1. Welcome

System Tools is a Windows application that allows common system administration tasks to be executed on multiple computers by the single click.
It is no different than other system utilities that modify system settings in that respect, except for one key difference: System Tools can make changes to potentially hundreds of computers with the click of a button. It can significantly improve the maintenance of the network computers and speed-up the performing of day-to-day tasks. The intuitive interface simplifies the different tasks.

The following administration tasks are supported:

  • Network Ping
    • Check online status on many hosts in the network at once
  • File System
    • Retrieve attributes for a specified file(s) on remote host(s)
    • Search for the specific file on remote host(s)
    • Delete a file(s) from remote host(s)
    • Copy file(s) and directory trees to remote host(s)
    • Copy file(s) and directory trees from remote host(s)
    • Compare file(s) between local machine and remote host(s)
    • Create a directory on remote host(s)
    • Delete a directory from remote host(s)
  • Registry Maintenance
    • Read a value(s) from the registry on remote host(s)
    • Search for the specific key(s) or value(s) from in the registry on remote host(s)
    • Create or modifies a key or value in the registry on remote host(s)
    • Delete key(s) or value(s) from the registry on remote host(s)
    • Backup and restore registry key(s) or value(s) on remote host(s)
    • Export and import registry key(s) or value(s) on remote host(s)
  • Remote Control
    • Display a list of currently running processes on remote host(s)
    • Create a new process on remote host(s)
    • Terminate a running process on remote host(s)
    • Display a list of installed software or search for a specific installed software on remote host(s)
    • Perform log-off, shutdown, reboot or power-off of remote host(s)
  • Services Maintenance
    • Read information about services from remote host(s)
    • Modify parameters of a service on remote host(s)
    • Stop / Start / Restart a service on remote host(s)
  • INI File Management
    • Read a key value(s) from a standard format .ini file
    • Search for the specific key(s) or value(s) in .ini file on remote host(s)
    • Write or modify a value(s) of a standard format .ini file on remote host(s)
    • Delete a key(s) or a section(s) from a standard format .ini file on remote host(s)
  • ODBC Maintenance
    • Get information about a DSN(s) from remote host(s)
    • Copy the specified DSN(s) from local machine to remote host(s)
    • Delete the specified DSN(s) from remote host(s)
    • Copy the driver file that is associated with the ODBC driver to remote host(s)
  • Windows Events
    • Read events from event log(s) of remote host(s)
    • Clean the specified event log(s) of remote host(s)
    • Backup the specified event log(s) from remote host(s)
  • WMI Queries
    • Querying WMI repository for the information about computer components and software from remote host(s)
  • System Information
    • Get information about computer manufacturer and computer model from remote host
    • Get information about BIOS manufacturer and BIOS version from remote host
    • Get information about type, architecture, speed and number of processors from remote host
    • Get information about minimum, maximum and average usage of CPU at the access time from remote host
    • Get information about total and free amount of memory from remote host
    • Get information about display adapter from remote host
    • Get information about network card and the primary IP address from remote host
    • Get information about type, architecture, service pack, build and language of OS from remote host
    • Get information about country, location, date and time formats configured for the default user on remote host
    • Get information about time zone and daylight saving status configured on remote host
    • Get information about primary DNS server configured on remote host
    • Get information about primary WINS server configured on remote host
    • Get information about default gateway configured on remote host
    • Get information about DHCP server configured on remote host
    • Get information about drivers installed on remote host
    • Get information about programs that run at startup on remote host
    • Get information about Internet Explorer version installed on remote host
    • Get information about Java version installed on remote host
    • Get information about DirectX version installed on remote host
    • Get information about Windows Media Player version installed on remote host
    • Get information about QuickTime version installed on remote host
    • Get information about Data Execution Prevention and (PAE) status from remote host
    • Get information about Windows Firewall service status, status of firewall policies and parameters from remote host
    • Get information about Windows Update service status and its parameters from remote host
    • Get information about user accounts created on remote host
    • Get information about users logged on remote host
    • Get information about network shares created on remote host
    • Get information about time difference between the local and remote host

Questions regarding System Tools should be directed to: support@systemtoolslab.com

Please take a moment now to review the Read This First page.

