Software

10 free tools that IT pros love

Introduction

By Gina Smith

These days, there's so much open source tech around and so much good will toward developers who provide great freeware, it's tough to sift through all the offerings. So with a little help from the CIOs and IT pros who write for my geeky techblog, aNewDomain.net, I rounded up the best freeware out there and put it through its paces. Here's a look at 10 freeware packages the techs I interviewed are in love with right now.

Note: If you'd prefer to view this information as a blog post, check out this entry in our 10 Things blog.

Photo credit: iStockphoto.com/porcorex

About

Gina Smith is a NYT best-selling author of iWOZ, the biography of Steve Wozniak. She is a vet tech journalist and chief of the geek tech site, aNewDomain.net.

28 comments
nstefi
nstefi

I also use CCleaner a lot. Another one which is a collection of free tools: LiberKey - the great thing about it is that all those apps in the collection are portable. Everything is categorized and you can update all apps at once. Another small and great tool for writing CDs/DVDs, creating ISO images and burning them back to CDs/DVDs is "UsefulUtils Discs Studio".

gmpblack
gmpblack

It thinks Windows 8 is Win 2000....:( No longer supported lol.

Peter Vogel
Peter Vogel

Notice my comment about the typo (or was it an email) didn't materialize, and that one was sent first thing this morning.

rperez
rperez

IT Tools? I wouldn't consider any to be IT Tools. Well maybe combofix. I would have expected to see a list similar to this - putty, kiwi, tftp server by solarwinds, fiddler, wireshark, sysinternals (process explorer, pstools), coreftp, easeus, auslogics disk defrag, etc. Fing...lol...what a bunch of horse dung.

zygote
zygote

This article should be called " 10 free things that home users could use". Since when was a planetarium an essential part of the IT Pros toolbox. Same could be said for all of the software here with the very slight possible exception of Fing! I doubt very much that the author has spent any significant time in IT. What a waste of space!

icy148
icy148

Seriously, I've heard arguments on both sides. Why is it better from your perspective?

garyrcris
garyrcris

In what way is the W7 search function better than XP? Entering a date range is slow, cumbersome, error-prone with the calendar page method. W7 searches the entire file contents, whether you want to or not, resulting in thousands of found files that contain the search string. W7 will not search (rather will not find anything) in the libraries. The W7 search function is a complete failure compared to XP search. I would like to find a good search function, but can't believe this review that Everything is good when preceded by the statement that the W7 search function is an improvement over XP search.

dale_wellman
dale_wellman

I have to agree with others, Jodie. I like your writings, but I think the title here is a misnomer. It would have been just fine to call it "10 Free Apps That I Love." Nobody would complain if you chose to mention such, and nobody would be expecting anything more "tool-ish" (if there is such a word).

jnyberg
jnyberg

I agree that Stellarium is off topic for IT professionals, BUT since the subject has been opened, I will comment. This program functions as a free controller and goto system for any telescope with setting circles. Two lines in the display tell the object's location two ways. Az/Alt tells the location for simple Azimuth Altitude mounts (like a cannon - back and forth and up and down), or a telescope that is polar aligned which uses Declination and Right Assentation numbers. The only input you need is your location on Earth within a mile. This is pretty easy with modern GPS. The telescope needs to be leveled and aimed north within 1/4 degree. Again, this is pretty easy for a geek. After that, using the program's built in catalogs and search functions, you can goto 50 or 60 objects in an evening. I run Stellarium on a netbook sitting on the trunk of my car. Most modern telescopes have these degree setting circles - with Stellarium, using the setting circles becomes a piece of cake. By the by, this makes a telescope a pretty impressive date activity. It is imperative when you promise the moon and the stars that you are able to deliver.

bonedog73
bonedog73

These aren't tools IT pros would use sorry. Don't know any IT pros that use any of these so called 'tools'. You're better off classifying Google as a tool.

Chuck L
Chuck L

I'm an IT pro, and I've heard of only one of the "tools" listed here. Maybe it's because I don't spend a lot of time looking at the stars online ...?

Ontario Canada
Ontario Canada

I use PDF Exchange (Tracker Software) it's fast and small like FoxIt but with lots of additional features. There's a free version and a paid version - but the free version works just fine for most of our users.

