I am going to try to put all tools that I think are valuable for a Network Administrator.
I will try to list free utilities first. I had used a wide selection of utilities and it is going to take me some time to backtrack them
Auditing: Newt Freeware . It installs quick. It runs quick. In about 40 minutes it gives me a list of all computers in the domain (we have 97) It can save a report in csv and html besides its own databse format. It list basic information hardware information, user, clock reading and uptime.
Auditing Advanced: If you are a consultant, you might consider better using Newt Professional. They have a demo version that scans up to 10 machines. A lot more complete. I had a problem gathering information from NT4 workstations and they were very quick to fix it. LOTS OF INFORMATION, and it only cost 200$ which is a lot lower than competition. This is my keeper.
Well, this is more difficult. Most utilities charge for it. And quite a bit. If you have to update a network that hasn't been updated in a while, i suggest using GFI's LANguard They have a 30 day demo for full product. After that advance features are disabled, which means basically it only scans basic information (similar to Newt) I am not a fan of their layout, but full product is too complete to use in other layout than treeview. This program lets you check for missing patch and services packs (among a large array os security). This is quite an expensive product, but 30 days is enought to patch most of the network to keep it up to date. After that, which a better network you can use..
Software Update Services From M$. It has a large deployment guide, but in short you can just install it in a Server family server, then configure the clients thru Active Directory or registry keys. Now you only have to read 4 pages of 100
You can even deploy the registry key (once you have a reg file with all the settings) using LANguard if you had it installed.
Later this year (around July) MS is suppoused to Launch version 2, which will be called Windows Update Services. This should be a lot more advance, having even reports (something I would really like from SUS) WUS is not available to download yet. NOTE: SUS takes quite a bit of RAM. I just realized this, so I haven't work in a looparound to restart the logging to RAM withouth having to restart (terminating the Service has no effect) Right now it has run for 3 hours and it is a similar stage than when started, using about 28 MB. When I realized it was using 560MB. It also requires enought hard drive to save all updates if you decide to host them locally (which is a good idea to save bandwith)I recomend a separate server for this if posible
Auditing And security MS also offers a security ScannerBaseline Security Analyzer V1.2 I am currently evaluating this. I had used far more advanced tools, but I think it does a good job considering it is free. There are a few more alternatives free too.
Auditing And securityNessus .It is only for Unix compatible systems, but it has a Windows client to run from a Windows machine.
With more time I will add more software. For now, I go to sleep