paying for software

At the risk of painting a hat on my head, I have to make a small rant about paying for software.

I have had two fairly “small” tasks at my job in the last 8 months (no, not the only tasks, these are just two I’m pulling out). The first was to audit and “fix” file server permissions on a Windows file server utilizing AD accounts. The second was to be able to enumerate which Exchange mailboxes a user has rights to. Our company allows two levels of managers above an employee to have full access to the employee’s mailbox. To anyone who has done either task, what sounds simple is really not all that simple at all.

For the first one, sure you can dump a huge ACL list. But can you answer the question, “What does Joe Blow have access to?” Unless you have a strict policy on user rights management using AD groups, this is much harder to answer. I really enjoy using ScriptLogic’s Enterprise Security Reporter. While I don’t use this tool nearly to its full value, I do really enjoy the ability to audit a file server and dump reports on permission levels. Would I pay for this tool? I don’t know, but until I can, I just creatively use regmon and registry editing to avoid the trial expirations.

For my Exchange rights issue, I found Vyapin’s Active Report Kit for Exchange Server. This tool will let me pull out information from AD/Exchange and lets me answer my quesion, even with the export/print-limited trial. My main question was similar to the file server one: “Whose mailboxes does John Foo have access to?” (On a side note, the supposedly limited exporting seemed to send the tool into an endless loop and built up a 2.0GB excel file before I finally decided enough.)

In the end, I really hate paying for tools to do things I really should learn how to do myself, manually, someday. Windows scripting has long been on my list of things to learn, but quite often is nearer the bottom of the list than the top. Someday I will get this down, and then I can answer my own questions and needs rather than looking for expensive software to do them for me. There really are not enough hours in my day…

One thought on “paying for software

  1. As a post-script, I also hate signing up to get trials. Not only do I not want my information out and about on other company’s junk, but I don’t want to 6 months of sales calls because they think I’m a lead when I just wanted to try something new out. If I’m in the market to buy, I’ll come find you. I abuse Gmail and Pookmail for trial signups…

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