My Top 10 So Far in 2010

This past year I have spent much time trying to work more efficiently and find excellent solutions for my clients that will not break the bank.  In my pursuit I have tested Linux and Windows software.  Some have been duds and others have been GOLD.  Below you will find my top ten for 2009 and receive David Shoffitt’s seal of approval.

XenServer – http://www.citrix.com

Wow.  Let me say it again, WOW.  Citrix has released a wonderful Virtualization Solution with a robust HyperVisor that allows companys to start a virutalization initiative at NO COST, provided that you have the hardware to run it on.WHen we first started trying it out we ran it on a PC class machine with a Core2Duo at 2.4 GHz.  We ran 6 servers on the small computer with no speed problems.  We then migrated them to an enterprise class environment.  We also converted 2 baremetal machines to virtual in the process all at no cost.  Let me say again WOW.  We have no need for VMWare at our business because we have a enterprise class solution at again no cost.  There are some added features that you can get that cost money like enhanced Storage Link Technologies, and email alerts and notifications, and rapid server provisioning which still would come in at a fraction of the cost of VMWares solutions. Cost :Free

True Crypt – http://www.truecrypt.org

I use this software on my laptop.  It works great!  I use preboot authentication so that if someone were to steal my laptop they would have to know a password that is well over 20 characters before they could access the files or even boot the computer.  My data issafe.  You can also create virtual HardDisks on your computer that are encrypted if you just want to encrypt some data but not all data.  I recently had corrupted my OS on my computer and was able to plug my HardDrive into another computer to recover my files.  The harddrive was not readable until I used the TrueCrypt software on my PC and mounted the drive as an encypted volume and then I was able to read it.  Very Powerful product. Cost :Free

Drop Box – http://www.dropbox.com

This is a nice synchronization tool that allows you to synchronize a folder on your computer with other computers over the internet.  Very useful!  Also it will allow you to go to the website and download your files directly in case you are not around any of your subscribing PCs or laptops. Cost :Free

CloneZilla – http://clonezilla.org/

In my line of work it is almost a daily necessity to take a point in time fully restorable backup of a PC before you potentialy kill it with some update or possible fix to resolve a problem that would require you to rebuild the computer.  Well with this software you can reapidly redeploy a computer with its configuration prior to when you formatted it along with all of the partitions that were on the harddrive originally. I like the version based on Ubuntu. Cost :Free

Ultimate Boot CD – http://www.ubcd4win.com/

The Ultimate Boot CD is a must have for any technician.  It will empower you to be able to reset the local admin password if you ever forget it.  It will also allow you to browse the HardDrive of a computer that is broken and allow you to fix partition tables and even copy files to a network resource or USB Drive. There are many, many more utilities on this disk that are useful for a technician.  Cost :Free

RichCopy – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.04.utilityspotlight.aspx

I often have the responsibility of moveing large numbers of files and large amounts of data from location to another and Windows File Copy rarely fits the bill.  What I have found is RichCopy which offers a large amount of options so that you can leverage multiple threads to copy more than one file at a time.  I love this tool and user atleast once a week! Cost :Free

USB to SATA –  http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2329300&CatId=3770

A wonderful tool that will allow you to hook your SATA or IDE HardDrive of another computer up to your computer via USB without having to open the case of your computer to use it..  Simple tool, great flexibility. Cost :~$20

CD Burner XP – http://cdburnerxp.se/

My favorite CD Burner application.  Can burn audio or data.  Can make ISOs and burn them too.  Everything I need a nice little package.  Cost :Free

FileZilla Server – http://filezilla-project.org/

FileZilla is a simple and robust FTP server that allows for Secure Encrypted FTP along with normal FTP.  The best thing about this software is that it comes with all the necessary bells and whistles to setup a small business FTP Server.  The big feature I would like to see would be Active Directory Lookups or LDAP Authentication.  Cost :Free

PrtScr – http://www.fiastarta.com/PrtScr

Nice and easy screen capture utility that allows you to do freeform captures and markups.  Cost :Free

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