Product Reviews

User Manager Pro

This tool leverages group power to ease administration.

Consider the following scenario: You’re the senior network administrator for your company, and you work with a number of other administrators on a sizable network with hundreds of machines. Like many companies, you try to keep administrative tasks simple by assigning a common administrator password to all machines on your network so that any one of the network admins will be able to log into any machine locally with administrative rights. Now, suppose that one of your network administrators get fired, and you need to change the administrative password on several hundred machines right away. What do you do? You could try altering the space-time continuum so that you can actually accomplish this task before the end of time, or you could get User Manager Pro.

User Manager Pro is designed for this and many other similar situations, where changes need to be made en masse (and time travel is not an option). Using User Manager Pro, you can make a wide array of changes to groups of systems at a time. To do this you create groups and assign machines to those groups. When you open User Manager Pro you’re asked to select a group to work with, and when you select that group you can start making changes to the machines in the group.

So, to change the administrator password on all of the machines on the network: Create a group in User Manager Pro, assign all network machines to the group (which can be done through discovery methods), select the machines in the group and make the change. And you aren’t limited to just passwords. You can change just about anything: Group membership, Registry entries, auditing and user rights, and the list goes on. There is even a handy little app that will physically identify a computer remotely by playing a short tune on the remote system. It’s all pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

One of the handiest features is the random password generator. This little gem is built in, but you have to pay extra to activate it. The tool generates a random password for each network machine. You can make these passwords extremely complex. An example of a generated random password: 9iBREr#$YAh~N6. Just try to hack something like that! The software will even store the passwords for you in a password-protected database so you don’t need to try to remember them. This feature is great for generating one-time passwords to allow users administrative access to a single computer.

Lieberman & Assoc.  User Manager Pro
User Manager Pro hides a lot of power behind an unattractive interface.(Click image to view larger version.)

User Manager Pro’s main drawback is the interface. It’s pretty basic and, dare I say, unattractive. The buttons are small and there are a lot of abbreviations. For example, you may not figure out right away that the button labeled “Reg Perm” is for making permanent Registry entries. But this is a small price to pay for such a powerful tool.

Lieberman & Associates sets out to give network admins a product that would ease the job of making mass changes on their network. They did just that. This is an excellent tool that all Windows network administrators should seriously consider adding to their toolbox.

About the Author

Joseph L. Jorden, MCSE, MCT, CCNA, CCDA is Chief Technical Officer for Dugger & Associates ( He was one of the first 100 people to achieve the MCSE+I and one of the first 2,000 to become an MCSE under Windows 2000. Joseph frequently contributes to books from Sybex and various periodicals.


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