Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Great New Free Utilities from Microsoft

Microsoft has released a number of great new utilities designed to make administration easier, especially in the Exchange space.  Most of these have been released in just the past three weeks.

  • Exchange Client Network Bandwidth Calculator BETA2 (link)
Helps reduce the risks involved in Exchange Server network bandwidth planning.  The Exchange Client Network Bandwidth Calculator has been designed to help anyone planning an Exchange Server deployment to predict the network bandwidth requirements for a specific set of clients.  The prediction algorithms used within this calculator are entirely new and have been derived after significant testing and observation.

  • Log Parser Studio (link)
Log Parser Studio is a utility that allows you to search through and create reports from your IIS, Event, EXADB and others types of logs. It builds on top of Log Parser 2.2 and has a full user interface for easy creation and management of related SQL queries.

Anyone who regularly uses Log Parser 2.2 knows just how useful and powerful it can be for obtaining valuable information from IIS (Internet Information Server) and other logs. In addition, adding the power of SQL allows explicit searching of gigabytes of logs returning only the data that is needed while filtering out the noise. The only thing missing is a great graphical user interface (GUI) to function as a front-end to Log Parser and a ‘Query Library’ in order to manage all those great queries and scripts that one builds up over time.

Log Parser Studio was created to fulfill this need; by allowing those who use Log Parser 2.2 (and even those who don’t due to lack of an interface) to work faster and more efficiently to get to the data they need with less “fiddling” with scripts and folders full of queries.
  • Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool (OCAT) (link)
The Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool provides a detailed report of your current Outlook profile. This report includes many parameters about your profile, and it highlights any known problems that are found in your profile. For any problems that are listed in the report, you are provided a link to a Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article that describes a possible fix for the problem. If you are a Help Desk professional, you can also export the report to a file. Then, the report can be viewed in the Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool on another client computer where the tool is installed.

  • CalCheck - The Outlook Calendar Checking Tool (link)
 The Calendar Checking Tool for Outlook is a command-line program that checks Outlook Calendars for problems. To use this tool, the Outlook calendar must reside on a Microsoft Exchange Server. The tool does not work with IMAP, with POP3, or with other non-Exchange mail servers.

The tool opens an Outlook profile, opens the Outlook Calendar, and then checks several things such as permissions, free/busy publishing, and auto booking. Then, the tool checks each item in the calendar folder for problems that can cause items to seem to be missing or that might otherwise cause problems in the Calendar.

And last, but not least...





  • Microsoft Script Explorer for Windows PowerShell Beta 1 (link)
Helps scripters find Windows PowerShell scripts, snippets, modules, and how-to guidance in online repositories such as the TechNet Script Center Repository, PoshCode, local or network file systems and Bing Search Repository.
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