I have just
written a new program called "Nutshell".
This is a "shell" which can be customized by the user,
and is intended for the following scenarios:
1. A menu for your own CD/USB with several applications and utilities.
2. A simple
GUI shell for running applications on Windows Server 2008 Core.
This is currently the main design goal for NutShell.
possible use for this is a simple and limited shell for using in
Terminal Services environment,
to provide users access to specific applications only.
uses a simple CSV file as input with a list of applications to
Such files can be created and edited using the tool of your choice,
Nutshell built in menu editor.
Notepad (or similar)
MS Excel / OpenOffice Calc (or similar)
Or a combination of the above.
is freeware like several other programs and utilities that I
and it can be downloaded and used for free.
Written by Yizhar Hurwitz,
The current version of NutShell is 1.20
written using Borland Delphi.
It is complied for 32bit, and can run on x64 systems as well.
There are no special system requirements, any Microsoft Windows environment should work,
such as Windows 9x, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008, Server 2008 Core.
NutShell is designed to work in restricted environments,
so it can fit in screen resolution of 800*600,
and doesn't need any special disk space, RAM nor dependant DLL files.
However if you use the freeware applications which are on the CoreShell ISO image,
please note that each application might have its own requirements.
Nutshell running on Windows Server 2008 Core, with several free applications and utilities (this is actually CoreShell)
NutShell Menu Editor:
download NutShell by itself,
and/or an ISO image called CoreShell which bundles NutShell with several 3rd party useful free utilities that can run on Windows Server 2008 Core without pre-installation, or on any other Windows machine.
The CoreShell CD can be used as a technician helper tool - to provide internet browsing on a server or workstation that has problem with built in Internet Explorer,
file manager alternatives when the built in Explorer isn't working properly or is simply not good enough for the specific needs, etc...
that the 3rd party applications on the CoreShell ISO file are simply
programs that I have downloaded and unpacked from their
but I am not affiliated with any of them, nor can I support them.
If you have any issue or question about the 3rd party applications - please contact their developers or web site.
that you use the CoreShell ISO file as a sample, and create your own
CD by adding and removing applications or commands,
and modifying the DEFAULT.CSV file to suite your needs.
OK, here are the links to download:
= NutShell ver 1.20
Includes Current version of NS.EXE + sample CSV and BMP files,
File size = about 200kb.
= CoreShell ISO file ver 2.00.
File size = about 50mb.
Alternate CoreShell downloads:
coreshell-200-folder.zip = CoreShell ver 2.00 as folder instead of ISO.
NutShell ver 1.20 and the following free applications that can be
useful on Server Core,
and also for regular systems.
– a great freeware for ServerCore setup and
CoreShell includes version for both Windows Server 2008 original and R2 versions,
and a script to launch the correct version.
- Console File Manager by Eugene Roshal,
CoreShell includes both 32 and 64 bit versions of FAR.
- by Marek Jasinski, http://www.freecommander.com
BTW - there are many other 3rd party file managers that can work on server core,
and you can find many of them in websites such as www.nonags.com.
- a VBS utility grabbed from MS Hyper-V server,
used to configure Windows Server Core settings and also for downloading Updates.
For Windows Server 2008 R2 – Sconfig will be used instead.
- by Nir Sofer, www.nirsoft.net
Check his website for many other free utilities.
MyEventViewer - Alternative to the standard event viewer of Windows:
Several network tools from Nir Sofer (NirSoft), and from myself.
NirSoft – AdapterWatch = Display network adapter and TCPIP info.
NirSoft - CurrPorts = Display open TCP/UDP ports.
NirSoft – DownTester = Test download speed.
NirSoft – PingInfoView = Ping monitoring.
NirSoft – FastResolver = HOSTNAME/IP/MAC resolver for multiple hosts.
NirSoft – IPNetInfo = IP whois client.
NirSoft – WhoisThisDomain = DNS whois client.
NirSoft – DNSDataView = DNS client.
NUTS – KIT = Ping monitoring.
NUTS – TestFile = Test network (or local disk) SMB performance.
- a great free web browser, www.opera.com
BTW - Mozilla FireFox can also run on Server Core (either the standard or portable version).
Q: A web browser on Server Core - is it sane?
A: Yes, I think that in some scenarios it is useful to run a web browser on Server Core.
Not for reading the news and webmail, but for example:
* The firewall administrator has mapped an external IP to the server core machine to allow access from remote,
and you want to verify it using websites such as www.showmyip.com etc...
* You are troubleshooting a problem on Server Core machine that can not download windows update from MS,
so one of the first steps is to verify that you can browse the Internet.
* You are connected remotely to the Server Core machine over a slow WAN link, and need to download a large file from the Internet.
Using a web browser locally can save you precious time.
* There are many other reasons - the bottom line as far as I think is:
It is not a good practice to use web browser on any server machine (including Core), but it is good to have one to use when needed.
* Oh, and BTW the CoreShell ISO is designed to work also on regular OS, not only Core.
RegAlyzer - advanced registry editor, http://www.safer-networking.org
- The good old free version 1.4 from http://www.sixty-five.cc
by Sean Werkema.
I recommend trying the newer shareware version as well.
- The amazing collections of sysadmin tools by Mark Russinovich and
Commander - by Chrisitian Ghisler,
A quality Swiss made file manager.
Unlike the other software on this CD, TotalCMD is shareware.
So if you plan to use it - please purchase a valid license (from the author, not from myself).
This page was last updated at July 3, 2010