Essential System Tools

31 Excellent Ways to Manage Your System – Essential System Tools

This is a series of cornerstone articles highlighting essential system tools. These are small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users of Linux based systems.

You’ve moved over from Windows or Mac OS X to the wonderful world of Linux. You’ve selected a Linux distro (after a bit of fruitful distro hopping), chosen a desktop environment, and studied the basic Linux commands. Now you want some really useful free applications. Well this article picks the finest open source software to help you manage your system.

The series examines both graphical and text based open source utilities. There’s a wide range of software we’ve recommended. There’s genuinely useful utilities, productivity software, networking, backup, monitoring, system cleaning and much more. All to download for nothing.

Every application featured in the series is open source goodness at its finest.

The series is growing. We’re currently adding an essential system tool to the series every fortnight or so.

Essential System Tools
ps_memAccurate reporting of software's memory consumption
gtopSystem monitoring dashboard
petSimple command-line snippet manager
AlacrittyInnovative, hardware-accelerated terminal emulator
inxiCommand-line system information tool that's a time-saver for everyone
BleachBitSystem cleaning software. Quick and easy way to service your computer
catfishVersatile file searching software
journalctlQuery and display messages from the journal
NmapNetwork security tool that builds a "map" of the network
ddrescueData recovery tool, retrieving data from failing drives as safely as possible
NeofetchSystem information tool written in Bash
TimeshiftSimilar to Windows' System Restore functionality, Time Machine Tool in Mac OS
GPartedResize, copy, and move partitions without data
ClonezillaPartition and disk cloning software
fdupesFind or delete duplicate files
KrusaderAdvanced, twin-panel (commander-style) file manager
nmonSystems administrator, tuner, and benchmark tool
f3Detect and fix counterfeit flash storage
QJournalctlGraphical User Interface for systemd’s journalctl
QDirStatQt-based directory statistics
FirejailRestrict the running environment of untrusted applications
VeraCryptStrong disk encryption software
UnisonConsole and graphical file synchronization software
hyperfineCommand-line benchmarking tool
TLPMust-have tool for anyone running Linux on a notebook
nnnPortable terminal file manager that's amazingly frugal
GlancesCross-platform system monitoring tool written in Python
CPU-XSystem profiler with both a GUI and text-based
VentoyCreate bootable USB drive for ISO/WIM/IMG/VHD(x)/EFI files
Fail2banBan hosts that cause multiple authentication errors
dustMore intuitive version of du written in Rust

The table is ordered by publication date.

If you have any recommendations for system tools to be added, drop us a comment below.

This article complements our recommended software where we recommend many hundreds of applications for all different purposes, not just system tools.

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  1. Instead of QDirStat, I still stick to ncdu. It’s fast, small and yes, it runs on a cli. So now you are warned 😉

  2. Interesting mix of cli and gui applications here, although a few are surprising. Helpful to mark which are cli and which are gui.

    cli – ps_mem, gtop, pet, inxi, journalctl, nmap, ddrescue, Clonezilla, fdupes, nmon, f3, firejail
    gui – Alacritty, BleachBit, catfish, Timeshift, GParted, Krusader, QJournalctl, QDirStat

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