Category: Storage


Link to web resources to map home drive on Windows computers:

– AD user account properties

– GPO settings: group policy setting called “Set user home folder” and is found under Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > System > User Profiles.

http://www.grouppolicy.biz/2012/07/how-to-set-users-home-folder-via-group-policy-in-windows-8/

https://community.spiceworks.com/how_to/83883-configure-user-home-folders-and-folder-redirection

– GPO preferences

http://www.alexcomputerbubble.com/using-group-policy-preferences-gpp-to-map-user-home-drive/

 

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Link to the resources to map network drives using GPO preferences:

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/askds/2009/01/07/using-group-policy-preferences-to-map-drives-based-on-group-membership/

 

 

 

 

 

Free tools for Windows sysadmins:

– Registry editor and comparison, replace: regedt33.exe: https://sourceforge.net/projects/regedt33/

– AD security: adsecurity.org  ; http://www.dsinternals.com ; http://www.pingcastle.com

– Powershell windows forensics: https://github.com/Invoke-IR/PowerForensics  and  https://github.com/gfoss/PSRecon and https://github.com/davehull/Kans

– Memory forensics: http://www.volatilityfoundation.org/

– Crowdstrike free tools: http://www.crowdstrike.com/community-tools/index.html

– McAfee foundstone free tools: http://www.mcafee.com/us/downloads/free-tools/index.aspx

– Trousse de secours Windows sur cle USB: http://wp.me/p15Zft-wU

– Net tools and forensic tools for windows : http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/ipnetinfo.html
– System and performance: CCleaner,recuva,defragler,speccy from pirisoft: https://www.piriform.com/products
– Windows 8 or Server  2012 start menu (GUI): http://www.classicshell.net/
– New Microsoft network monitor called MESSAGE ANALYZER (GUI): http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40308
– ESET Sysinspector: http://www.eset.com/us/download/utilities/ (is a convenient utility for the tool box of every IT expert and first responder)
– Qualys browsercheck: https://browsercheck.qualys.com/  (check internet browser vulnerabilities)
– Secunia personal inspector: http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/personal/download_psi/ (scanner application’s vulnerabilities)
– TrueCrypt. Is disk encryption software: http://www.truecrypt.org/
– Keepass. To remember passwords: http://keepass.info/
– Putty, FileZilla, WinSCP, XMing (free Xserver), MobaXterm (free Xserver and SSH): Unix tools for Windows
– Remote Desktop managers: mRemoteNG, Remote Desktop manager
– Ophcrack is a free Windows password cracker based on rainbow tables: http://ophcrack.sourceforge.net/
– Anti-malware free Malwarebytes (GUI): http://www.malwarebytes.org/
– Inventory tool that performs hardware scanning, software scanning, and Active Directory (AD) reporting (GUI):  www.lansweeper.com
– DNSdataview (GUI): www.nirsoft.net/utils/dns_records_viewer.html
– WinDirStat (GUI): http://windirstat.info
– Archiving and compression 7-zip  (GUI): www.7-zip.com
– Compare content files: ExamDiff  (GUI):  www.prestosoft.com/edp_examdiff.asp
– File Recovery (GUI): PC inspector File recovery   and    easeUS data recovery
– System Information for Windows and benchmarks (Gathers detailed information about a computer’s system properties, settings, and displays, benchmarks):
        – SIW  (GUI)
        – AIDA  (GUI)
        – Everest  (GUI):
– HDTune: GUI – simple disk IO utility
– Unlock DLL: GUI to unlock DLLs in use (c.f unlocker utility on internet)
– AD queries builder with powershell and powershell editor  (GUI): http://www.powergui.org
– AD reports and ldap builder (GUI): http://www.maxpowersoft.com/
– AD change reporter (GUI): www.tinyurl.com/cph99tu
– AD object restore wizard (GUI): www.tinyurl.com/kv83sh9
– Inactive users tracker (GUI): www.tinyurl.com/xv83dsf
– Netmork Monitoring (GUI): http://www.spiceworks.com/, or quest scriptlogic free utility called sl360
– Disk space monitor (GUI): www.tinyurl.com/zksfuw
– Bulk password reset (GUI): www.tinyurl.com/cxc3t4d
– Windows service monitor (GUI): www.tinyurl.com/dakjw32
– Vmware change reporter (GUI): www.tinyurl.com/dsdz44
– File server change reporter (GUI): www.tinyurl.com/bhd3k2b
– Password expiration notifier (GUI): www.tinyurl.com/kbwu34z
– USB blocker (GUI): www.tinyurl.com/awqc4p3
– Free disk analysis tool (Gui): www.northern-utilities.com  ; Find out how much of your storage capacity is being wasted on unwanted files
– Netbook Hardware control (GUI): www.pbus-167.com
– Sysinternal Tools (CMD/GUI): www.microsoft.com/sysinternals
 – www.joeware.net (CMD)
www.netikus.com (CMD/GUI)
www.solarwinds.com
– OpenSSH (Gui, Cmd: www.openssh.com )
– OpenVPN (GUI, Cmd: http://openvpn.net )
– Microsoft Security Essentials: Antivirus/Anti-malware free: www.microsoft.com/security_essentials
– Microsoft Resource Kits
– ClamAV: Antivirus
– AVast: Antivirus
– Free download manager: IE download manager
– Daemontools or Virtual Clone Drive (GUI)
– Tree size free: Directory or disk usage and statistics (GUI): http://www.jam-software.com/freeware/
– CDex: transform CD in MP3… (GUI)
– Desktop Restore. Records the position of desktop icons and restores desktop layouts.
– InfraRecorder. Burns ISO images and creates data and audio CDs and DVDs: http://infrarecorder.org/
– Notepad++. Is a text and code editor.
– NTFS Undelete. Recovers deleted files that are no longer in the recycle bin.
– Paint.NET. Manipulates images.
– PING. Makes a sector-based image copy of a disk partition.
-Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE). Lets you make a Windows command-line boot recovery DVD.
– XML Notepad. Is a specialized XML editor.
– ZoomIt. Magnifies portions of a screen and lets you draw on and annotate the screen (c.f www.microsoft.com/sysinternals).
– BareTail. Monitors log files in real time.
– Wireshark. Is a protocol analyzer: http://www.wireshark.org
– FileZilla. Is a GUI FTP client.
– Winscp. Is a GUI sftp client.
– Ngrep. Is a packet sniffer based on finding matching text strings.
– NeWT. Is a vulnerability scanner. (If you’re interested in obtaining this software after reading about it, go to http://cgi.tenablesecurity.com/tenable/requestForm.php.)
– OpenSSH. Creates secure, encrypted shell sessions.
– WinDump. Is a command-line packet sniffer. (If you’re interested in obtaining this software after reading about it, go to http://www.winpcap.org/windump/default.htm.)
– Winfingerprint. Is a network scanner.
– LocatePC. Emails you whenever any private or public IP address in your system changes.
– Open Computers and Software Inventory (OCS Inventory NG). Provides detailed inventory data for an entire network of computers as well as deploys packages. (If you’re interested in obtaining this software after reading about it, go to http://sourceforge.net/projects/ocsinventory.)
– PRTG Traffic Grapher. Is a network monitor.
– SyncBack. Backs up or synchronizes files to another location: http://www.2brightsparks.com/freeware/freeware-hub.html
– Wink. Builds screencast recordings. (The write-up for this tool isn’t in the main article but rather its sidebar “Screencasting with Wink”. If you’re interested in obtaining this software after reading about it, go to http://www.debugmode.com/wink.)
– CamStudio. Builds screencast recordings.
– CDBurnerXP. Burns CD-ROMs, DVDs, audio CDs, and ISO images.
– Comodo Firewall Pro. Is a firewall and antivirus application.
– DriveImage XML. Is a program for imaging and backing up partitions and logical drives.
– GParted LiveCD. Manages partitions on systems. (You can also find information about GParted in “Tool Time: Repartition Windows Servers with GParted”.)
– PageDefrag. Determines how fragmented your paging files and registry hives are, and defragments them (c.f www.microsoft.com/sysinternals)
– JkDefrag. Defragments and optimizes disks.
– TestDisk. Recovers damaged partitions, makes non-bootable disks bootable again, and repairs damaged boot sectors.

