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SoftPerfect Network Scanner 5.2.2 Editor\'s review Overview When it comes to network management, few system administrators rely on freeware tools, as most of them are not that efficient or they lack critical features. Administrating the network and ensuring the security protocols are fully functional is not the kind of task that can be taken lightly. However, SoftPerfect has provided users with a free and extremely efficient NetBios and IP multi-threaded scanner that can perform the same tasks as its paid counterparts. While the application is not designed for novice or intermediate users, a tech savvy will get a real kick out of it. Installation The SoftPerfect Network Scanner occupies a small amount of space, 0.78 megabytes. There is no actual installation procedure, as you will only have to download the executable file and run it. However, it is important to note that the program is only compatible with Windows 2000 and newer operating systems. When you run the SoftPerfect Network Scanner for the first time, you will be asked whether you want to check for newer versions every time you run it. Interface The interface for the SoftPerfect Network Scanner application is basic and minimalistic, but the program offers advanced users quick access to all the important features. On the upper part of the window you will notice the buttons and shortcuts to the options of the program. Underneath, you are provided a tab in which you can enter the IP ranges you want to scan. The lower part of the window comprises of a field where found IP addresses will be listed. Pros While to novice or intermediate level users SoftPerfect Network Scanner may seem complicated, for system administrators or experts who are testing the level of permission and the resources available on their network it is a must-have tool. One of the advantages of SoftPerfect Network Scanner is that using it does not require you to be logged in as an administrator; basic user permissions will do just fine. The application is very adept to tracking down all the shared resources on the network, even the hidden ones. It can be used to look whether there are any writable folders or to mount and access available resources via the Explorer. By pinging all the computers found on the network, SoftPerfect Network Scanner notifies users which ones are on, what account is currently logged on them and how long has the uptime been. However, SoftPerfect Network Scanner does far more than provide access to this kind of information. In fact, the application can be used to control third party application by remote control, turn on and off network computers with the Wake-On-LAN feature activated and even send messages. Overall, SoftPerfect Network Scanner is a very versatile tool. Cons As mentioned, not everyone can use this application easily and the learning curve may be steep even for the more advanced users. It is not that the program itself is designed in a complicated manner. Far from it, as all the commands and shortcuts are exactly where they should be. However, gathering the data and, more importantly, knowing what to do with it can only come from an extensive technical background. Alternatives As an alternative to SoftPerfect Network Scanner, users can also try out the EMCO Network Scanner, the SoftDetect Network Scanner or the MyLAN Viewer applications. However, so far SoftPerfect Network Scanner seems to be the highest rated application in its category. Moreover, it also holds the title for the most extensive list of options and features, whereas the aforementioned software falls under the “specialized” category. Conclusion Any tech savvy would be thrilled to work with this program, as it simplifies the management of networks quite a bit. Its ability to gather exhaustive information regarding the shared resources, registries, ports and IPs conjoined with the effective means to access third party programs across the network make it a very powerful tool. And, the best part is that it is free. So far, there is no other utility that can be considered a serious rival to SoftPerfect Network Scanner, at least not free of charge. To sum it up, whether you are administrating the network or you simply like to use all the shared resources available on it, then SoftPerfect Network Scanner is the tool for the job. (c) 2005-2011 download3k.com. Review content is monitored. Do not copy without permission. Quotes with link are allowed.