Windows administration tools will stay free

Sysinternals founder Mark Russinovich says Microsoft's top priority is keeping widely used admin tools like Filemon, Regmon and Process Explorer freely available.

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Users of Sysinternals free Windows administration tools can relax a bit.

IN July 2006,  Microsoft took ownership of Winternals Software and its sister site Sysinternals, which offers for free the widely used troubleshooting tools -- Filemon, Regmon and Process Explorer. Since the acquisition, some IT administrators said they feared that Microsoft might alter the way the free tools are distributed.

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But Winternals cofounder and tool developer Mark Russinovich, who nows works for Microsoft, told administrators last week on his popular Sysinternals blog that Microsoft's priority is to keep the tools freely available. He also said that Microsoft intends to keep intact the Sysinternals community, which includes a newsletter, a forum and Russinovich's blog.

Microsoft is continuing discussions on how to keep the program successful in the long term, Russinovich said. So far, the company has introduced a Sysinternals end user license agreement, which "allows for wider use of Sysinternals utilities within a company," he said.

Russinovich said the tools will eventually be moved to the Microsoft download center, which will increase download capacity. The tools will not be wrapped in .MSI files, he said.

"Rest assured that Sysinternals, though it might end up looking different, is here to stay," Russinovich said in his blog.

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