Free Virtualization tools:

– Free Tools for hyperV: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/2325.hyper-v-top-free-programs.aspx

-If you work with virtual machines (VMs), check out the following 29 tools:
“Virtualization on the Cheap”
1. Catbird Compliance Enforcer. Analyzes existing virtual infrastructures, then highlights rogue VMs, quarantines suspect VMs, and generates compliance and security reports.
2. Citrix XenServer. Is a virtualization platform.
3. ConfigCheck. Evaluates an ESX Server installation to see whether it’s configured properly and in accordance with VMware’s best practices, particularly with regard to security guidelines.
4. EasyVMX. Lets you create web-based VMs.
5. Hyper-V. Is a virtualization platform.
6. Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit. Searches out computers in a network, then generates a detailed inventory using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), SNMP, or Remote Registry Service.
7. Microsoft Virtual PC 2007. Is a virtualization platform.
8. OpsCheck. Troubleshoots configuration problems that might cause VMware VMotion to encounter problems.
9. PlateSpin Recon Inventory Edition. Profiles and analyzes data centers, then gathers information about traffic, workload, asset inventory, and application services.
10. Veeam Monitor Free Edition. Monitors VMware ESX and ESXi environments in real-time.
11. Virtual Iron Single Server Edition. Is a virtualization platform.
12. VirtualBox. Is a virtualization platform.
13. Vizioncore vOptimizer FreeWare. Squeezes Microsoft and VMware VMs into more manageable sizes.
14. VMware ESXi. Is a virtualization platform.
15. VMware Player. Loads and run VMs created by other virtualization products.
16. V-Scout. Aggregates and organizes information from up to two VMware VirtualCenter installations.
“More Free Virtualization Tools”
17. PHD Virtual.com website. Offers several free VMware utilities (e.g., VMNetBac, SnapHunter).
18. VM Explorer (VMX). Powers VMs on or off as well as backs up and restores VMs.
19. Xtravirt.com website. Offers several free virtualization utilities (e.g., GetVMwareDocs, Visio Action Pack).
“Free Virtualization Utilities”
20. ISO Recorder. Creates and burns ISO images.
21. Ultimate-P2V. Converts physical systems to VMs.
22. VHD Resizer. Expands and shrinks .vhd files.
23. VHDMount. Mounts a .vhd file as a local drive.
24. Virtual Floppy Drive. Mounts a virtual floppy drive from a VM.
25. Virtual Machine Remote Control Client Plus (VMRCplus). Manages, configures, and connects to Microsoft VMs.
26. VMDK to VHD Converter. Converts VMware images to Microsoft images.
27. VMmark. Benchmarks applications running in VMware VMs.
28. VMware Converter. Converts physical machines or Microsoft VMs to VMware VMs.
29. VMware Workstation 5.5 Disk Mount Utility. Mounts a VMware.vhd file on a Windows host.
Note that you can find more information about Hyper-V, VMware ESXi, and Citrix XenServer in “Free Hypervisors Extend Your IT Resources”.

