Handy App of the Day: SearchMyFiles

The other day I was tasked with finding all the duplicates in a large network share.  Large as in: 2TB worth of company data.  The previous IT company wasn’t so good at house cleaning so I was given the assignment of finding all the duplicate data that existed and archiving or deleting it to save space on backups.  After a little research, I found my answer in Nirsoft’s SearchMyFiles.

I’ve mentioned Nirsoft in the past with their export text software, and the SearchMyFiles app is another impressive tool they offer for free.

My first searches were for duplication software, it was only by pure luck that I stumbled across this gem as it was named a ‘search’ utility, and not a ‘duplicate’ utilty.  The functionality is right in the dropdown!

SearchMyFiles with Duplicates finder.  No frills here, options are simple and easy to configure
SearchMyFiles with Duplicates finder. No frills here, options are simple and easy to configure

While the software isn’t the prettiest, it is by far the most powerful and menu friendly.  No need to look and bump around with file and options as it’s all laid out to see.  There’s no installer either, so it’s a small footprint and can be run directly from a USB stick.

After about an hour, I had search results I could export into a spreadsheet and pour over with a fine tooth comb.

As you would imagine, the regular search utility works awesomely fast as well – going through a network share was a breeze, and you can specify how many folders deep you can go (infinite is an option).

Well done NirSoft, you’ve saved my bacon again!


Handy App of the day: Space Sniffer

If you’ve been working on Windows based computers or servers, or Windows File Servers, a time will come when you have to figure out how much space you’re using and what type of files are taking up space.  I’ve used Tree Size Free, WinDirSTAT and Filemenu Tools many times in the past but always found that they take too much time, need to be installed or don’t have proper visualizations.

SpaceSniffer seems to be the near perfect solution: it’s free, runs portable (no installer necessary), has great visualizations and is FAST.

Color Coding comes in handy for types of media, file classes, and even free space.
Color Coding comes in handy for types of media, file classes, and even free space.

Compared to Filemenu tools or WinDirSTAT, Spacesniffer also does it’s calculations in real time; deletion of a file updates the entire diagram.  There’s also the ability to ‘Zoom’ into a directory or choose a network location.

Simply awesome freeware.



How to: get multiple Remote Desktop Connections

When you have to remote desktop to a Windows based server or computer, your default option is RDC protocol.  This is a useful utility if you’re connecting to one computer at a time.  So what if you need to connect to ten or more?  Do keep in mind, not all those computers have the same credentials, and saving all those .RDP files to your desktop will get very cumbersome.

There’s a handy tool from Microsoft: Remote Desktop Connection Manager that allows you to do just that.
As you can see from the screencap directly from MS techblog, the application lets you open multiple RDC connections at a time giving you full control over: inherited credentials, gateway settings for VPN connections, individual display settings, individualized local resources… the list goes on.  Super handy utility when I was building a new virtual environment with Hyper-V; after creation of the VM, I put in the server name with full credentials and saved it under the proper group.

I’ve used other tools similar to this such as the RSAT tool that felt unfinished, as well as RoyalTSVisionAPP, and Terminals.  All these programs worked well for what I used them for, but each had their own little quirks and last minute features such as screen-shot ability.  The part I like the most about RDC Manager from Microsoft is the price: completely free.  Plus, it just feels like it goes with the rest of the Windows experience, from the toolbars to the menus it definately feels like a MS product.

So if you need to remote to a hell of a lot of computers and like a freebie that’s right from Microsoft, give it a shot.

How to: Be a freeware champion

Windows in general can a be a pain in the ass.  There’s tonnes of software on the market that’s pricey depending on what you want get done.  Sometimes you need an enterprise class solution for your vexing problem and it can only be achieved by dropping a few thousand dollars.


And sometimes, just sometimes you can peruse the freeware section of a website and be astounded by what is lying in wait that can be your perfect solution.  The problem therein is which website offers the safest surfing experience?  Can you trust a websites freeware?  Is it really malware just waiting for you to execute?  There’s never an easy answer.  So here’s a sure fire list of websites that offer freeware that I know and use on a regular basis:


Gizmo’s freeware
A real nugget of free applications that do everything.  All content is nicely organized in categories that make sense.  Most freeware is crapware free and each software has independent reviews based on a 5-star rating system.  All pro’s and con’s for each software is listed, and offers up screenshots for any software you’re wary of installing.


For all the IT Administrator essentials, most are packed away in this must-have website.  Utilities range from wireless sniffers, DNS checkers, password recovery options to system tweaking tools.  Everything is laid out right on the main page heading style.  This website scores extra points as all software is developed by the same programmer Nir Sofer, and most are stand alone executable files that do not require installation!


Major Geeks
One mother of a download site, Major Geeks has been a staple of the internet and continues on with it’s tradition of offering all it’s freeware hosted locally on it’s internal servers. Just about anything can be found right here.


So go on, give it a shot and see what you can download.



How to: Export Text from Any Screen

There’s just some things you can’t copy from a Windows explorer pane.  The other night I was trying to copy and paste the list of Windows KB updates from my computer.  As is with some windows panes, it’s actually a table built from a SQL query a la Windows that has no copy/paste functionality.

A solution exists in free 3rd party software:  Nirsoft, a treasure trove of Windows executable files that require no installation offers SysExporter.

As the name of the software implies, it can lift the text off any text based program you see on your screen.  I happily could copy and paste the KB names of the Windows updates I wanted to manually download into an Excel sheet and was on my way.