith Granholm

PUTTY - Wonderful telnet and SSH client for Windows. It's fast, full functioned and free. What more can you say?
Submitted by both Paul Begley and Robert Rittenhouse

FreePing - Lets you monitor a list of remote devices (by pinging) and lets you know if they are not responding. It is a quick and easy solution for getting a heads up when something is wrong.
Submitted By Kevin Wood

Programmers' File Editor - Great basic file editor. I use it to open and view database and ASCII transfer files that are too large for Notepad-type editors. PFE can move by line, by location within the line, etc. I have opened files with over 6 million lines and not stalled out. Other, better editor/viewers may exist, but PFE is free!

Submitted By Roger Thayer

Irfanview by Irfan Skiljan -- A small, fast, free image viewer that can open nearly any file format imaginable - old or new - including multimedia files. Among its many other features, it has command line batch conversion.
Submitted By Nelson Bliek

Antiword -- Allows me to read Word docs without using Word.

Submitted By Dave Remien

OpenOffice - Handles Microsoft Office documents without any license.

iFolder, Novell - I use it to keep my IE bookmarks synchronized and manage some important note files. 10 MB for free.
Both Submitted By Gregg Nicholas

Agent Ransack - It replaces Windows' START menu Find command with much faster and more flexible file searching, including regular expressions (with a wizard to help one build them). It's Freeware, though a shareware version with added features is also available. I use it mostly because of its amazing speed.
Submitted By Bill Herdle

AboutTime by Arachnoid - This little time sync tool is simple and works great. Good app to keep your clock tickin' with the world without the fuss of trying to make windows time sync work properly.
Submitted By Greg Moore

MetaPad - Drop-in replacement for Notepad in Windows. It's as fast as Notepad, but with more features and more flexible.

Submitted By Paul Begley

PDF995 - It's a free program that will turn any document into an Adobe PDF. It has a pop-up ad after every attempt to create a PDF, but you can pay $10 to turn that off.
Submitted By Michael Jolly

File splitter Deluxe - Take any large file, split it up for backup or emailing, then the recipient can easily put it back together.
Submitted By John Dawson

NextStart and Workshelf by Winstep Software Technologies - A clean, themed desktop for Windows. It's easy to configure and great for organizing.

Programmers Notepad by Echo Software - Another excellent text editor for Windows with syntax highlighting, hex editor, project definitions, and a lot more.

Crimson Editor by Ingyu Kang - An excellent text editor for Windows with syntax highlighting, output window, FTP, and a lot more.
All 3 Submitted By Bill Bray

Xxcopy - To selectively back up mutually exclusive sets of files in one folder to separate folders, plus delete non-current files in the destination.
Submitted By Brian P. KimAD-Aware - I use Ad-Aware to clean the registry, cookies, and files of a PC that has been inundated with various Internet marketing malware.
Submitted by Brent Nichols

SpamBayes, SpamBayes open source project - Effective, easy to set up, stops Spam, learns from my actions. Plus it's free.
Submitted by David Wilkins

Ella for Spam by Open Field Software - My ISP and company do a pretty good job of blocking Spam, but they can't keep up with all the junk. This Outlook plug in takes care of the stuff that gets through the other filters. And they just dropped the price to $19.95! Not quite free, but it's worth it given the aggravation it saves me.
Submitted By George Roberts

Security Explorer, Small Wonders Software - Helps ease management of security.

Submitted By Jonathon Fulkerson

Popup Stopper - It's easy to toggle on and off. The freeware version works great for my needs.

Spybot Search & Destroy - It's a solid tool that I use regularly to clean up the junk and spyware left by other tools and programs. I recommend it to all my clients to use and support Patrick!
Both Submitted By Richard Nicolaus

Password Safe - Saves passwords, account numbers, etc. in a cryptographically secure way. There are lots of utilities that do this, but Password Safe was developed by competent cryptographers (Bruce Schneier and Counterpane) and is now maintained by the open source community, so its credentials are the best in the business.
Submitted By Bill Herdle

Samba - Samba is a wonderful package for companies (like us) who run *nix servers and windows desktops. It enables our windows systems to perform file-sharing services on the *nix servers. I also perform all of our desktop backups using smbclient, which comes with most typical samba installations. Using smbclient, I send the backups to archive files on a Linux server.