Free Scripting tools:

No matter whether you write scripts or not, you’ll likely find many of the 14 tecommendations in “Script Writers’ Favorite Free Utilities” helpful:
1. Blat. A command-line utility that uses SMTP to send email or uses Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) to post to Usenet.
2. AutoIt v3 and SciTE Is a scripting language (AutoIt) and editor (SciTE).
3. CodeKeep Add-In. Is a code snippet manager for Visual Studio (VS).
4. DumpSec. Is a Windows security auditing program.
5. Joeware website. Offers many command-line utilities to automate AD tasks (e.g., AdQueueLoop, Unlock) and other tasks (e.g., DNSSrvRec, SidToName).
6. MD5WIN. Computes and compares Message-Digest algorithm 5 (MD5) digest strings.
7. NirSoft website. Offers numerous utilities for monitoring networks, managing passwords, retrieving Internet-related data, and performing other system-management tasks.
8. Notepad++. Is a text and code editor.
9. PSPad. Is a text and code editor.
10. Python. Is a programming/scripting language that you can use to automate tasks.
11. Regular Expression Laboratory. Lets you create regular expressions and test them against arbitrary text.
12. VIM. Is a text and code editor.
13. WinZip Command Line Support Add-On. Lets you use WinZip directly from the command line and from scripts.
14. Powershell editor and Gui powershell code builder: http://www.powergui.org
check also the powerpacks (like plug-ins for powergui, to manage other windows applications).

Free tools for Sharepoint:

Freebies that might be of interest to SharePoint administrators include the following:
“SharePoint Freebies Someone You Might Know Might Want”
1. Document Connection for Mac. Aids in accessing and browsing Mac documents in SharePoint.
2. Free Technology for Microsoft SharePoint User Groups. Is a program to provide free add-ons and other products to community-organized SharePoint user groups.
3. Persian Language Pack for Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0.
“More SharePoint Freebies Someone You Might Know Might Want”
4. Discovery Wizard for SharePoint. Gathers SharePoint inventory data and displays it in HTML reports.
5. DocAve SQL Restore Controller. Provides item-level, site-level, and site collection-level restores from active SQL Server databases and from SQL Server backups.
6. Idera SharePoint performance monitor. Monitors SharePoint performance counters and sends email alerts when problems arise.
“Free SharePoint Archiving Tool Aims to Cut Bloat”
7. Metalogix Archiving Express for SharePoint. Archives SharePoint content.

Free tools for Exchange:

Some helpful freebies when working with Microsoft Exchange include:
“Top 10 Exchange Server 2007 Troubleshooting Tools”
1. Database Recovery Management Tool. Analyzes a database store and specifies the steps needed to mount it.
2. Database Troubleshooter. Analyzes database and transaction logs and their entries and reports on problems that might prevent you from recovering the database.
3. Dcdiag. Analyzes the state of domain controllers in a forest or enterprise and reports any problems.
4. Event Viewer. Lets you view Exchange-related events.
5. Mail Flow Troubleshooter. Identifies and repairs mail flow holdups.
6. Message Tracking. Reveals a message’s path through the Exchange Server organization when messages get lost in mail flow transit.
7. Nslookup. Helps troubleshoot DNS problems.
8. Performance Monitor. Analyzes counters associated with various aspects of system performance to see whether those counters fall within a designated range.
9. Performance Troubleshooter. Analyzes three RPC performance problems.
10. Queue Viewer. Lets you view and interact with mail flow queues.
“Two Exchange Server Tools You Should Know About”
11. Performance Analysis of Logs (PAL). Analyzes a performance monitor counter log analyzes and puts its findings in an HTML report.
12. ‘Rough and Tough’ Guide to Identifying Patterns in Transaction Logs. Provides a set of tools and associated processes for figuring out what’s happening on an Exchange server given a set of transaction log files.

Free tools for SQL Server:

