Blog: Software Utility

I was working on a few terminal servers that were extremely low on free disk space on a drive which also contained user profiles.  I came across a helpful tool called ICSweep from Ctrl-Alt-Del IT Consultancy and is freeware.  You can download it and other tools from

“ICSweep is a command-line utility to clear the Temporary Internet Files Cache and/or the TEMP files folder of ALL user profiles that are NOT in use when this command is executed.  This utility was written for the purpose of allowing a SINGLE command to identify and clear Temporary Internet Files Cache and/ or TEMP files of ALL user profiles currently NOT in use.” [more]

Windows Compatible - 2000\XP\2003\Vista\2008\7
Citrix Compatible - Metaframe\Presentation Server\XenApp

Simply extract the zip file then run ICSweep from a command prompt with one of the following command line switches:

  /ALL   -   Delete both Temporary Internet Files and Temp files
  /TIF   -   Delete Temporary Internet Files only (Default)
  /TMP   -   Delete Temp files only
  /SIZE  -   Report the size of both Temporary Internet Files
                and Temp files in each profile NOT in use. This
                switch will also report the total size of
                both Temporary Internet Files and Temp files NOT
                in use. It DOES NOT DELETE any files.

Again, note that this is best done when all users are off of the server.  On one of the servers I ran this utility on, it cleaned up 6 GB of space alone. and host old versions of many Windows and Mac programs. A recent example where this came in handy is this. Roboform's latest release no longer exports the full site URL. Roboform even changed the previous version so that it no longer has this feature either.  If you want to migrate to LastPass, you need those URLs. So the old version of Roboform is what you need. Another example is PRTG - It used to be very simple to install and set up. The most recent version is much more powerful, but you have so much setup to do just to do some simple monitoring. Of course, be careful running older versions because there may be security concerns.


For researching disk space usage I usually recommend the windirstat program (  One problem I had recently is related to the fact that no user, not even an administrator has access to the "System Volume Information" folder.  This folder contains the system restore points (on the C: drive) and probably other system stuff that you should not mess with. 

Since the tools we use to investigate disk space usage do not have access to "System Volume Information" folder, that folder is just missing from the display given.  However, windirstat has an option to turn on the display of "Missing" space.  This section will show the difference of the size of the disk minus the total of all files found.  A Windows Vista machine at a customer site was running out of space and this missing space was taking up most of it.  System Restore was enabled and the help text said it could take up to 15%.  I turned system restore off, rebooted, and the space came back.  I turned it back on, checked it a couple of times over the next week the "Missing" space did not seem to be growing.


If you have more than one domain controller and are trying to examine why an account keeps locking out (for example, after a password change), you can download a tool from Microsoft called LockoutStatus.exe.  This tool will help you analyze which Domain Controller the lockout happened against if there is more than one DC.  It will also list the time it happened so it can help speed up the process of examining the Security logs in the correct DC’s event logs. 

The tool can also be used to unlock accounts easily.  You must specify the name of the domain account that you are searching for.  [more]

Further information can be found here:


I am having trouble with my machine overheating. I found two useful tools to look at the temperature on the cores of the processor.  The programs are: 

RealTemp - This program will monitor the temperature on each of the cores (for any modern Intel processor) and also periodically log the results to a file.

Tpfancontrol - This is a program specifically for ThinkPads which shows the temperature and allows you to control the fan speed somewhat. It does show the fan speed and how it changes as the temperature on the cores change.


We probably all have many accounts set up on many web sites.  Since it is a very bad practice to use the same password on more that one site,  I have used Password Safe for years for keeping up with accounts and passwords.  I have recently switched to using Lastpass.  Lastpass has a very long list of features.  Here are a few of the features:

  • Automatic form filling, like Roboform
  • One click login - click on the site, it brings it up and logs on for you
  • Synchronizes everywhere - Windows, Mac, Linux, IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, even Symbian and Palm
  • Generates strong, secure passwords
  • Stores miscellaneous notes

Another great feature is a program called pocket.  This stand alone program will download your entire database and save it locally.  It will also decrypt it and export it to a CSV file.  This means if Lastpass ever goes away, you still have all your data which can be accessed or imported into another password manager.

