Review: AdminToys Suite 2012

Network admins have to think about looking after large numbers of computer, but even home users find that there are often two, three or even more PCs to tend to. If you find yourself having to maintain multiple machines, you’ll probably want to avoid having to physical access each one wherever possible.

This is something that AdminToys Suite can help with, making it possible to monitor and administer not only the computer you are sitting in front of, but also others that are connected to the same network.

Introducing The Suite

In many respects, AdminToys Suite is very much what you would expect from any sort of tool that provides you with system information; the fact that it can be used on remote machines in addition to the one it is installed on is not something that may be immediately apparent.

The main interface is icon-heavy, much like Windows’ own Control Panel, and it is divided up into four main sections. The Dashboard section is the first to load and this is likely t be where you will spend the majority of your time.

Despite the range of options available, AdminToys Suite does not feel overwhelming in the slightest.

Despite the range of options available, AdminToys Suite does not feel overwhelming in the slightest.

Select any of the tools that are on offer – from looking at running processes and viewing storage details, to editing the registry and managing performance – and you’ll be invited to connect to a remote computer. This is the case no matter what you choose to do, and you can opt to have your choice remembered so that you are not constantly pestered with the same question, or stick with making a selection each time.

Work locally or remotely? The choice is yours, every time.

Work locally or remotely? The choice is yours, every time.

Monitoring the performance of computers on the network is a great way to ensure that each system is functioning as it should and that there are no hardware issues that need attention. This particular module works in much the same way as Windows’ own Performance Monitor and involves the setting up of counter to monitoring various aspects of a system – such as network performance, CPU load, memory usage, etc.

By monitoring the performance of systems, you can quickly identify bottlenecks and isolate problems.

By monitoring the performance of systems, you can quickly identify bottlenecks and isolate problems.

While all of this is very useful, it is hard to ignore the fact that many of the tools that are to be found in the suite are merely copies of those that are already available in Windows, and in many instances there is not even the bonus of a bettered tool. In too many cases when you click an option within Admin Toys Suite, it is a built in feature of Windows that springs into action rather than part of the program itself.

Many of the components of AdminToys Suite replicate features of Windows or just provide access to them.

Many of the components of AdminToys Suite replicate features of Windows or just provide access to them.

Batch Processing

If you do find that you are working with a number of computers at once, there’s a high chance that you’ll want to perform certain routine maintenance tasks on them all simultaneously – from restarting or shutting down to generating a system report or controlling services. Whatever it is you need to do, the Batch Processing section is where you need to head.

Performing tasks in batches can save a good deal of time when working with several computers.

Performing tasks in batches can save a good deal of time when working with several computers.

There’s also the very handy Report Builder which can be used to generate a report including a list of all of the hardware and software installed on the machines on a network. In many organizations, systems are going to be identical which renders this component fairly redundant, but in environment where users are afforded greater control over their own systems it will prove very useful.

Very detailed system reports make it easy to audit all of the computers you manage in moments.

Very detailed system reports make it easy to audit all of the computers you manage in moments.

Summing Up

There’s no getting away from the fact that this is not a cheap piece of software and you’ll undoubtedly want to check it out to see if it is the right tool for you before you part with any money. It’s good to see that there is a trial version of the program available, and the only way in which this is limited is in the fact that it can only be used for thirty days – apart from this, you have a full version to test drive.

It’s also great to find that all of the tools can be used on your local computer as well as on remote machines. This gives you the opportunity to test out more scenarios without the need to have round-the-clock access to a large network of computers. In many respects, AdminToys Suite 2012 would be a great power-user tool for use on a stand-alone PC, but the price is far too prohibitive for this to be realistic for most people.

There is also quite a lot of overlap with tools that are already built into Windows – although there is the obviously bonus of remote information added – and this reduces the value of the suite a little.


Summary

One for the more serious sys admins out there, this is a reasonable set of tools that is let down by a slightly limited feature set and a high price tag.

7
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