If your IT duties include working with SQL Server, check out “The Mega Guide to Free SQL Server Tools”. This guide includes 80 tools, so the list is too long to print here. You can find out what those tools are at http://www.sqlmag.com/Articles/ArticleID/102244/102244.html.
At SQL Server Magazine, we’re all about helping DBAs and developers do their jobs faster and more efficiently—especially now, when they’re being expected to do more with less staff and funding. That’s why, when we realized just how many free SQL Server tools are available, we decided to bring them to your attention. You might recognize some of these tools from Kevin Kline’s Tool Time or Michael Otey’s Back Page, and many of these tools can be found on Microsoft’s CodePlex website. These tools were created by in-the-trenches DBAs and developers, as well as third-party SQL Server product vendors, to solve specific SQL Server problems or to fill holes in SQL Server’s functionality. There are so many free SQL Server tools that we couldn’t test them all, so be sure to test them yourself before running them in production.
Administration
• Data Scripter Add-in for Management Studio—This add-in lets you script data for SQL Server tables through SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) (sqlblogcasts.com/blogs/seanprice/archive/2007/08/28/data-scripter-add-in-for-management-studio.aspx)
• Iometer—This tool measures and characterizes I/O subsystems in single and clustered servers (www.iometer.org)
• Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Upgrade Advisor—This tool analyzes your SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 7.0 instances to find features and configuration changes that could affect an upgrade to SQL Server 2005 (www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=1470e86b-7e05-4322-a677-95ab44f12d75)
• mRemote—You can use this tool (which supports both RDP and VNC) to manage your remote server connections from a central GUI (www.mremote.org/wiki)
• MSSQL Blocks—This tool collects information from multiple SQL Server 2005 and 2000 instances about locked or blocked processes and stores this information in XML files for later analysis (sqlblocks.narod.ru)
• Orphan Finder—You can use Orphan Finder to find records in your SQL Server 2005 databases in which there are values in a foreign key column that aren’t in the parent table (http://www.spi.hr/EnglishaboutLC/tabid/470/Default.aspx)
• Partition Management—This tool uses the Sliding Window technique to remove data from one partition and place it into a staging table, and creates a staging table that’s used to load data into partitions (www.codeplex.com/SQLPartitionMgmt)
• Quest Software’s Toad for SQL Server Freeware—Toad for SQL Server Freeware offers a code and data editor, a data grid for modifying tables, and a database browser that lets you view and manage database objects graphically (www.toadsoft.com/toadsqlserver/toad_sqlserver.htm)
• SortSQLFilesInProject—You can use this tool to sort the SQL files contained in an SSMS project or the packages in a SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) project (www.sqldbatips.com/showarticle.asp?ID=78)
• SQLDBSize 1.0—This tool graphically displays size information about your databases, tables, indexes, and more (www.sqldbtools.com/Tools.aspx?ProductId=3)
• SQL Management Studio Snapshot Add-In—This utility adds the Create Snapshot option to context menus in SSMS, enabling you to create a database snapshot (sqlblogcasts.com/blogs/seanprice/archive/2007/07/15/sql-management-studio-snapshot-add-in.aspx)
• SQLRecon—SQLRecon finds all of your SQL Server and Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine (MSDE) systems by performing active and passive scans on your network (www.specialopssecurity.com/labs/sqlrecon)
• SQL Server 2008 Extended Events Manager—This tool lets you create, delete, modify, start, and stop Extended Events sessions and metadata files in SQL Server 2008 (www.codeplex.com/ExtendedEventManager)
• SQL Server Automation Scripts—This tool provides SQL Server Agent jobs that you can use to perform automated maintenance tasks (download.microsoft.com/download/4/0/C/40CBAD9A-D990-450B-8785-F288CEBFB448/AITScripts.zip)
• SQL Server Database Copy Tool—With this utility, you can copy databases from one SQL Server system to another (dbcopytool.codeplex.com)
• SQL Server Express Utility—You can use this command-line utility to perform various SQL Server maintenance tasks (www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=fa87e828-173f-472e-a85c-27ed01cf6b02)
• SQL Server Health and History Tool (SQLH2) Performance Collector—This tool collects performance counter data from your SQL Server systems and stores it in a repository (www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=64983AF0-7902-427E-9B41-7C2E8FDCC140)
• SQL Server Health and History Tool (SQLH2) Reports—Prevent performance problems by using this tool to collect and store change and trending information (www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=A4B837C7-A1FA-4F25-840B-FEF15E917F18)
• YourSQLDba—You can use this T-SQL stored procedure to automate routine database maintenance tasks such as database and log backups and consistency checks (www.grics.qc.ca/YourSqlDba)
Backup and Recovery
• Idera’s SQL safe Freeware Edition—This utility lets you back up and compress multiple databases of any size and offers a scriptable interface (www.idera.com/Products/Free-Tools/SQL-safe-Freeware-Edition)
• AppAssure’s DocRetreiver Lite—This free tool lets you restore individual documents back to a SharePoint farm from a SQL Server backup (www.appassure.com/applications/free-tools/docretriever-lite-for-sharepoint/)
Best Practice and Compliance
• Best Practices Analyzer Tool for Microsoft SQL Server 2000 1.0—You can use this tool to verify whether your SQL Server 2000 systems are managed and operated according to Microsoft’s SQL Server best practices (www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=b352eb1f-d3ca-44ee-893e-9e07339c1f22)
• Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Assessment Configuration Pack for Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)—This configuration pack audits SQL Server systems to see if they meet the SOX configuration requirements (www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=976df931-a3cf-40e3-802e-3281b1451835)
• SQL Server 2005 Best Practices Analyzer—This utility checks your databases for potential problems by using SQL Server 2005 best practices configurations (www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=DA0531E4-E94C-4991-82FA-F0E3FBD05E63)
• SQL Server FineBuild—FineBuild lets you install SQL Server 2008 and 2005 with one click, and provides best practice configurations as well (www.codeplex.com/SQLServerFineBuild)

Free tools for business intelligence and DB admins:

