May 14, 2007

Remote Administration: Tools of the Trade

For those of you out there that are system administrators, and for those of you that aspire to be system administrators, you probably know that without the ability to remotely administer a server or workstation, your life would be 100 times more difficult. Like in the early days of computers, you would physically have to move from computer to computer to do anything. They call that type of network, a "sneaker net" network because of all the walking.

I am going to mention a small, yet versatile set of free utilities that let you can use for free. Originally, these tools were developed by a man named Mark Russinovich. Many in the IT community know these tools came from Sysinternals. Like, most successful software companies, Microsoft bought them out. (If you can't beat 'em buy 'em).

These tools are still available by browsing to their old website (of course you get directed to Microsoft's servers), and they are still free of charge. There are a number of freeware utilities available on their site, but today I will only talk about PS Tools. PS Tools are a set of command line utilities that let you remotely "do stuff" on remote systems. You can also use these commands on local systems if need be. Below is a list of the tools, and what they do*:

•PsExec - execute processes remotely
•PsFile - shows files opened remotely
•PsGetSid - display the SID of a computer or a user
•PsInfo - list information about a system
•PsKill - kill processes by name or process ID
•PsList - list detailed information about processes
•PsLoggedOn - see who's logged on locally and via resource sharing (full source is included)
•PsLogList - dump event log records
•PsPasswd - changes account passwords
•PsService - view and control services
•PsShutdown - shuts down and optionally reboots a computer
•PsSuspend - suspends processes

Once you play with these utilities long enough, you begin to really see how useful they are. These tools really make it easy for automation as well Since they are command line tools, writing a quick batch file script is a snap! Check them out for yourself, and get to know them. They might just save yourself some time. Not to mention, everything looks cooler when you do it from command line!

*Taken directly from Microsoft's Website

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