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2. How does it work

System Tools software is based on WMI, which stands for Windows Management Instrumentation. WMI’s purpose is similar to that of SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol): to enable the querying and control of management information in an enterprise – but it has a significantly different architecture under the covers.

Compared to SNMP, WMI provides a higher-level representation of systems, in that it supports properties, events and methods on top of classes of objects, along with a more powerful query language than SNMP supports. Of course, this also means it’s a bit more complex to use and has more overhead on the systems. It has been available in Windows since way back in the Windows 95 and Windows NT era.

WMI is the Microsoft implementation of Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM), which is an industry initiative for a standard technology for accessing management information in an enterprise environment. WMI uses the Common Information Model (CIM) industry standard. And as happens with so many implementations of standards – it is not at all interoperable with any other version of the standard.
In other words, WMI is an implementation of ‘standards based’ management, which only works on and with Windows.

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3. Read This First

 
Please read this CAREFULLY before using System Tools.
 

System Tools can help automate many tasks and save significant amounts of time, but it can also wreak havoc on networks. This tool is only recommended for experienced system administrators and network professionals.

System Tools is no different than other system utilities that modify system settings in that respect, except for one key difference: System Tools can make changes to potentially hundreds of computers with the click of a button.

 
Many of the actions performed with System Tools cannot be undone!
 

In general, any action performed by System Tools should be assumed to be able to cause an irreversible side-effect. Only those actions specifically designated as “read-only” in this manual should be considered safe. The actions listed below are designed to make changes to multiple remote systems and cannot be undone. Other actions (e.g. “Execute Process”) may alter remote systems depending on user input.

File Management: If “Overwrite existing files” is selected then remote files will be silently overwritten. Care must be taken to ensure that files are not accidentally overwritten. “Delete files” will delete files on the remote system. This action cannot be undone.

Registry Update: Deleting keys or values on multiple machines can render those installations unusable. Even adding keys and values to the registry can create undesirable behavior. Extreme caution should be exercised when making any kind of registry change to multiple computers.

Remote Control: When shutting down or rebooting servers, a timeout of 5 minutes or more is recommended so that users or administrators on those machines have enough time to abort the action, if necessary.

Service Update: Removing a service cannot be reversed, especially when also removing the service file.

ODBC Update: Updating ODBC drivers can potentially corrupt the ODBC setup on the remote machine and might require reinstalling the respective ODBC driver. “Attempt to copy driver files” and “Copy additional drivers” should only be selected if the files the ODBC driver(s) require are known. System Tools does not provide a mechanism to undo a “Delete DSN” operation.

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4. Requirements

4.1.   Operating Systems (Local machine where System Tools is installed)

System Tools can be installed on the following operating systems:

  • Windows XP, Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 (R2)
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8 / 8.1
  • Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 (R2), Windows Server 2016

4.2.   Operating Systems (Remote Host)

System Tools can manage the following operating systems on remote hosts:

  • Windows XP, Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 (R2)
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8 / 8.1
  • Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 (R2), Windows Server 2016

4.3.   Typical problems.

The remote computer is not Online.
Sometimes the simplest explanation is the best: if a computer is offline you won’t be able to connect to it using System Tools (or using much of anything, for that matter). If you are getting a “Remote server machine does not exist or is unavailable” error the first thing you should do is verify that the computer is actually online; you can do this by trying to ping the remote machine, or by trying to connect to it using a command-line or GUI tool. Difficulties with the network tend to be more common than difficulties with the WMI service; because of that, you should investigate problems with the network before investigating problems with WMI.

Windows Rights.
Because System Tools intensively uses WMI interface to control remote hosts and to execute the actions, it is highly recommended to use Administrator credentials configured in the System Tools settings.
As a regular user (that is, a non-Administrator) you have limited ability to run WMI queries on the local/remote computer; typically, you will be able to retrieve information using WMI but will not be able to use WMI to change settings / execute remote commands.