 • BIDS Helper—This Visual Studio .NET add-in enhances SQL Server 2008 and 2005’s Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) (www.codeplex.com/bidshelper)
• DTLoggedExec—With DTLoggedExec, each step executed by SSIS packages is logged, which makes configuring and troubleshooting SSIS packages fast and easy (dtloggedexec.codeplex.com/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ReleaseId=21219)
• Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Data Mining Add-ins for Microsoft Office 2007—These add-ins let you use SQL Server 2005’s predictive analysis features in Microsoft Excel 2007 and Microsoft Visio 2007 (www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=7c76e8df-8674-4c3b-a99b-55b17f3c4c51)
• Microsoft SQL Server Metadata-Driven ETL Management Studio (MDDE)—You can use MDDE to quickly generate SSIS packages (sqlservermddestudio.codeplex.com)
• Reporting Services Scripter—This .NET Windows Forms application offers the ability to easily move SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) reports and catalog item properties between multiple servers (www.sqldbatips.com/showarticle.asp?ID=62)
• RSBuild—You can use this SSRS deployment tool to execute database scripts with ADO.NET and publish reports and data sources to SSRS (rsbuild.codeplex.com)
• SQL Nexus—This front-end visualization tool is used to load and analyze performance data that was collected by SQLDiag and PSSDiag (www.codeplex.com/sqlnexus)
Change Management
• SQLDBSearch 2.0—With SQLDBSearch 2.0, you can find objects that could be affected by a soon-to-be implemented database change (www.sqldbtools.com/Tools.aspx?ProductId=2)
• Tarantino Database Change Management—This utility makes it easier to apply database schema and database changes to multiple SQL Server systems (code.google.com/p/tarantino/wiki/DatabaseChangeManagement)
Code Formatters
• ApexSQL Refactor—This SQL Server Management Studio add-in offers 43 customizable options for formatting your SQL code and lets you preview your changes before you save them (www.apexsql.com/sql_tools_refactor.asp)
• Instant SQL Formatter—This tool not only reformats your SQL code but also turns your formatted SQL code into HTML code and translates your SQL code into other coding languages such as C# and Java (www.wangz.net/gsqlparser/sqlpp/sqlformat.htm)
• Manoli C# Code Format—You can use this tool to format code to the HTML 4.01 specification for a website or blog (www.manoli.net/csharpformat)
• Simple-Talk Code Prettifier—This tool converts your ASCII source code into HTML code so that you can paste it into an online element such as a blog or website (www.simple-talk.com/prettifier/default.php)
• SQLinForm—With this SQL code formatter, SQL statements aren’t transferred over the Internet and there’s nothing to install (www.sqlinform.com)
Database Comparison
• CompareData—This utility uses ODBC drivers to compare and synchronize data between two SQL Server databases (www.zidsoft.com)
 • Open DBDiff—This database schema comparison tool provides you with a report showing the differences between two database schemas and includes a synchronization script that you can use to update the databases (www.codeplex.com/OpenDBiff)
• SQL Accord Community Edition for Microsoft SQL Server—This tool offers schema comparison features via an interactive GUI (www.sqleffects.com/Articles/Product/sqlAccordInfo/aboutSqlAccordCommunityEd.html)
• SQLDBDiff—You can use this tool to compare and synchronize SQL Server 2005 and 2000 database schemas (www.sqldbtools.com)
• TableDiff.exe GUI—With TableDiff.exe GUI, you no longer have to run the TableDiff.exe table comparison tool (found in SQL Server 2005) from the command line (weblogs.sqlteam.com/mladenp/archive/2007/08/10/60279.aspx)
Database Security
• Devenius SQL Encryption Assistant Basic Edition—You can use this SQL Server Management Studio add-in to manage your encryption keys (www.devenius.com/sql_server_tools/sql_encryption_assistant/SEA.aspx)
• Idera’s SQL permissions—You can use this tool to move or copy SQL Server login information and permissions setting between servers (www.idera.com/Products/Free-Tools/SQL-permissions)
• Lockdown.sql—Your SQL Server systems are locked down to the most secure configuration, letting you deploy systems that have only required functionality enabled (www.sqlsecurity.com/Tools/LockdownScript/tabid/64/Default.aspx)
• Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer 2.1—This tool performs vulnerability assessment checks on your SQL Server systems to verify their security (technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/cc184923.aspx)
• SQLPing 3.0—SQLPing scans your network to find new and unprotected SQL Server and MSDE instances (www.sqlsecurity.com/Tools/FreeTools/tabid/65/Default.aspx)
Development
• DbFit—You can use DbFit to run Framework for Integrated Testing (FIT) tests directly against databases, making it easier to perform integration testing on databases (www.fitnesse.info/dbfit)
• ScriptDB—This application scripts database objects using SQL Server Management Objects (SMO) (www.codeplex.com/ScriptDB)
• SpatialViewer—This utility lets you view spatial data easily (www.codeplex.com/SpatialViewer)
• SQL Server PowerShell Extensions (SQLPSX)—This tool helps make working with SMO from PowerShell easier by offering PowerShell functions around SMO objects (sqlpsx.codeplex.com)
• SQL Spatial Tools—SQL Spatial Tools includes two tools: Shape2SQL, which you use to upload ESRI files to SQL Server Spatial, and SQLSpatial Query Tool, which queries SQL Server 2008 and displays the geometry output via a Windows Presentation Foundation map (www.sharpgis.net/page/SQL-Server-2008-Spatial-Tools.aspx)
• SQLCLRProject—With SQLCLRProject, you can use MSBUILD tasks to deploy .NET assemblies to SQL Server 2008 and 2005 (www.codeplex.com/sqlclrproject)
• SQLIO Disk Subsystem Benchmark Tool—With this tool, you could find out what the I/O capacity of a SQL Server configuration is (www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=9a8b005b-84e4-4f24-8d65-cb53442d9e19)
• SQLScripter—This command-line utility automates schema generation and scripts SQL Server 2005 databases (www.valinor.co.il/tools-sqlscripter.asp)
• SQLsharp—This free tool offers a CLR library of useful functions that you can use to write better SQL code in SQL Server 2008/2005 (www.sqlsharp.com)
• SSMS Tools Pack—This suite of tools enhances SSMS’s functionality with features such as a query template tool and a CRUD procedure-generation tool (www.ssmstoolspack.com)
• Stored Procedure Generator—This tool generates the stored procedures necessary to access tables in SQL Server (spgen.codeplex.com)
• tsqlt—As a unit testing framework for T-SQL, tsqlt helps isolate functionality to be tested (sourceforge.net/projects/tsqlt)

Free tools for DB job management or sysadmin performance monitoring:

Stress test tool, Heavy Load free tool from JAM software: https://www.jam-software.de

