Five More Networking Tools

Last week I covered six of my top 10 networking tools and this week I have the rest of my picks for you. Again, if you have any tools you can't live without and always turn to, drop me a line and let me know. So, without further ado ...

I last covered GoodSync in a Gearhead column in the middle of 2009 and it is still one of my favorite workhorses.

See screenshots of each of these products in slideshow format.

Now available in both 32- and 64-bit versions for Windows and OS X as well as for USB flash drives, GoodSync can synchronize and or backup files on local drives, CIFS shares, FTP servers, WebDAV servers, Secure FTP (SFTP) servers, and Amazon S3 as well as Windows Mobile and Pocket PC devices (does anyone still use Pocket PC?). It can also copy locked files, encrypt files using the Windows Encrypting File System, handle symbolic links by either copying them or "drilling down" so the actual file is copied, copy NTFS Access Control List attributes, and perform line-by-line file comparisons using an external DIFF-like utility (such as WinDIFF). GoodSync, priced at $29.95, still gets a rating of 5 out of 5.

RoboForm is another product that, like GoodSync, I covered in a previous nail-biting episode of Gearhead (this was also back in 2009. And like GoodSync, RoboForm comes from the same company, Siber Systems. Also, like its sister product, GoodSync, I couldn't live without this utility.

What RoboForm does is manage your passwords. It integrates with IE and Firefox adding another toolbar from which you can invoke "One-Click" loading and automatic login of Web sites, fill and save Web forms and passwords, and generate real, serious custom passwords.

RoboForm is available in three versions: The Everywhere version ($9.95) provides not only password management on your desktop but also licenses you to run RoboForm on any number of devices and all passwords are synchronized between all devices through your included "Everywhere online account". The Desktop version ($29.95) supports multiple profiles (Everywhere only provides one identity). The RoboForm2Go version ($39.95) provides similar features to the desktop version but works off a USB drive. The entire product line gets a rating of 5 out of 5.

I've always thought it curious that Microsoft never provided a decent task manager until they acquired Process Manager. Up until then the included Task Manager was too techie for the average user and nowhere near sophisticated enough for expert users.

Process Explorer changed that for the expert users and provides: a list of currently active processes and their owning accounts, handles that a selected process has opened, DLLs and memory-mapped files that the process has loaded, a process search feature that will show you which processes have particular handles opened or DLLs loaded, process killing, examination, resource usage analysis, system shutdown, replaces the Windows Task Manager, and much more. This is a great tool that gets a rating of 5 out of 5 and is definitely one I can't live without.

I feel that I need to lump VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion together simply because they both do the same thing but on different platforms. That same thing is making it possible to run, in parallel, pretty much any x86-based operating system in a virtual machine on top of the host operating system. Tons of RAM is a great idea as is having as fast a processor as you can get your sweaty hands on.

I couldn't live without these VM tools: Being able to run Ubuntu, or Windows Vista, or Windows XP (the latter with one of the few video games I really like, to wit, LucasArts PodRacer) on top of OS X on my new 27-inch iMac with an i7 processor is pretty amazing.

VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion, which together are my pick of all of the tools I've discussed, both get a rating of 5 out of 5.

Gibbs tests in Ventura, Calif. Quiz him at gearhead@gibbs.com.

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