What's Hot, November 2006

Readers recommend the best products

An Unbeatable Defragmentation Utility
Golden Bow Systems' VoptXP

Cliff Schaut has been in the technology industry since the mid-1980s. Having evaluated countless defragmentation utilities, Schaut believes that nothing beats Golden Bow Systems' VoptXP when it comes to defragmenting end-user systems. He explains, "Other defrag utilities do just enough to get the job done and don't contain the functionality that's required for today's technology needs. VoptXP accommodates the larger hard drive defragmentation process by giving you complete control. The product lets you dissect clusters and sectors to determine why a specific file is corrupt or continually fragmented, and how this relates directly to disk health and drive life cycles." The ability to dissect clusters helps you obtain a true analysis of how well VoptXP performed and what was actually done during the defragmentation process—a feature some utilities lack. The Windows-embedded defragmentation utility, according to Schaut, offers only Analyze and Defragment options and doesn't provide the analysis you need to understand your system.

Schaut also said that VoptXP's manageable interface makes it easier to analyze and view the defragmentation information and determine whether he needs to take further steps to improve system performance. He has used and referred others to VoptXP since 1999, and people continually tell him that their computers have never performed so well.

Cliff Schaut
Software developer and technician
Golden Bow Systems
619-298-9349 or 800-284-3269

Manage Your RDP Connections
visionapp Remote Desktop

Markus Kolbeck works for a company that has more than 100 servers that users log on to from onsite and offsite, all of which he needs to connect to on a regular basis. In the past, managing all the RDP connections was troublesome for Kolbeck. Additionally, he had to log on and off from each individual server—a time-consuming and tedious task. Kolbeck tried changing the Group Policy Object (GPO) settings for Terminal Server to log user sessions off automatically after a period of time. However, doing so caused problems when he wanted to monitor services or processes. To help him manage his RDP connections, Kolbeck downloaded visionapp Remote Desktop (vRD). vRD let him add and group his connections with the option to use globally defined user-credential settings. The group option also lets Kolbeck arrange his servers—such as domain controllers (DCs), Terminal Servers, and mail servers— within logical folders.

"Although vRD doesn't log off connections, it can disconnect from all selected servers at once," said Kolbeck. "You can also specify display and local device settings for each connection. Best of all, vRD is free!"

Markus Kolbeck
Senior consultant
visionapp Remote Desktop

Additional Desktops Without a Second Monitor
Gladiators Software's AltDesk

At one time or another, you've probably tried running multiple applications on your computer and have became frustrated by the lack of screen real estate available to manage your applications. Perhaps you purchased a second monitor for the additional desktop space. Jeremy Snyder's scenario was no different. He wanted a separate desktop for email, Web, and Microsoft Office applications, without having to purchase an additional monitor. Snyder found Gladiators Software's AltDesk to help manage all his applications. "AltDesk lets me separate all my applications into individual desktops on my screen, and I can drag applications from one desktop to another. Plus, I can create as many virtual desktops as I want," Snyder said. "Other products I tried didn't provide a user-friendly interface and had no way to move applications from one desktop to another." For a free 30-day trial of AltDesk, visit the company's Web site. Pricing for AltDesk starts at $15 for as many as four licenses.

Jeremy Snyder
IT manager
Galadiators Software

Complete Backup for SMBs
Revinetix's Sentio2000

Jim Francis manages more than 20 Linux and Windows servers. For backup purposes, he has used traditional tape methods and Adaptec Snap Servers. According to Francis, these solutions didn't fully support offsite archiving, multiple OSs, and affordable licensing. "The Revinetix Sentio2000 backup solution supports unlimited licenses on any number of servers or PCs I want to back up," said Francis. "I mation off servers and move it offsite for a disaster-recovery solution." Francis also enjoys the simplicity of Sentio2000's GUI, which helps simplify routine backups. Francis also noted the superior customer support Revinetix offers. "You can actually speak to real human beings!" Francis said.

You can use Sentio to back up multiple applications such as Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, Oracle, and Web applications. Sentio appliances feature hot-swappable serial ATA (SATA) drive technology and automated-backup functionality. This product line also includes Xeon processors, RAID 5 redundancy, Gigabit and Ethernet controllers, and bare-metal restore software. Contact Revinetix for pricing information.

Jim Francis
Director of Computer Services

Secure Your Enterprise
PatchLink Update

Managing security patches can be overwhelming, particularly if you're managing those patches manually. Fortunately, you have many solutions to choose from to automate and manage the process. Aaron Collier chose PatchLink Update for his patch-and vulnerability-management solution. Collier was working in a new infrastructure in which security patches weren't being applied. Collier has used Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) in similar situations as a quick security fix to get all production servers up-to-date. However, according to Collier, WSUS doesn't provide the ease of deployment or the access to third-party application patches that PatchLink Update provides. "PatchLink Update is an all-in-one patch-management application. I still use WSUS for major updates, such as service packs, but for staying current with all the third-party applications installed across our network, PatchLink fills the need perfectly. PatchLink also lets me set patching times, user-intervention parameters, and patch selection."

PatchLink uses its patented Patch Fingerprint technology as the core for its solution, which compiles a digital-inventory profile of all software, hardware, and drivers within your infrastructure. Based on this profile, PatchLink Update reports and archives the versions and dates of existing patches as well as any missing patches to ensure that all systems are accurately patched.

Aaron Collier
Systems engineer
PathLink Update

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