WMI User Credentials.
Connecting to the WMI service on the local system avoids any issues with user credentials (indeed, it refuses to use them), and will always connect with the account of the user running the WMI query. When connecting to a remote server, however, you can use different credentials to connect.
The simplest case is where the account used to connect to WMI on the remote computer is a domain account in the Administrators group (not necessarily a domain Admin.) Because of User Account Control, the account running the WMI query must be in the Administrators group on the local computer to have the ability to run with elevated rights. This means that the user you connect as must be a domain account in the administrators group, on the
computer you are querying WMI on.
If you are using an account other than your own to connect to remote servers via System Tools, it is recommended that you set “password does not expire” on this user account – otherwise when the password expires, it may block an access.

 
To use WMI remotely, you must have local Administrator rights on the remote machine. If you do not, access to that computer will be denied.
 

WMI Service
WMI interface used by System Tools runs as a service with the display name “Windows Management Instrumentation” and the service name “winmgmt”. WMI runs automatically at system startup under the LocalSystem account. If WMI is not running, it automatically starts when the first management application or script requests connection to a WMI namespace. So, if you experienced the problem of controlling remote host, the first thing to check if “Windows Management Instrumentation” is running on remote machine.

Remote Registry Access
The “Remote Registry” service must be running on the remote host(s) for any feature that accesses the remote registry (e.g., Registry, Logons) to work correctly.

User Account Control (UAC)
Even though most features of  System Tools technically wouldn’t require elevated privileges on Microsoft Vista and later,  System Tools has been configured to always require elevated permissions to work correctly. This is to avoid problems with the functionality of the product and to ensure that all included features can be utilized to its full extent.

A Firewall is blocking access to the remote computer.
WMI uses the DCOM (Distributed COM) and RPC (Remote Procedure Call) protocols to traverse the network. By default, many firewalls block DCOM and RPC traffic; if your firewall is blocking these protocols then your script will fail. For example, the Windows Firewall found in Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 is configured to automatically block all unsolicited network traffic, including DCOM and WMI: in its default configuration, the Windows Firewall will reject an incoming WMI request and give you a “Remote server machine does not exist or is unavailable” errorIf you are sure that a computer is online and you know that you have local administrator rights on that computer, then problems getting past a firewall often explain why your script is failing. We can’t tell you how to configure your firewall to permit DCOM and RPC traffic; that obviously depends on the type of firewall you have.  

Because WMI uses DCOM (Distributed Component Object Model) by default to communicate between computers, it doesn’t use a single port – so it’s not easy to allow through firewalls. DCOM uses TCP port 135 to initiate connections, but then dynamically chosen ports are used to actually transfer data.

The actual port numbers are different depending on the version of Windows. On older versions of Windows (i.e. Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003) the dynamically chosen ports are in the range of 1025 to 5000. On newer versions of Windows (Vista, Windows Server 2008 and later) ports are in the range of 49152 to 65535. See this Microsoft article for details. This makes it hard to run WMI through firewalls without opening up a wide range of ports.

The Microsoft built in firewall can deal with the dynamic ports, but by default will block WMI. To enable remote WMI access while using the Windows Firewall:

  • You can use a netsh firewall command at the command prompt to allow for remote administration. The following command enables this feature:

netsh firewall set service RemoteAdmin enable
or (depending on your version of Windows)
netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group=”windows management instrumentation (wmi)” new enable=yes

  •  You can use either the Group Policy editor (Gpedit.msc) or a script to enable the Windows Firewall: Allow remote administration exception. To use the Group Policy editor, use the following steps in the Group Policy editor to enable “Allow Remote Administration”:
    1. Under the Local Computer Policy heading, double click Computer Configuration.
    2. Double-click Administrative Templates, Network, Network Connections, and then Windows Firewall.
    3. If the computer is in the domain, then double-click Domain Profile; otherwise, double-click Standard Profile.
    4. Click Windows Firewall: Allow remote administration exception.
    5. On the Action menu, select Properties.
    6. Click Enable, and then click OK.

There are other approaches to making WMI more firewall friendly – such as limiting the range of ports that DCOM will use via dcomcnfg, or configuring the WMI service to run in standalone mode with a fixed port via WinMgmt.exe /StandAloneHost – but, as in most systems administration tasks, the less things that are changed from default, the less problems you are likely to run into, so we won’t explore these methods.

