Simplify Product Key Extraction
I won't go on and on about how scripting can save you a lot of time. It has been said thoroughly, and all serious IT integrators know that scripting is one of the keys to a successful implementation. So, when trying to extract Windows and Microsoft Office product keys, I was especially happy to find Nirsoft's ProduKey. Although there are plenty of freeware utilities that will extract product keys, ProduKey is among the only ones to support command line parameters. It lets systems administrators and network consultants script and automate Windows and Microsoft Office key recovery. The tool also offers great flexibility with its parameters, from providing methods to extract the keys to methods of generating the output to HTML files or plain text, and so on.
Before ProduKey, I used other freeware programs or expensive asset inventory and audit management software. The problem with some other freeware solutions is that you can use only a GUI to extract product keys. Although this can be good for a small company or department, it becomes really tedious whenever you need to extract keys from dozens or hundreds of computers. As for asset inventory and audit management software, this is just overkill when you simply want to recover a Windows product key. With ProduKey, extracting keys from dozens of computers is no longer a burden and can be fully automated by putting a few lines of code inside an existing logon script.
Senior technical consultant
Let Users Easily Print Screen shots
My company's support staff needed an easier way to let our end users print screen shots for the programs they use. We use the screen shots mainly to troubleshoot errors in programs or explain clerical errors that need to be fixed. We are currently using Hardcopy, and the results have been good so far. Hardcopy places a printer icon in whichever object a user has open, and all the user needs to do is click and it's done. The software supports direct emailing after creating the screen shot or hard copies for print. Our heaviest use so far has been for documenting intermittent error messages. This visual aspect of Hardcopy is easier to explain to users than "copying" and "pasting." From our central office, we handle 25 remote locations, so we save a lot of time because we don't have to retrain users each time we need them to send us screen shots. We highly recommend the product.
Editor's note: Hardcopy offers a number of print screen options. By utilizing keyboard shortcuts or by clicking on the printer icon in your objects, you can print the current screen, current window, or a partial window. Hardcopy works with all versions of Windows, including Windows Vista, and is available as a free download on Hardcopy's Web site.
Migrate to a Virtual Infrastructure
VMware Converter 3 Beta
Starting a new datacenter in the virtual machine (VM) world would be a snap, but what if you already have physical servers running and configured? Most infrastructure departments simply don't have the time to manually move each server to a VM. Fortunately, VMware has a product called P2V Assistant to automate the process. The next-generation P2V (Physical to Virtual) and V2V (Virtual to Virtual) conversion tool is called VMware Converter 3, which is currently in beta testing. Converter can migrate physical, virtual, and even disk images like Norton Ghost. Once a machine has been converted to a VM, it can be used on VMware ESX Server 2.5 and higher, VMware Workstation 4 and higher, VMware GSX Server 3.x, VMware Server 1.0, and even VMware Player.