ManagePC: A Neat Remote System Info Utility

I happened to be browsing the 4sysops.com website and came across a freeware program called ManagePC.  This is a nice little utility that can give you a lot of information about a remote system.

Upon launching the program, you get a pull down menu where-in you can select your NT domain (you can also plug in a computer name or IP address if you want to get right to it).  From here, you can drill right down in the AD OUs and to the computer objects themselves.  The one thing that would be nice is if it could pull the computer description along with the computer name in the computer browser.

The first tab is the summary tab:
ManagePC Summary Tab

There’s a few gems on this page that the built-in ‘MSINFO32″ that comes with Windows doesn’t give: who’s logged in, serial number of the computer, boot up time (did the user REALLY reboot?), last login time, and the user’s assigned printers.  There is a mapped drives section, but this appears to list my network drives and not those of the remote user.  I’ve put in a feature request to the programmer to also report the user’s default printer, but you can do this yourself using a remote session with COMPMGMT.MSC….connect to remote registry of the remote computer, expand Computername\HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-<some_really_long_string_of_numbers>\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows\Device.  What ever device is listed there is the user’s default printer.

Clicking on the services tab gives us the remote services, their current state and the ability to stop and start services.  Although this can be done with the COMPMGMT.MSC snap-in, you can manage this all from one tool.  The processes tab gives you the processes running on the remote PC.  This is similar to Running Tasks in MSINFO32, however, you can kill or Google each process just by right-clicking on them.

The Group Membership tab gives you all of the local groups on the remote PC.  This is nice, quick way to see if the user is apart of the local administrator’s group.  The Startup Items tab gives you items from the Run key from HKCU and HKLM on the remote PC and the ability to delete or Google them.  This can aid in malware detection.

There’s also the standard fare of being able to launch a remote MMC or RDP session, restart or shutdown a PC, start a remote CMD session (similar to right-click tools in SCCM), change the administrator password or create a remote scheduled task.  For some reason, the VNC function did not seem to work for me.  It would attempt to connect and then time out.  This could be due to the fact of having a VNC password on the PC.

Admin Tasks

In addition to all of these features, you can also export the report in HTML, RTF or Excel format.

– Soli Deo Gloria

Even More Fun with Virtual Machines

The Internet is getting pretty dangerous, especially for anyone running a Windows 2000/XP machine.  Wouldn’t it be nice to surf the web from your Windows box using a Linux browser?  You can, using Virtualbox + UBuntu + Seamless Mode.

You can see this in action: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/virtualboxs-seamless-mode-combine-operating-systems-desktop/

The process is very simple: Install Virtualbox into your Windows host system, install Ubuntu within Virtualbox, install guest addons within Ubuntu.  For added goodness, you might also want to add Samba to Ubuntu so you can share folders with Windows (all downloads with the Ubuntu Firebox go back into Ubuntu).  An excellent video guide for doing so can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89hjWOb8qmY.

Once Ubuntu is running in Virtualbox, you can do a “Right Ctrl-L” and you’ll get this in your Windows host system:

As you can see, Virtualbox places the Ubuntu taskbars above my Windows 7 taskbars.  You get the comforts of you host operating system with the goodies from Ubuntu.  I’m running this with 256MB of memory for the VM and it runs great.  If you still have Windows 2000/XP, you can keep them and be more secure on the Internet.

– Soli Deo Gloria