• Idera’s SQL job manager—With SQL job manager, you can view and manage SQL Server Agent jobs across multiple SQL Server systems from a central administration console (www.idera.com/Products/Free-Tools/SQL-job-manager)
• JAMS Monitor—With JAMS Monitor, you can manage Windows Task Scheduler and SQL Server jobs and ensure that they’re running successfully from a centralized management console (www.mvpsi.com/FreeMonitor.aspx)
Log Management
• Log Parser 2.2—You can use this tool to access text-based data (e.g., log files, XML files), as well as data sources in Windows (e.g., Active Directory, the event log) (www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=890cd06b-abf8-4c25-91b2-f8d975cf8c07)
• PSSDIAG Data Collection Utility—This diagnostic data collector can be used to gather logs and data files (www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=5564386A-28C2-4483-8293-76FFF67B9EB3)
Performance and Monitoring
• ClearTrace—You can use this graphical display tool to summarize query performance data from server-side trace and SQL Server Profiler sessions (www.cleardata.biz/cleartrace/default.aspx)
• DMVStats 1.01—You can use this tool to collect, analyze, and report on performance data from SQL Server 2005 Dynamic Management Views (DMVs) (www.codeplex.com/sqldmvstats)
• Idera’s SQL check—This tool runs as a secure screensaver and monitors your SQL Server systems, as well as offers a look at processes, error logs, and SQL Server Agent jobs (www.idera.com/Products/Free-Tools/SQL-check)
• Internals Viewer for SQL Server—You can use this tool to see how data is allocated, organized, and stored in the SQL Server storage engine (internalsviewer.codeplex.com)
• MDX Script Performance Analyser—You can use this tool to identify which statements in your SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) MDX script are negatively affecting MDX query performance (www.codeplex.com/mdxscriptperf)
• Performance Analysis of Logs (PAL) Tool—PAL automates the collection and analysis of performance counters in the Performance Monitor Counter log (www.codeplex.com/PAL)
• Quest Discovery Wizard for SQL Server (beta)—You can use this tool to monitor your network for changes and find all your SQL Server instances (www.quest.com/discovery-wizard-for-sql-server)
• RML Utilities for SQL Server (x86)—With this tool, you can monitor SQL Server performance by processing SQL Server trace files and viewing reports, and test how a specific change will affect your SQL Server systems (www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=7EDFA95A-A32F-440F-A3A8-5160C8DBE926)
• SQLIOSim—SQLIOSim replicates SQL Server’s types and patterns of I/O requests on a disk subsystem and verifies data similarly to how SQL Server would in a production environment (blogs.msdn.com/sqlserverstorageengine/archive/2006/10/06/SQLIOSim-available-for-download.aspx)
• SQLQueryStress—This tool is helpful when performance stress testing T-SQL queries because it collects data about whether your queries will run under load, and each query’s resource usage (www.datamanipulation.net/sqlquerystress)
• SQL Server 2005 Performance Dashboard Reports—These reports help you quickly identify performance bottlenecks and provide the information necessary to resolve them (www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=1d3a4a0d-7e0c-4730-8204-e419218c1efc)
• SQL Server Cache Manager—Find out what is being stored in the SQL Server cache and if the cache is being used efficiently with this free tool (www.codeplex.com/sqlservercache)
• SQL Server DBA Dashboard—This tool uses graphs and reports, which are integrated with SSMS, to identify what is using your SQL Server systems’ resources (www.sqlserverexamples.com/v2/Products/tabid/76/Default.aspx)
Prevent SQL Server Injection Attacks
• bsqlbf-v2—This Perl script lets you extract data from blind SQL injections (code.google.com/p/bsqlbf-v2)
• HP Scrawlr—This scanner tool crawls your web pages, checking for SQL injection vulnerabilities (www.communities.hp.com/securitysoftware/blogs/spilabs/archive/2008/06/23/finding-sql-injection-with-scrawlr.aspx)
• Microsoft Source Code Analyzer for SQL Injection—You can use this tool to find SQL injection vulnerabilities in ASP code (support.microsoft.com/kb/954476)
• URLScan—URLScan restricts the type of HTTP requests Microsoft IIS will process (learn.iis.net/page.aspx/473/using-urlscan)
Web Administration
• SQL Server Hosting Toolkit—The SQL Server Hosting Toolkit offers two tools: the Database Publishing Wizard, which you can use to upload your databases to a hosting environment, and the Database Publishing Services, which offers ASP.NET web services that can make it easier for you to deploy databases (sqlhost.codeplex.com)
• SQL Server Web Tools—This web-based administration tool lets you perform management tasks, including administering accounts, managing databases and tables, and creating and running queries and stored procedures (sqlwebtools.codeplex.com)
• SQL Web Data Administrator—This SQL Server management tool lets you create and edit databases, export and import database schema and data, and more (www.codeplex.com/SqlWebAdmin)
Who Says Nothing in Life Is Free?
Although this list includes dozens of free SQL Server tools, it doesn’t include them all. If you know about a free SQL Server utility that’s not on this list, we want to hear about it: You can email me at mkeller@sqlmag.com. Also, please share your feedback about the tools included in this list in the Tool Time forum at www.sqlmag.com/forums. For even more free tools, see the sidebars “Free SQL Server Projects and Samples” and “Free PowerShell Scripts for SQL Server.”

Microsoft’s file systems organize storage devices based on cluster size. Also known as the allocation unit size, cluster size represents the smallest amount of disk space that can be allocated to hold a file. Because ReFS and NTFS don’t reference files at a byte granularity, the cluster size is the smallest unit of size that each file system can reference when accessing storage. Both ReFS and NTFS support multiple cluster sizes, as different sized clusters can offer different performance benefits, depending on the deployment.

