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15 free Modern Windows apps for IT pros

By Eric Geier (Our Owner & Lead Wi-Fi Consultant)

Originally published on NetworkWorld

There are countless free app lists out there for traditional Windows applications and mobile OSs, but not as many for the newer Modern Windows apps. Most of these apps are still very basic in their functionality, but nevertheless there are some that are quite useful, even for network and IT professionals.

Remember, these Windows apps are especially useful for touchscreen devices, though they still can be used on regular desktops and laptops. Like with other metro-style or universal Windows apps, there are some benefits of using them over traditional Windows applications: easy installation on Windows 8 and 10 PC and mobile devices, automatic updates, standardized app notifications, and the ability to use live tiles on the Start menu.

All the apps highlighted here are free to download from the Windows Store, but most are ad-supported, some of which can be removed via in-app purchases.

1. Cisco IOS Commands

Price: Free
Publisher: JEAP
Supported OS: Windows 8.1 & 10

This is a simple app listing various common CLI commands for Cisco router and switch administration. It’s available even when offline, in case you need help on the job. You open the app, select Router or Switch, and then select a category (such as General, Port Security, or VLAN) to see related commands and a brief description.

2.Data Usage

Price: Free
Publisher: Smart Apps
Supported OS: Windows 8.1 & 10

This app takes network usage data collected by Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 and presents it in a more usable way than what the basic OS offers. This is especially useful if you connect to metered Internet connections like 4G/LTE, satellite, or Wi-Fi hotspot, so you can avoid overage charges. For regular Internet connections, it may also simply be insightful to see how much you download or upload.

In the app, you can see current Internet connection details and then choose which network’s usage history you’d like to view. For each network, you can see a line graph and pie chart of the upload and/or download stats. There’s also a table showing data usage for each day, which can be exported as a CSV file. You can also see billing details of each network, such as remaining data, if you set your data capacity and billing date.

The app’s live tile on the Start menu shows the network name, public and private IP, usage total, and number of days left in the current billing period.

3. Easy Wifi Hotspot Creator

Price: Free
Publisher: Twisted Utility
Supported OS: Windows 8.1 & 10

This app helps you create a Wi-Fi hotspot so you can share the internet with other devices from your Windows machine. It gives you a semi-GUI way to utilize the netsh commands in Windows to create a wireless hosted network instead of having to open a Command Prompt. It doesn’t directly create the network because the modern Windows UI doesn’t allow apps that type of access, however it steps you through the process of creating the network.

In the app you enter a network name (SSID) and password, and it generates a batch file that you run as an administrator, which contains the netsh command to create the Wi-Fi signal. Then the app shows you how to share the Internet connection, so devices connecting to the Wi-Fi signal will get Internet access. It also can generate a batch file you can run as an administrator to turn off the Wi-Fi signal.

4. IP Logger

Price: Free
Publisher: Stefano Pireddu
Supported OS: Windows 8.1 & 10

This is a very simple app that can be quite useful if you want to track the internet (WAN) IP addresses you connect through. Perhaps you need to know your public IP for security reasons when accessing remote servers. Or maybe you’d like to keep a log in case you need it for future audits.

After opening the app, you see a log of all the Internet IPs you’ve connected through, which includes the dates and times. The app also displays a Windows notification when the IP changes. You can also add the app to the Start menu to see the current IP on a live tile.

5. Lanscan

Price: Free
Publisher: Richard Cook
Supported OS: Windows 8.1 & 10

This is an open-source TCP and UDP port scanner, which scans the IP address range you choose for a predefined list of commonly used ports. It also displays the basic local and WAN IP address details of your current network connection. Any services found on the network are listed with the IP address and port. Furthermore, there’s a browse button for applicable services to open the web browser to it’s web GUI.

You can optionally remove services from the predefined port list that the app scans for. You can also add custom services by defining a name, protocol, and port.

6. Linux Cheatsheet

Price: Free ($1.49 for AD-free)
Publisher: Akshay Zade
Supported OS: Windows Phone 8 & 8.1, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 8.1 & 10

This is a reference guide for commonly used Linux commands and their syntax, great for anyone needing a refresher. You can snap the app to one side of the screen and then have your Linux console on the other side, giving you a good offline alternative to the main pages in the CLI. You’ll find a handful of commands in each of the categories: installation, search, network, boot, and file compression.

7.    MagicPacket

Price: Free
Publisher: DecaTec
Supported OS: Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 8.1 & 10

This app allows you to send Wake On LAN and Wake On WAN packets to computers and servers that support this type of functionality in order to start, restart, shut down, or hibernate them remotely. You can create groups to better control multiple computers and servers. NFC tags are also supported. Each computer can also be started with a shortcut URL. You can also pin computers and groups to the Start menu so you can start them with one tap.

