The NirSoft website is a good place to go looking for Windows utilities of just about any kind. It’s home to over 180 different tools and utilities, all from the fertile mind of Nir Sofer, the Israeli developer and powerhouse who put all these things together. If you look at his NirLauncher utility, you’ll quickly realize that it provides access to the vast majority of his work, all through a single, simple GUI interface. Here’s the panel for his Network Monitoring Tools, many of which I have used to good effect on my own networks, both wired and wireless. Just yesterday, in fact, his FastResolver utility helped me figure out the IP address for my Dell 2155cn color laser printer, when I couldn’t get it to show up in Devices and Printers on my production desktop. But I digress… as you will, too, once you start digging in and begin to understand the amazing treasure trove of stuff here.
If you look at the categories at the top of the NirLauncher window, you’ll get a quick idea about how much ground this suite of tools covers (numbers in parentheses provide the utility count for each item):
1. Password Recovery Utilities (2): reveal passwords stored behind bullets, and recover all Windows wireless keys.
2. Network Monitoring Tools (25): NIC, DNS, Web, NetBIOS and TCP tools, plus a variety of WiFi and Wireless capture and status items.
3. Web Browser Tools (23): examine addons, cookies, history, favorites and more for Chrome, IE, Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, Safari, and more.
4. Video/Audio Related Utilities (6): look at codecs, RTMP info, sound levels, plus video caches and captures.
5. Internet Related Utilities (16): retrieve DNS data, resolve IP addresses, create wireless hotspot, analyze IP info, and more.
6. Command-line Utilities (8): Bluetooth device list, export offline Registry files, run program under different process, and get wireless network info.
7. Desktop Utilities (9): clipboard manager, Explorer toolbar customizer, file types manager, uninstaller, open with menu edits, shortcuts manager, and more.
8. Outlook/Office Utilities (5): Autocomplete editor for Outlook, Office install details, address book tool, and mail stats.
9. Programmer tools (5): data transfer trace, dll exported functions lister, gdi handles lister, memory block allocations, and debugging traces.
10. Disk Utilities (7): alternate stream view, list of alternate streams, disk counters, SMART data, drive letters, NTFS links, and alternate file search.
11. System Utilities (59): information about devices, processes, drivers, files, password security, the Registry, user profiles, and Windows Update.
12. Other Utilities (16): Miscellany that include file handling, hashing, hotkeys, html editing, Skype info, and more.
Some of the most useful tools I’ve put to work from this collection include: BlueScreenView (provides information from minidump and dump files from blue screens), DriverView (lists all currently loaded device drivers), MonitorInfoView (monitor characteristics and settings), RegScanner (scans and finds Registry keys and values), ShellExView (provides info about shell extensions installed in File Explorer), TaskSchedulerView (provides a searchable interface for all schedule tasks), USBDeview (information about USB hubs and devices), UserProfilesView (info about all available user profiles), and WinUpdatesLIst (shows a list of all currently installed Windows updates).
Honestly, there’s so much stuff here, somebody could write a FAT BOOK about it all. To the best of my knowledge, nobody’s done that yet. Maybe I should ask Nir if he’s interested… In the meantime, grab yourself a copy of NirLauncher and get to know this excellent library of tools and utilities. You won’t be sorry. The price is right, too: it’s all free.
Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.