Netatalk by Anders Brownworth - Netatalk lets a Unix machine supply Appletalk print and file services on a LAN. When my old NT server died recently, I was able to replace the file sharing services using Samba on a Linux machine. But I also needed a way for our 2 MAC users to share files on the network. Using the netatalk rpm, I was able to install, configure and get MAC file sharing services working within about 15 minutes!

Both Submitted By Lori Homsher

ethereal - A fantastic free, multi-platform network protocol analyzer. I like it because it is the same on windows and Linux/UNIX. It decodes lots of protocols, has useful packet filtering and is free. It installs in minutes and I use it to find all sorts of network protocol problems.
Submitted By John McDermott

LanPulse Monitor Lanpulse - Excellent graphical network monitor, only $160.

Submitted By Chris Herman

NWCopy, shareware by Nick Payne Synchronize files and Novell rights.
Submitted By Gregg Nicholas

Mailenable SMTP/POP3/IMAP4 mailserver - Why spend big bucks to buy a good, robust email system when you can download a free server for Windows NT/2000/XP server that's better than just about anything else out there! The professional version is only $199, cheap in comparison to Exchange server. It's got black list reference capability, multiple domains, web mail services, and a super simple user interface. Their support is great, too.
Submitted Greg Moore

Tobias Oetiker's MRTG - The only way to graphically monitor your world. Where else can you watch network traffic, free disk space and the volume of your beer keg!

The Ethereal Packet sniffer - The best of the packet sniffers.
Both Submitted By Peter Baker

tera-term pro - Great console and network emulator with easy scripting language.

Submitted By B O'Connor

NetMailBot by ExclamationSoft - Easy and powerful command-line email utility for Windows - great for automation.
Submitted By Tim Hodgson

EZaudit - To Audit Computers for IPs, Hardware and Software installed. License is per site so it is extremely affordable.
Both Submitted By Jonathon Fulkerson

Filecheckmd5 - Specify a folder to scan recursively, save MD5 checksums, and then be able to test those same checksums against those files at a future date. The idea is to have this on the root folder of a CD-ROM so that the disc can be tested for defects, giving a definitive answer to the "is it just my computer" question when someone runs into a problem with their CD.
Submitted by Danny Jensen

SnagItby TechSmith - Use to document system administration procedures.

Blat - Use to e-mail notifications from Windows Server scripts.

Both Submitted by R E AldridgeAngry IP Scanner, Angryziber Software - We use it to scan IP ranges on our network and to keep track of IPs in use and which computers are using the IPs. It is a free util.

Sam Spade - Network query tool. I use it when debugging SPAM problems, test SMTP relays and other networking functions. Great tool!
Submitted By Paul Begley

TreeSize Professional - Used for documenting disk usage on servers, especially for identifying those using excessive disk space.
Submitted by R E Aldridge

Angry IP scanner - Scans network for IP addresses in a specified range.
Submitted By Michael Jolly

Gimp - One of the finest Windows or Linux graphic manipulation applications ever. Gimp easy rivals Photoshop. At $0.00, you cannot go wrong. Take the time to learn it. It is not an ultra simple photo editor that you get with your OS (on windows) or your scanner. This is an amazing piece or software.

Kool Moves - A flash movie maker that I use at work on my windows machine. It offers a couple modes (beginner or advanced user), and exports to flash movie formats. For $40 buck, you can't go wrong.

Quanta A great HTML, XHTML, CSS and PHP editor. I tried it because I upgrade my computer to Linux Mandrake 9.1 recently and found that Quanta had improved dramatically. The PHP piece is invaluable because it keeps track of you curly braces for you.
All 3 Submitted By Chris Shockley

Microsoft's Scriptomatic - Free from their website and part of the Windows .NET Server Resource Kit, it makes generating otherwise typically stolen WSH / WMI / VBscripts a breeze. I found it originally trying to devise a simple way for a ludite Win2K user to change their IP settings without hosing anything else.
Submitted By Ray Maslanka

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