In the app Options, you find where you can customize the Wake On LAN and Wake On WAN methods the app uses. The app configuration and profiles are automatically synced with your other supported Windows devices.

8./9. My Server and My Server 2012 R2

Price: Free
Publisher: Microsoft
Supported OS: Windows 8.1 & 10

These apps allow you to perform basic admin tasks, such as managing users, devices and alerts related to your local or remote servers running Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2 Essentials. You’ll also be notified of any status alerts or warnings. You can also access file and SharePoint shares for downloading/uploading. Offline file access is also supported, which will auto sync changes when online again.

10.  Network Speed Test

Price: Free
Publisher: Microsoft Research
Supported OS: Windows 8.1 & 10

This app offers internet speed test functions: measures and shows you the ping delay, download speed, and upload speed. It also displays the basic details of your current network connection. Furthermore, it conveniently saves the test results in history, shown on the right side of the app. If you pin the app to the Start menu, the live tile will show the network name and time of the last test.

By default, the app will warn you before performing the speed test on connections classified as a metered network, so you can rethink before using data. This warning can be disabled in the app Options, where you also find a Clear History button to wipe out the saved test results.

11.  Ping Tile

Price: Free ($1.99 for ad-free, $12.99 full-featured)
Publisher: Simset
Supported OS: Windows 8.1 & 10

This isn’t your mundane ping utility, but more of a connection monitoring and quality app. It can help you monitor and track the availability, latency, and packet loss of ping supported computers, servers, and other machines on a local or remote network. It has a simple built-in port scanner as well.

You can perform quick and simple pings, but you can also save the IP and port details if you’ll be pinging later. Additionally, you can schedule pings for one or more destinations and customize a graph to be shown within the app, or even create customized live tiles to show status on the Start menu.

For a $1.99 in-app purchase, you can remove the ads. Furthermore, a $12.99 in-app purchase gives you additional features: instant ping charts in 3D view, data visualizations, and highly customizable charts, including charts in the live tiles on the Start menu.

12. SSH-RT

Price: Free
Publisher: Varcade
Supported OS: Windows 8.1 & 10

This is a SSHv2 and Telnet terminal client that supports authentication with a password or Private Key Authentication using RSA or DSA keys in standard OpenSSH format. It has rich support for ASCII, VT100, ANSI, LINUX, and XTERM terminal emulation. It saves the connection details of your favorite servers for quick access. It even supports multiple sessions in a tab-like interface in case you need simultaneous access to more than one server.

In the app settings, you can change the terminal scaling and font sizes. You can also customize the key mappings for paste, backspace, and delete. You can also import and export the saved connections along with their private keys.

13. TeamViewer: Remote Control

Price: Free
Publisher: TeamViewer
Supported OS: Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 8.1 & 10

This a modern app that’s basically a slimmed down version of TeamViewer’s traditional Windows software. You can manually enter Partner IDs or login to your TeamViewer account to access computers, servers, and devices connected to your account.

You can also access the list of service cases if you utilize their TeamViewer Management Console and manage alerts if you utilize monitoring and tracking with their ITbrian feature. There are a couple of connection preferences in the app, like connection quality and resolution, but you won’t find all the same settings as found in the traditional Windows application.

14.  vxUtil

Price: Free
Publisher: Cambridge Computer Corp
Supported OS: Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 8.1 & 10

This is a multi-purpose app providing many network-related tools. The Information button simply gives you the local computer name and IP address. The Password Generator helps you create secure passwords with configurable minimum and maximum length with words, random characters, or only letters. There’s also a Subnet Calculator that gives you IP details based upon the IP and subnet mask you enter.

The app also provides the typical troubleshooting tools of Whois and Lookup. There’s simple Port Scanner and DNS audit tools as well for probing the network. The Quote/Daytime and TimeService tools enable you to query timeservers. There’s also Finger and Wake On Lan for remote administration.

15. Wi-Fi Analyzer

Price: Free ($1.99 for ad-free)
Publisher: Matt Hafner
Supported OS: Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 10

This is a Wi-Fi stumbler that displays the details of your current connection and access points nearby, including the SSID, channel, and access point vendor. It’s great for quickly checking wireless signals and interference. For your current connection, you’ll also see the IP and MAC addresses.

There are also graphs showing channel usage and signals so you can better visualize the environment. You can also apply filtering options to control which SSIDs are shown in the network list and graphs.

Keep in mind, channel-width details are not provided by the Windows 10 UI platform. Thus, like with other Windows 10 apps, you won’t see accurate channel usage graphs and interference analysis if there are access points utilizing channel-widths greater than the legacy 20MHz.

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