The best feature is how it stores your data.  Everything is encrypted and decrypted locally and the Lastpass servers never have your key or unencrypted data.  The encryption part of the software is very simple.  It just uses a SHA256 hash of your email address (account) and master password for the encryption key. [more]

This is all free, except the mobile versions require a premium account which costs $12 per year.  There is a 14 day free trial of the mobile versions.

In an attempt to be fair, here are some other password managers.  You may prefer one of these over LastPass, which is what I use and recommend.  I used Password Safe for many years, but it is not multi-platform and there is no synchronization between machines.  KeePass is another nice one, but I have never used it.  Both of these are open source on sourceforge.

Here is a list of some online password managers, with some brief comments about why I did not choose each one (except for the AGPL license).  My "online only" comment means you must access the web site in order to use the passwords stored there.

  • (no longer supported)
  • (web site out of date, misspellings and grammatical errors, online only)
  • (cert expired, beta software, online only)
  • (designed for sharing passwords, subscription priced on number of passwords and shared users, online only)
  • (mainly designed for privacy, requires more setup, online only)
  • (either online only or purchase a portable app, does not seem to be maintained - web site from May 2007 said software on usb pendrive "soon available!" and it still says that today, based in Spain, web site not tls encrypted)
  • (online only, seems to beta, main web site not tls encrypted, most of the source is AGPL v3)


I had recently changed the administrator account at one of our IT consulting customer's sites, and I kept having the account lock out.  Usually this can happen if there are disconnected RDP sessions or services that explicitly run with the administrator’s old credentials.  It is not easy to tell where the lockouts are happening from, but I found some software that I was able to demo that displayed in real time when the account locked out and which computer caused it.  There were about three disconnected sessions that kept causing the lockouts to happen due to disconnected RDP sessions.  I would log off the disconnected session, and I  would see another lockout from a different PC soon after. [more]

This software helped me know where to look, and might be useful for some of our customers that deal with user accounts on a regular basis.  You can also unlock accounts through the console of this software.


I created a new tool to add to my arsenal of PGP recovery items. This came up when I really needed to do some file level work on a PC that wouldn’t boot and I couldn’t conduct a repair or get to the files because of the PGP whole disk encryption. I was able to take the Automated Installation Kit for Windows 7 and create a WinPE recovery ISO. From there, I found a PGP document ( that gave the steps as to how to inject the PGPWDE drivers in order to get authenticated.

Essentially, you can boot to this disk, run the command "pgpwde --disk 0 --auth -p <passphrase>" and from there, you can determine the encryption status, decrypt/encrypt disks, perform file level actions, add/remove passphrase users. One potential use for this, that I did not test, would be to boot to this disk, become authenticated, eject the disk and insert a Windows 7 installation disk, and perform a repair on the OS. The only potential problem I could see with this is if the Win 7 installation wrote over PGP’s MBR, but I’m sure that’s not too difficult to fix. In either case, it could potentially save a few hours of rebuilding time.


If you are not using 7-zip, you need to install it.  It will unzip just about anything, including install shield files, msi files, gzip files, tar files, rpm, deb, iso – over 20 different kinds of files.  It will create compatible compressed files, but it also has it’s own 7z format that has a higher compression ratio that zip.  It will make encrypted files and self-extracting executables with better encryption that regular zip.  Of course it’s open source, mostly LGPL.

Example:  The other day I needed to install a printer driver on a machine that a customer connects to with remote desktop.  HP had the humongous 205 MB download with all the utilities, but all I needed was the driver, so I downloaded the huge basic driver package, which was only 61 MB.  It was an executable, so I tried running it and it complained that the USB was not working while looking for the printer.  This was a virtual machine and I didn’t need USB.  I tried renaming the file to .zip and unzipping it using the Vista built in feature, but it could not read it.  So I installed 7-zip and was able to extract all the files and just install the driver. One more happy customer.


Desktop Restore is a free shell extension that records the position of desktop icons and lets you restore your favorite layout when things have been rearranged by things such as having the screen resolution change.  [more]

This is a context menu where you can save or restore the desktop but there is also a custom save/restore option that saves multi-monitor information: