System Administration

40 Excellent Ways to Manage Your System – Essential System Tools

Last Updated on June 8, 2023

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
AlacrittyInnovative, hardware-accelerated terminal emulator
BleachBitSystem cleaning software. Quick and easy way to service your computer
bottomGraphical process/system monitor for the terminal
btop++Monitor usage and stats for CPU, memory, disks, network and processes
catfishVersatile file searching software
ClonezillaPartition and disk cloning software
CPU-XSystem profiler with both a GUI and text-based
CzkawkaFind duplicate files, big files, empty files, similar images, and much more
ddrescueData recovery tool, retrieving data from failing drives as safely as possible
dustMore intuitive version of du written in Rust
f3Detect and fix counterfeit flash storage
Fail2banBan hosts that cause multiple authentication errors
fdupesFind or delete duplicate files
FirejailRestrict the running environment of untrusted applications
GlancesCross-platform system monitoring tool written in Python
GPartedResize, copy, and move partitions without data
GreenWithEnvyNVIDIA graphics card utility
gtopSystem monitoring dashboard
gWakeOnLANTurn machines on through Wake On LAN
hyperfineCommand-line benchmarking tool
inxiCommand-line system information tool that's a time-saver for everyone
journalctlQuery and display messages from the journal
kmonManage Linux kernel modules with this text-based tool
KrusaderAdvanced, twin-panel (commander-style) file manager
NeofetchSystem information tool written in Bash
NmapNetwork security tool that builds a "map" of the network
nmonSystems administrator, tuner, and benchmark tool
nnnPortable terminal file manager that's amazingly frugal
petSimple command-line snippet manager
PingnooGraphical representation for traceroute and ping output
ps_memAccurate reporting of software's memory consumption
SMCMulti-featured system monitor written in Python
TimeshiftReliable system restore tool
QDirStatQt-based directory statistics
QJournalctlGraphical User Interface for systemd’s journalctl
TLPMust-have tool for anyone running Linux on a notebook
UnisonConsole and graphical file synchronization software
VeraCryptStrong disk encryption software
VentoyCreate bootable USB drive for ISO, WIM, IMG, VHD(x), EFI files
WTFPersonal information dashboard for your terminal

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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Czar Vg
Czar Vg
5 years ago

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

Andy Dengate
Andy Dengate
5 years ago
Reply to  Czar Vg

What are we warned about?

5 years ago

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

Malcolm Culshaw
Malcolm Culshaw
2 years ago

How about Ucaresystem-core and also topgrade? Using them both seems to ensure a smooth Linux existence.