Full article from MS: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/filecab/2017/01/13/cluster-size-recommendations-for-refs-and-ntfs/

Summary:

ReFS cluster sizes

ReFS offers both 4K and 64K clusters. 4K is the default cluster size for ReFS, and we recommend using 4K cluster sizes for most ReFS deployments because it helps reduce costly IO amplification:

  • In general, if the cluster size exceeds the size of the IO, certain workflows can trigger unintended IOs to occur. Consider the following scenarios where a ReFS volume is formatted with 64K clusters:
    • Consider a tiered volume. If a 4K write is made to a range currently in the capacity tier, ReFS must read the entire cluster from the capacity tier into the performance tier before making the write. Because the cluster size is the smallest granularity that the file system can use, ReFS must read the entire cluster, which includes an unmodified 60K region, to be able to complete the 4K write.
    • If a cluster is shared by multiple regions after a block cloning operation occurs, ReFS must copy the entire cluster to maintain isolation between the two regions. So if a 4K write is made to this shared cluster, ReFS must copy the unmodified 60K cluster before making the write.
    • Consider a deployment that enables integrity streams. A sub-cluster granularity write will cause the entire cluster to be re-allocated and re-written, and the new checksum must be computed. This represents additional IO that ReFS must perform before completing the new write, which introduces a larger latency factor to the IO operation.
  • By choosing 4K clusters instead of 64K clusters, one can reduce the number of IOs that occur that are smaller than the cluster size, preventing costly IO amplifications from occurring as frequently.

Additionally, 4K cluster sizes offer greater compatibility with Hyper-V IO granularity, so we strongly recommend using 4K cluster sizes with Hyper-V on ReFS.  64K clusters are applicable when working with large, sequential IO, but otherwise, 4K should be the default cluster size.

NTFS cluster sizes

NTFS offers cluster sizes from 512 to 64K, but in general, we recommend a 4K cluster size on NTFS, as 4K clusters help minimize wasted space when storing small files. We also strongly discourage the usage of cluster sizes smaller than 4K. There are two cases, however, where 64K clusters could be appropriate:

  • 4K clusters limit the maximum volume and file size to be 16TB
    • 64K cluster sizes can offer increased volume and file capacity, which is relevant if you’re are hosting a large deployment on your NTFS volume, such as hosting VHDs or a SQL deployment.
  • NTFS has a fragmentation limit, and larger cluster sizes can help reduce the likelihood of reaching this limit
    • Because NTFS is backward compatible, it must use internal structures that weren’t optimized for modern storage demands. Thus, the metadata in NTFS prevents any file from having more than ~1.5 million extents.
      • One can, however, use the “format /L” option to increase the fragmentation limit to ~6 million. Read more here.
    • 64K cluster deployments are less susceptible to this fragmentation limit, so 64K clusters are a better option if the NTFS fragmentation limit is an issue. (Data deduplication, sparse files, and SQL deployments can cause a high degree of fragmentation.)
      • Unfortunately, NTFS compression only works with 4K clusters, so using 64K clusters isn’t suitable when using NTFS compression. Consider increasing the fragmentation limit instead, as described in the previous bullets.

While a 4K cluster size is the default setting for NTFS, there are many scenarios where 64K cluster sizes make sense, such as: Hyper-V, SQL, deduplication, or when most of the files on a volume are large.

Resources:

SQL Server performance: http://wp.me/p15Zft-8h

SQL Server Video archive: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/dn912438

Database tasks: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms165730(v=sql.105).aspx

T-SQL reference: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms189826(v=sql.90).aspx

SQL performance and troubleshooting: http://sqlnexus.codeplex.com/

Microsoft companion (MOC): http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/companion-moc.aspx

Web sites:

Tips and tricks:

PowerShell: import-module SQLPS

Placement of tempdb in a dedicated disk (Raid 1) ,  same for log files  (RAID 1 or 10) and database files (RAID 5). Also dedicated disk for OS and dedicated disk for SQL server binaries.

Do a dbcc checkdb before each database backup

Use Buffer pool extension

Enable security: create logins, server roles, then for db: create users, database roles, database perms

Privileged the Microsoft service accounts (MSA) to run the SQL services.

Enable SQL audit

Enable DML triggers  (enable logons trigger)

Use SQL profile (but heavy in terms of performance). Else prefer to use (T-SQL) SQL trace (light footprint if well-designed).

Design a backup and restore strategy:

  • To backup: backup full + backup differential + backup transaction log + backup tail_log
  • To restore: restore first the full (with norecovery) + the last differential (with norecovery) + the latest transaction log (with recovery option) and eventually the latest Tail_log (if possible)
  • don’t forget to backup the tail log before to start a restore sequence
  • preferably use “backup device” which contains the full,differential,logs. Then you can backup the “backup device” using the OS backup software (Windows backup, Tivoli SM, Veritas Netbackup…)

Define maintenance plans:

– separate the maintenance plans to backup the system databases from the other databases (include also the check database integrity “dbcc checkdb” before each backup sequence)

– separate the maintenance plans to backup a Application Database from a maintenance plan to check only the Database health: check database integrity, reorganize indexes, update statistics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askds/archive/2008/08/12/event-logging-policy-settings-in-windows-server-2008-and-vista.aspx

DFS dirty-shutdown stopping DFS replication: DFSR event ID 2213 in Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012:

https://support.microsoft.com/fr-fr/kb/2846759

How to disable the Stop Replication functionality in AutoRecovery

To have DFSR perform AutoRecovery when a dirty database shutdown is detected, edit the following registry value after hotfix 2780453

is installed in Windows Server 2008 R2. You can deploy this change on all versions of Windows Server 2012. If the value does not exist, you must create it.

Key: HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\DFSR\Parameters
Value: StopReplicationOnAutoRecovery
Type: Dword
Data: 0

A reparse point is what linux calls a symbolic link ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS_reparse_point).

Reparse point = NTFS symbolic links, directory junction points, volume mount points

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc754077%28v=ws.10%29.aspx

  • “Remote-to-remote describes a computer accessing a remote symbolic link that points to a remote UNC path using SMB.“

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc785435.aspx

In general:

hard link: link to a file (MFT entry) The data are still accessible as long as at least one link that points to it still exists.