The version of WMI on your local computer is not compatible with the version of WMI on the remote computer.
Unfortunately, not all versions of WMI are created equal. If you are running Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 (and assuming you have the appropriate Administrator rights and have your firewalls configured properly), you should be able to connect to any remote computer. This is not necessarily the case with older versions of Windows. For example, suppose you have Windows 2000 with Service Pack 1 installed. With this setup you will not be able to connect to a remote computer running Windows Server 2003. Instead, you must have Service Pack 2 (or a later service pack) installed in order to connect to remote machines running Windows Server 2003.

4.4.   Troubleshooting WMI.

WMI is great when it works, but when it doesn’t – it can be frustrating. Generally, the first step is ensuring that WMI works locally, using System Tools. This eliminates any firewalls and username password/domain issues. But even then, you will sometimes run into oddities – in which case these are some things to check.

WMI Services & Dependencies.
All of the following services should be running and set to an “Automatic” startup type for WMI monitoring to work correctly:

  • DCOM Server Process Launcher
  • Remote Procedure Call (RPC)
  • RPC Endpoint Mapper
  • Windows Management Instrumentation

And the following service(s) may be set to a “Manual” startup type:

  • WMI Performance Adapter

Weird Data from WMI.
Sometimes you’ll find that while some WMI queries work fine, some WMI data cannot be retrieved – even for objects that do in fact exist. You may retrieve errors such as “Empty result set”, or the permission error on some objects, but not others.
In this case, Rebuilding the Performance Counter Library may be necessary. Why? Because .. well…, the registry……. Just try it. It does actually fix issues.
If System Tools works locally, but for remote hosts does not – you most likely have either a firewall issue, or are passing in incorrect user credentials. For further WMI troubleshooting advice – see this Microsoft page.

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5. Installation

To perform the installation, execute downloaded package with administrator rights. This is necessary to avoid a potential issues of deployment.

5.1. Screen 1: Welcome Screen.

Welcome to the System Tools Installer. Setup will guide you through the installation of System Tools. It is recommended that you close all other applications before starting Setup. This will make it possible to update relevant system files without having to reboot your computer.

 Click “Next” to continue.

5.2. Screen 2: License Agreement.

Please read the license terms before installing System Tools. You can press “Page Down” key to scroll down the text and see the rest of the agreement. If you accept the terms of agreement, click “I Agree” to continue. You must accept the agreement to install System Tools.

Click “I Agree” to continue.

5.3. Screen 3: Choose Components.

Check the components you want to install. Setup will give you the best option, depends on the architecture of the local Operation System. Please select “System Tools (x64)” for 64-bit Operation System and “System Tools (x86)“ for 32-bit Operation System, installed on local machine.

Click “Next” to continue.

5.4. Screen 4: Choose Install Location.

Setup will install System Tools to the selected folder.

The default folder is: “C:\Program Files\System Tools” To change it, either type in the path yourself, or manually create an appropriate folder via Windows Explorer first, and then use the “Browse” button to locate the folder.

Click “Next” to continue.

5.5. Screen 5: Choose Start Menu Folder.

Select the “Start Menu “folder in which you would like to create the program’s shortcuts. You can also enter a name to create a new folder.

The default location of  Start menu entry: “Start > Programs > System Tools”. If you don’t want to create the program’s shortcuts in “Start menu”, please select “Do not create shortcuts”.

Click “Install” to continue.

5.6. Screen 6: Installing.

Setup will perform the installation of System Tools to the location, defined in the previous steps.

5.7. Screen 7:  Completing System Tools Setup.

System Tools has been installed on your computer.

Click “Finish” to continue.

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6. First run – Settings

While the first run of the System Tools you will be prompted to set initial settings. This settings are needed to be able to control remote computers by using System Tools and also needed to fine-tune the behavior of the software.

“Settings” dialog will be popped up automatically. If it was closed by mistake, it can be always found in the main “File -> Settings” menu.

6.1. Settings: General.

The first tab of the “Settings” dialog contains several sections with the general parameters of the System Tools.

6.1.1. Interface.

In this section you can select “Language” and “Theme” (Skin) of the System Tools. The initial version consist of only “English” language and “Default” Theme.

