Network auditing software can be a great way to monitor what’s happening across your LAN. In just a click or two you can browse connected systems, look at key hardware details and check installed applications, without ever having to leave your own PC: very useful.
Unfortunately the best tools also tend to be very expensive, as they’re much in demand. But if you’d like a quality networking audit tool without the corporate price tag, then one option may be to install Lansweeper. It’s an industrial-strength product which comes packed with high-end features, all of which you can use for the 20-day trial period. But when this is up you’ll still be able to run the free version, which provides detailed hardware and software scanning with more than 200 reports across an unlimited number of clients.
The setup process for all this can take a while, depending on your current system. Lansweeper uses SQL Server to manage its database, for instance, so if this isn’t available then it must grab a copy of the free Express Edition (a 100MB download), install and configure it. And the program is accessed via your browser, so it’ll probably need to add a web server, too. The setup program handles all this entirely automatically, but it’s a lengthy process, and you’ll have to be patient.
Once this is complete, though, scanning is relatively straightforward, and you’ll soon be viewing all kinds of details about your networked systems: operating system, CPU, video card, sound card, RAM, hard drives (including free space details), network shares, running services, installed applications and more.
The Config section enables you to drill down through all of this to uncover your target system’s IE extensions, network details, installed Windows updates, and much more.
And if you’re in a hurry then you can simply view Lansweeper’s dashboard, which will highlight key issues that you really need to address: systems without antivirus software, drives which are filling up, critical services such as Windows Update which aren’t running, everything you need to know.
If there’s a problem here it comes in the sheer volume of information; it’s a lot to handle in a browser-based application. But if you’d like to take a look at how it all works, then there’s a demo version on the Lansweeper site which will give you an idea, or you can just jump straight in with the trial/ freeware version: it’s a powerful package, and we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.