ICT
Computing
Responsive image

2.3 - Utility Software

Utility software

The OS uses applications called utilities which allow the user to manage the computer. There are many different utility programs and they may vary across operating systems. They are often accessed via a special menu or control panel in the OS.




Utility software

The OS uses applications called utilities which allow the user to manage the computer. There are many different utility programs and they may vary across operating systems. They are often accessed via a special menu or control panel in the OS.




decomposition

2.3 Utility Software


Utility Software

Utility software is system software designed to help analyze, configure, optimize or maintain a computer..

Utility software helps the user to control, manage, and maintain a computer's operating system, hardware and application software. These programs are designed to perform specific functions like finding files, backing up data, playing multimedia files, viewing images and so on. Unlike system software, utility software can be set up, controlled or initiated by the user. Many utility software programs are built into a computer's operating system.

There are also stand-alone utility programs such as backup utilities and antivirus programs. Typically, these programs come with additional features that help improve the already built-in software. They have to be installed to the computer by the user, and they do not depend on other software packages to function. These programs remove spyware and adware, compress files, burn CDs and DVDs, play media files, convert files from one format to another and do other unglamorous tasks.

Maintenance utilities

These include:

  • Backup - This allows the user to restore the system to a previous state which is saved as a backup. This is only usually used if a system malfunctions.
  • Disk cleaner - The storage drive is divided into a number of clusters. The table of contents serves as an address book, keeping a record of each file and the clusters used to store that file. When a file is deleted, the address to the location on the disk is removed. .
  • Disk defragmentation - When files are deleted, unused clusters become available for reuse. These can end up being distributed across a drive, especially if the original files were small. If a large file is then written to a drive, its data could be spread across different clusters leading to file fragmentation. Defragmentation involves rearranging the information on a disk so that files appear in continuous sequences of clusters. This will improve file access times. Most modern operating systems run this process automatically..
  • Formatting - Storage drives need to be formatted to be compatible with an OS. The OS usually formats storage media when it is connected to the computer. It is often the case that a storage drive cannot be compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X.

Security utilities

These include:

  • user accounts - allow the user to allocate specific users and protects personal files and programs from unauthorised access.
  • encryption - can encrypt data when it is stored, or whenever it is transmitted over a network.
  • anti-virus software - detects and blocks viruses.
  • firewall - can be used to filter between trusted and untrusted networks and prevent programs from communicating through the use of ports.

Task - 1

Create a table of Utility programs like the one below. List at least 12 different utility programs

Utility Name Type of Utility Example Description
Anti-Virus Security AVG Checks files before they are opened for viruses. Performs scans of the system

Task - 2

Discuss The Purpose Of The Following Utilities:

  • File Viewer
  • File Compression
  • Diagnostic
  • Uninstaller
  • Disk Scanner
  • Disk Defragmenter
  • Backup
  • Screen Saver

Task - 3

Advantages/Disadvantages:

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of utility software.



  • Learning Objectives

  • I can explain the purposes, advantages and disadvantages of utility software

Utility software

The OS uses applications called utilities which allow the user to manage the computer. There are many different utility programs and they may vary across operating systems. They are often accessed via a special menu or control panel in the OS.