6.1.2. Remote Execution Credentials.

This block of settings is needed to identify the authorization parameters, which will be used for operations. There are two options available:

[Use Current User]

  • Yes – To use the account of the current windows user of local PC.
  • No – To use the special user account defined below.

You can fill “Domain”, “User” and “Password” fields manually, or to fill only “Domain” field and to import user from Active Directory by pressing “Select from domain” button nearby the input fields.

 
You must have Administrator rights on remote host to perform most of the actions executed by the System Tools software.
 

 

6.1.3. Remote Process Execution.

This section is needed to define shared folder on remote host, which will be temporary used for “Registry Backup”, “Registry Export”, “ODBC Copying of additional driver files” operations. Next to it, you can customize time to wait for an answer from remote command in seconds. In case of no answer from a process the command will be interrupted after this time.

6.1.4. Refresh Online Status.

System Tools can execute “Ping“ command on many hosts in multithread mode. This section can fine-tune the performance of the ping command by changing the amount of a ping threads to be executed in parallel, when “Refresh Online Status” process is initiated. “Ping Timeout” is time to wait for an answer in seconds from the ping thread and interrupt the thread in case of no response.

6.2. Settings: File Copy.

The second tab of the “Settings” dialog is related to the “File Copy” action behavior, were you can adjust the which attributes will be copied to destination file and the performance of copy operation.

6.2.1. Copy source file attributes to destination file(s).

Several attributes can be copied from source to destination file using “File” copy tab of the settings dialog. These settings can customize the behavior.

[File Attributes]

  • “Copy source file attributes” – copy source file attributes (Read-only, Hidden, Archive) to destination file at the end of the copy operation.
  • “Copy source file Creation Time” – Copy source file Creation Time to destination file at the end of the copy operation.
  • “Copy source file Last Accessed Time” – Copy source file Last Accessed Time to destination file at the end of the copy operation.
  • “Copy source file Modified Time” – Copy source file Modified Time to destination file at the end of the copy operation.
  • “Copy source file Security Descriptors and Ownership” – Copy source file Security Descriptors and Ownership to destination file at the end of the copy operation.
  • “Copy source file Compression State” – Copy source file Compression State to destination file at the end of the copy operation.
  • “Copy source file Encryption State” – Copy source file Encryption State to destination file at the end of the copy operation.

6.2.2. Algorithm to use for file verification of destination file.

Set of algorithms to compare source and destination file after the copy operation is completed to exclude the possibility of losing data.

[Available algorithms]

  • File Size – Only comparison of the source and destination file size
  • Bit by Bit – Comparison of copied bits between source and destination file (slow)
  • Checksum (MD2) – Using of MD2 (Message-Digest) algorithm to compare source and destination file
  • Checksum (MD4) – Using of MD4 (Message-Digest) algorithm to compare source and destination file
  • Checksum (MD5) – Using of MD5 (Message-Digest) algorithm to compare source and destination file
  • Checksum (SHA1) – Using of SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm) algorithm to compare source and destination file

6.2.3. Size of the read/write buffer.

Size of the I/O buffer to try to minimize the number of access to the disk an expensive operation in terms of performance. The optimal buffer size is depending on the storage/disk model or network configuration.

6.3. Settings: MISC.

6.3.1. Default Behavior.

All actions, which can be performed from the System Tool can be separated into “Read” operations (safe operation, to only receive information from remote host), “Write” operations, which could change the remote host file system, registry and i.e. and mix of “Read and Write” operations. This setting is needed to select the default program mode:

 
Please be very careful to use “Write” actions as many of these actions cannot be undone. Please read “2 Read This First.” section for more details.
 

6.3.2. History.

In this section user can define the number of Recent Scenarios to be displayed in the (Main Menu -> File -> Open Recent Scenarios) point of menu and life circle of log files, produced by System Tools.

6.3.3. Check Updates on Startup.

This option is enabling check available updates on startup process of System Tools.