Bobbyajr
Bobbyajr

At least half of these 'tools' are nothing but toys. If you are going to use a headline like "... tools IT Pros Love" at least make it about tool and not toys.

delphi9_1971
delphi9_1971

Nmap is way better than Fing. Just sayin'

morris.levy
morris.levy

1. Stellarium -- don't care. Not helpful at all in my daily line of work. In fact, it's not even work-related! 2. Some, but few good suggestions here, but there seem to be many (better) alternatives to many of the apps listed here, free or licensed otherwise. I prefer Parallels Desktop 7 (you don't mention any or many Mac apps at all! CCleaner is for both systems now. What a waste of time.

bobijub
bobijub

for an it pro stellarium is just another eye-candy. for only a certain type of taste. or from now on an it pro also has to have a valid astrologer certification? a product with the name of installarium ..... maybe

kylehutson
kylehutson

- ComboFix is a fantastic malware remover, but it is slow, and the machine is unusable when running it. Also, there's no way I've found to just update it's detection & removal database, so you need to download a fresh copy every time you use it (unless you're using it multiple times per day). I use Microsoft Security Essentials to prevent infections, and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for 90% of the removals where MSSE fails. ComboFix is the last resort. - CCleaner is a fast and easy way to do many of the things that I used to do manually - clean out startup items, uninstall software, delete temp files, etc. - HDGraph is another one I use all the time. It creates a pie chart of where all your hard drive space is being used. It's great for finding out what program is eating all your hard drive space. - Others that bear mentioning: 7-zip, MWsnap, Network Notepad, PDFcreator, Wireshark, and WhoCrashed (free for private use, low-cost for business use)

Mark2.0
Mark2.0

I have in the past tried to use Foxit, but it still doesn't get the recognition of Adobe reader. Some sites that have template forms to filled out on line don't work and sites like the USPS won't work with Foxit either. Sorry, but Foxit just doesn't cut it.

RealPauper
RealPauper

Ninite is only free for the Installer, the Updater IS NOT FREE ... it's $9.99 per year for a single machine.

xtiinshaf
xtiinshaf

Please give a idea for save my 2 pen drives capacity 8gb that pen drives are prompting "write protected" error massage every where all pcs (windows xp and 7,server2003,2008 also). please give the idea to troubleshoot this error. Thanks M.Inshaf

Alex Kusuma
Alex Kusuma

Depend on your input device, you can either go to the bottom left of the screen, or short-swipe right-to-left on (around the middle of) the right hand side of your screen to get the bar with the start button on it.

ginasmith888
ginasmith888

rperez -- send us a comment -- put it on a similar story we have there, and we'll run tools IT pros love from outside our group. But do be kind. And I love Fing.

Jody Gilbert
Jody Gilbert

Hey guys, The author of this gallery is actually Gina Smith (the gallery defaulted to my name because I published the images). And as she says in the intro, she based her selection of tools on feedback from several IT pros who write for her blog. A list like this is going to be subjective, and nobody says you have to agree with someone else's picks. If you spot something you didn't know about and want to try out, great; if you want to share your own recommendations, even better. --Jody

Otis Driftwood
Otis Driftwood

Maybe they should stick to tried and true ways of doing things,or at least don't yell about having stuff IT Pros salivate for, cause these things are as described by BoBByajr,toys, and not even good ones.

Otis Driftwood
Otis Driftwood

Check some of the stuff those intrepid users of not really ware "write". Evidently now if you can run an editor you are suddenly a super talented writer! Give me 98SE and I'll throw a bunch of dos batchfiles to open in windows,golly! I'mma programer now! Lets see one of them write a simple bootstrap for say an old 486. Okay, so I use backorafice to remote administer because. (but not really.) Fr0ZeN KrU ChO5eN PhR0zEn. Sorry,but my post is the suck. Much like the....ahhh....whatevah!

Adam Lilland
Adam Lilland

Nitro does a lot of things that Foxit doesn't. It may do a better job for you. But Adobe has cleaned up its apps, and they're more streamlined, so I don't have so much compelsion to not use Adobe. But I still like Nitro because it's so lightweight and feel much more solid than Foxit.

sureshreuban
sureshreuban

Hi, please check in the windows registry for the following key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies To Disable Change/modify the WriteProtect value to 0. Thanks, Ruban Suresh