Utility Program a Must for Home-Business Computers

By Kellner, Mark | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 25, 1998 | Go to article overview

Utility Program a Must for Home-Business Computers


Kellner, Mark, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


You packed up your cubicle and stowed the last knickknack in your car. The place where you worked for so long fades in the rearview mirror. You're a free agent now, ready to take on the world from your family room, or bedroom, or study.

You're working at home. What software will you need?

Last week, I offered some suggestions on the computer you'd want to buy, plus the accessories you might need. Today, here's an overview of some key software any work-at-home person really should have.

UTILITY SOFTWARE

There's no doubt about this one: Some day, and probably when you least expect it or want it, your computer will break down. It will do so in a way that can be fixed with a utility program. But, you really should have that software before the fateful day.

My personal favorite in the Windows 95 world, these days, is Nuts & Bolts Delulifesaver from Network Associates Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif.(www.nai.com/products/retail/diagnostic/nutsdlux.asp). This program will monitor just about every function of your PC, tell you what's wrong and help you fix it before things get worse. What's more, it'll help you create a rescue disk that will boot your system should the worst happen.

For Mac users, Norton Utilities for Macintosh, version 3.5 (www.symantec.com/nu/fsnum.html) appears to be the leader for now. This software, which has been on the market for years, offers many of the same diagnostic and repair utilities found in the Norton Utilities for Windows 95 product, but without the bugginess of the latest version of that program. (It was those bugs - which included trashing hard disks on several new computers I tested - that turned me off to the Norton Windows product.) The Mac program doesn't have these flaws, so far as I can tell. You can expect to pay just under $100 for this program in stores.

You'll also want an anti-virus program, either VirusScan from Network Associates (for Windows 95) or Symantec AntiVirus for Macintosh. These programs should sell for under $50 in stores.

OFFICE SUITES

These tend to come in two varieties: modest and mammoth. The modest programs are often named "Works," as in Microsoft Works or, for the Mac, ClarisWorks. Often, these programs are bundled with your new computer. In case they're not, they each provide a good introduction to functions such as word processing, spreadsheets and databases, among other tasks. The only challenge may be in finding a copy of ClarisWorks for the Mac in stores - the program is in a bit of limbo and thus may be hard to find. …

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