Recommended Tools and Readings

The following applications, tools, and reading materials are all ones that I have personally tested or read. I highly recommend checking them out.

Readings
  • Windows Internals, 5th Edition by Mark Russinovich - Highly recommended if you want to learn what happens "Under the Hood" in Microsoft Windows. I have found it very useful for troubleshooting Windows problems, especially when having trouble getting a Windows installation to boot. This edition covers Windows Vista and Server 2008. The 4th Edition is available for specifics about Windows XP and Server 2003.
  • Programming Perl By Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, and Jon Orwant - Absolute must have book for any aspiring Perl programmer. Completely goes over every minute detail related to programming in Perl and also a great resources for learning tricks that are applicable to many other programming languages.
Tools
  • Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware - Great tool for removing pretty much any type of malware. Includes options to perform quick scanning which usually finds most normal infections extremely quickly. Paid version includes active scanner.
  • Sysinternals Suite - Complete set of programs to perform troubleshooting and diagnostics of troublesome Windows installations. Also includes tools for connecting to Active Directory, creating Virtual Hard Disks from physical drives, and viewing System Objects. Referenced extensively in Windows Internals.
  • HijackThis - Useful for identifying and manually removing malware. Shows programs and services set to run when windows boots, lists browser helper objects for Internet Explorer, and much more.