The option available only in the Licensed (not Trial) version of System Tools. You will have warning message if option is enabled in the Trial version of the software:

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7. Licensing

Activation validates your software license to prevent fraud and abuse of System Tools software. The activation process sends information to Activation Server at various times, such as at launch, and during update checks for System Tools software. Activation is also required, to remove limitations of the Trial version to be able to control unlimited number of remote hosts, when executing the scenarios and to have Automatic Updates feature enabled.

7.1. Activate System Tools Online.

Please, be aware the single license is machine based and cannot be used on several machines, activation should be performed on the PC where you are planning to use the System Tools.

Make sure, your computer (where the System Tools was installed) is connected to the Internet. To Activate System tools online, please:

1. Install System Tools.
2. Launch System Tools.
3. Select “Activation” from System Tools “Help” menu.

Use the saved License Key for the product activation procedure by inserting of it into Activation Key field in the appeared dialog. You can always access your license information in “Purchase History” menu on the top of this web site after login. Activation Key will be also displayed on your purchase order confirmation email. Some email clients can classify the email as SPAM. Please also have a look in the spam/junk folder of your email client.

4. To avoid typing mistakes better copy & paste activation key from Purchase Order Confirmation into the “Activation Key” field and press “Activate” button.

5. The software checks the entered key on the web site and if purchase exists you will get confirmation of the activation.

6. You can always check if activation was succeed by selecting (Main Menu -> Help -> Activation).

7.2. Activate System Tools Offline (without Internet on the machine where it is installed).

How to activate if your machine cannot connect to the Internet? If you’re unable to activate System Tools because your machine cannot connect to the Internet, follow these steps to activate System Tools:

1. Install System Tools.
2. Launch System Tools.
3. Select “Activation” from System Tools “Help” menu.

4.  To avoid typing mistakes better copy & paste activation key from Purchase Order Confirmation into the “Activation Key” field and press “Activate” button. You will get the message “The Internet connection is not available”.
5.  Press “OK” button and then press “Activate” button again, “The Internet connection is not available” message appears again, press “OK” button to close the message window.

6. Activation dialog will be changed. It will display “Request Code”, which is unique identification of your PC. Press “Offline Activation” button to continue the activation procedure.

7. Please, copy and save both “Activation Key” and “Request Code”, it will be required to get the “Respond Code” on the website (https://systemtoolslab.com/getactivated) to activate the software.

8. Go to an online computer and navigate to (https://systemtoolslab.com). Use your credentials to login into web site.

9. After you logged it, click on “Activation” on the top menu on the web site or open (https://systemtoolslab.com/getactivated).
10. Complete all mandatory fields where prompted on the site. This will generate a “Response Code”, which will be sent to you by email. The procedure could take up to 3 business days.

11. Once you received your “Response Code” by email please fill it in dialog on your offline machine and click “Activate” button. If activation procedure was interrupted, you can always continue it from the beginning on your offline machine, after you received the “Response Code”.

12. The software checks the “Response Code” and you will get confirmation of the activation.

13. You can always check if activation was succeed by selecting (Main Menu -> Help -> Activation).

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8. Automatic Updates

System Tools has Automatic Updates feature. This feature is only available in the full (not trial) version of the System Tools. Automatic updates allow users to keep System Tools updated without having to check for and install available updates manually. The software will automatically check for available updates during the start up, and if found, the updates can be downloaded and installed with the single click.
However, users can force the manual check of available updates:

  1. Install System Tools.
  2. Launch System Tools.
  3. Make sure, your computer (where the System Tools was installed) is connected to the Internet.
  4. Select “Check for Updates” from System Tools “Help” menu.

  1. System Tools software update dialog appears and performs the check of an available updates.

  1. If updates are available, the dialog will display it with the recent change notes or will notify you about you already have the latest version.
  1. Press “Update” button to process with the installation.
  2. The update process itself consists of several steps:
  1. Downloading the update from System Tools web site.
  2. Backing up the current version of System Tools; backup is created every time during the upgrade; previous versions can be found in “Backup” folder inside System Tools installation folder:

  1. If updates were successfully downloaded System Tools will be closed automatically.
  2. Updater will replace all necessary files in the system.
  3. System Tools will be launched again with the updated version.
  1. Press “Done” button to close the dialog.

  1. Update has been successfully completed.
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