Blog: Software Utility

NTFS Undelete is a free software utility that recovers deleted files that are no longer in the recycle bin.  Of course, you're hoping something hasn't overwritten any of the deleted file.  An ISO image is also provided if you want to run NTFSUndelete from a CD rather than installing the program after deleting a file.  (The ISO image is not bootable, just used to run NTFSUndelete from the CD.) [more]

The user interface is easy to understand and there are some helpful advanced search options (date, size filters as well as file names, etc.)



My favorite live CD is SystemRescueCd  This includes Petter Nordahl-Hagen’s chntpw. It also includes gparted, partimage, ntfs-3g file system (safe, reliable, writable ntfs), clam antivirus.  It auto-detects many kinds of hardware and even connects to WPA access points.  You can put it on a small USB drive and create a backing store, so that it retains changes made.  You can even install additional packages and customize it.  It also contains boot images of several other programs, like dban, freedos, memtest+, aida hardware analysis and diagnostic tool.  You can also add additional applications to SystemRescueCd that aren't included by default, so I added spinrite to my copy.


If you google ‘netscan’, it will usually be the first or second hit (  In the past I've mostly used LANguard and LANspy as my subnet-scanning utils, but lately I've been using SoftPerfect more.  It is free, lightweight (around 700k), and is a stand-alone EXE, so no install needed.  It’s easy to quickly download to a client’s server in a pinch.  It will auto-detect the local subnet and has lots of useful scanning options.  You can see IP, MAC, OS-version, logged-on user, domain, SNMP, open ports, shares, etc.  Two of it’s slicker features are right-clicking a 'found' system to remotely shutdown/reboot (can send a broadcast message first) and right-clicking a file-share to explore the share and/or map a drive to it.  You can pick current or custom credentials to scan under.  It is multi-threaded and scans pretty fast.  Lastly, you can tell by the changelog that it gets updated often (already updated for Win7/Server08r2).


Sdelete is a small useful utility by Mark Russinovich that will perform a secure delete within Windows.  In addition to deleting files and folders it has an option to cleanse free space on the disk.  This came in very handy when I needed to clean up a PC but couldn’t rebuild it.

You can download the utility and find lots of good information about how this works at


During a recent information security audit, I ran across a “unified threat management” system that I had not seen before called Untangle (  The bank was using it in place of a traditional firewall.  According the Untangle website, the Untangle Gateway is “the world’s first commercial-grade open source solution for blocking spam, spyware, viruses, adware and unwanted content on the network, provides a free and better alternative to costly, inflexible proprietary appliances.”  The interesting part is that the gateway runs on Linux and all the “modules” (firewall, IPS, web content blocker, etc.) are open source downloads, so the gateway is a free download.  Additionally, the source code for the Untangle gateway is available for download. [more]

You can choose to pay for certain modules such as Untangle support, an Active Directory connector, Kaspersky virus blocker, etc..  However, the rest of the modules can be downloaded and installed from a very simple GUI for free.  So far, I have not been able to find any major vulnerabilities or issues with this software.  Their target market is small to medium businesses that don’t want to pay the big bucks for Cisco, SonicWall, and other proprietary appliances.

Untangle also makes another product called “Re-Router” that is a network gateway/proxy server that runs in background on a Windows XP workstation.


WinDirStat, Windows Directory Statistics, has been around a long time and is still being updated.  WinDirStat is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for Microsoft Windows.  Some of us have used Spacemonger, which presents a treemap view of disk usage.  Spacemonger’s biggest advantage over WinDirStat is that it is faster.  Here are some advantages that WinDirStat has over Spacemonger:

  • Displays directories and files in a hierarchal list.
  • Easy analysis by file type – a pane lists them, and it will highlight all files of that type in the treemap view.
  • Color coding based on file type.
  • You can just only scan a folder (I have used subst with Spacemonger many times). [more]

I suggest you just try it out and start clicking on stuff.  Be sure to check the configuration options (you will want to turn off the Pacman Animation).

The most recent version is packaged as an installer. However, I actually extracted the files and it runs fine.


I have been using an application launcher called AppRocket for years.  I have now switched to Find And Run Robot (FARR) (  It is a great timesaver to run an application launcher instead of navigating through menus or spending hours setting up special shortcuts, etc.  Here are a few features that I think make FARR superior to other methods of launching programs and documents. [more]

  • It does not build an index beforehand, so it is always up to date.  You can arrange the order of the directories it searches, so the rarely used ones will be searched last.  As soon as it finds a match for what you have entered, you can launch it.
  • It uses rules to determine the order matches appear, such as recently launched items get a higher rating.
  • It has a plugin system and many plugins have been written, such as one to search your clipboard history, firefox/opera plugins.
  • Aliases can be set up so that parameters can be passed – the selected text passed to search engine, for example.

Software from Donation Coder is free but supported by donations.


Using a clipboard manager can really save time and make working on a computer easier.  I have been using a free open source application named Ditto.

Here are some of the key features:

  • Easy to use interface
  • Search and paste previous copy entries
  • Keep multiple computer's clipboards in sync [more]
  • Data is encrypted when sent over the network
  • Accessed from tray icon or global hot key
  • Select entry by double click, enter key or drag drop
  • Paste into any window that excepts standard copy/paste entries
  • Display thumbnail of copied images in list
  • Full Unicode support (display foreign characters)
  • UTF-8 support for language files (create language files in any language)
  • Uses sqlite database (


ZoomIT, is a presentation product that allows you to zoom in on a particular part of the screen during presentations… OR, to enlarge a part of the screen for readability.  This was written by the same people who wrote the sysinternals products and is available on the Microsoft download site. I saw it used extensively by many of the Microsoft presenters at TechED 2008. [more]

You can also annotate the screen during presentations by drawing graphics with the mouse or writing text to the screen.

Click here to visit the download page.


I have a two computers on my desk that I use regularly.  My desktop, which is my main computer, and a laptop.  Whenever I'm doing work on both, burning CDs, downloading updates, etc., I find it a pain to switch between a mouse and a full-size keyboard to a trackpad and mini-keyboard.

Thankfully, there is a program that solved my dilemma.  The solution I found is an open source project named Synergy (  It even lets you share between computers with different operating systems, so you could share the same mouse and keyboard between computers running Windows, Linux, and a Mac. [more]

From the Synergy website:

Synergy lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems, each with its own display, without special hardware. It's intended for users with multiple computers on their desk since each system uses its own monitor(s).

Redirecting the mouse and keyboard is as simple as moving the mouse off the edge of your screen. Synergy also merges the clipboards of all the systems into one, allowing cut-and-paste between systems. Furthermore, it synchronizes screen savers so they all start and stop together and, if screen locking is enabled, only one screen requires a password to unlock them all. Learn more about how it works.