  • NTFS HARD link: Hard links require an NTFS partition.With mklink /H or you can use FindLinks from http://www.microsoft.com/sysinternals   
  • Volume mount points are similar to Unix mount points, where the root of another file system is attached to a directory. In NTFS, this allows additional file systems to be mounted without requiring a separate drive letter (such as C: or D:) for each.

soft link: link to its name (file path) ;

  • NTFS symbolic link (SYMLINK)Unlike a junction point, a symbolic link can also point to a file or remote SMB network path(*). With mklink (for files) or mklink /D (for directories). Relative symbolic links are restricted to a single volume.
  • Junction point/directory junction: Directory junctions are similar to volume mount points, but reference other directories in the file system instead of other volumes. Used in default Windows Server 2008 configuration for Users folder redirs. With mklink /J. Procmon.exe (filter on  from sysinternals) : will display the JUNCTIONS. junction.exe -s -q c:\   from http://www.microsoft.com/sysinternals   ; to list,create and delete junction point.

Example of a junction to move the content of WinSxS in another drive: 

mklink /J “C:\Windows\winsxs” “d:\winsxs”           ; careful the d:\winsxs must not exist before to create the junction, else you will get a error message “file already exist…”

to remove the junction you can use junction from sysinternals: junction -d d:\winsxs

The mklink command functions as such:  mklink LINK TARGET, so in the above example the c:\Windows\winsxs acts as the LINK location where you want to trick Windows into thinking it still exists and the TARGET location is of course the d:\winsxs on another drive.

========================================================

(*)Symlink Evaluation Modes

The default symbolic link evaluation for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is Local-to-local enabled, Local-to-remote enabled, Remote-to-local disabled, Remote-to-remote disabled.

Symbolic link evaluation settings can be viewed and altered by the following commands respectively:
fsutil behavior query SymlinkEvaluation
fsutil behavior set SymlinkEvaluation [L2L:{0|1}] | [L2R:{0|1}] | [R2R:{0|1}] | [R2L:{0|1}]
0 disables the specified evaluation mode, while 1 enables it.
Enabling Remote-to-local and Remote-to-remote will overcome the The symbolic link cannot be followed because its type is disabled error when trying to access a symlink on a UNC share.
The symlink evaluation settings can also be controlled via Group Policy. Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Filesystem and configure “Selectively allow the evaluation of a symbolic link”.

========================================================

  • Use RMDIR to remove a symbolic link <SYMLINK> or <SIMLINKD>
  • Using the DIR command prompt to list the symbolic link:

D:\>mklink /d dir3 d:\dir2
symbolic link created for dir3 <<===>> d:\dir2

C:\>dir d:\ /AD /S | find “SYMLINK”

D:\>dir d:\ /AD /S | find “SYMLINK”
03/29/2014  10:07 PM    <SYMLINKD>     dir3 [d:\dir2]

 

  • Using the DIR command prompt to list the junction:

C:\>dir c:\ /AD /S | find “<JUNCTION>”
07/26/2012  08:14 AM    <JUNCTION>     Documents and Settings [C:\Users]
07/26/2012  08:14 AM    <JUNCTION>     Documents and Settings [C:\Users]
07/26/2012  08:14 AM    <JUNCTION>     Application Data [C:\ProgramData]
07/26/2012  08:14 AM    <JUNCTION>     Desktop [C:\Users\Public\Desktop]
07/26/2012  08:14 AM    <JUNCTION>     Documents [C:\Users\Public\Documents]
07/26/2012  08:14 AM    <JUNCTION>     Start Menu [C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu]
07/26/2012  08:14 AM    <JUNCTION>     Templates [C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Templates]
07/26/2012  08:14 AM    <JUNCTION>     Default User [C:\Users\Default]
07/26/2012  08:14 AM    <JUNCTION>     Application Data [C:\ProgramData]
07/26/2012  08:14 AM    <JUNCTION>     Desktop [C:\Users\Public\Desktop]
07/26/2012  08:14 AM    <JUNCTION>     Documents [C:\Users\Public\Documents]
07/26/2012  08:14 AM    <JUNCTION>     Start Menu [C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu]

Web reference links:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2958414

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2218556/how-to-force-an-authoritative-and-non-authoritative-synchronization-fo

http://jackstromberg.com/2014/07/sysvol-and-group-policy-out-of-sync-on-server-2012-r2-dcs-using-dfsr/

For maintenance reason you want to disable DFS target(s) or DFS namespace, to do that you can:

A) Create a Backup of DFS target folders:

you can use the dfscmd /view \\mydomain.localeus.net\dfsroot /batch >>backup_mydomainlocal_dfsroot.cmd

B) Test your restore: backup_mydomainlocal_dfsroot.cmd

C) Then you can now disable your dfsroot:

c.1) the method blow works also for 2003/2008 based DFS and greater) to hide a DFS root (for maintenance reason or before real removal phase):

you can rename the dfsroot from ADUC, advanced mode, go to system, DFS-Configuration container, select the dfsroot to rename, right-click rename (Add a “$” at the end of the name). On the client, when you try to access the root status using dfsutil /root:\\mydomain.local\dfsroot_newname$ /view , you get a  “system error – element not found”.

c.2 ) new method which were introduced in Windows Server 2012 (this does not work on 2003/2008-based DFS)

To enable or disable referrals by using Windows PowerShell, use the Set-DfsnRootTarget –State or Set-DfsnServerConfiguration cmdlets,

 

Web resources:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc771266.aspx

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc771266%28v=ws.10%29.aspx