Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Getting Productive with Software Utilities

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Getting Productive with Software Utilities

Article excerpt

Getting Productive With Software Utilities: Every time Microsoft releases a new operating system, the question arises anew: What utilities do I need for my computer?

Computer utilities are small programs that help you work better with your hardware or existing software. Unlike application programs, they don't let you do anything externally, such as pre-pare a letter or budget.

To its credit, with each new version of Windows, and before mat of DOS, Microsoft has bundled in utilities you previously had to pay extra for.

Windows Me, the latest version, includes tools for restoring corrupted system files, sharing an Internet connection among multiple PCs, reattaching files that become fragmented, viewing graphics, deleting unnecessary files and backing up data and programs.

Unfortunately, the utilities Microsoft typically provides are limited compared with "third-party" programs, and this continues with Windows Me.

That's why utilities remain popular. Five of the top 10 best-selling business software programs are utilities, according to the latest numbers from the market research firm PC Data.

Whether you use a PC in a business or home setting, utilities can boost your productivity. There's a slight risk to such experimentation, however. Infrequently, a poorly designed utility can corrupt other software. The remedy typically involves simply reinstalling the corrupted software, though very infrequently it can necessitate wiping your hard disk clean and reinstalling everything.

What's more, when used carelessly, some utilities can temporarily disable a computer, which is why in organizational settings some system administrators restrict the use of utilities to advanced users.

Here's a roundup of some of the best utilities on the market today, common names as well as little gems you may not have heard of.

Norton System Works : Peter Norton popularized third-party utilities back in the 1980s. Although he sold the store to utility powerhouse Symantec, their latest utility suite, Norton System Works, seems stable. Included are top-notch tools for system maintenance, debris clean-up and virus protection. The pro version also offers fax and drive imaging programs.

Norton Personal Firewall

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