As Microsoft releases newer and better versions of its Windows operating systems, it is also improving on Windows utilities that have been in the software from the start. In the past many utilities were optional and not necessary for the average user. It may have been more so for power users or advanced users who need extra utilities to have more control over the operating system. Today, however, nearly anyone from young kids, to adults, to the elderly are getting maximum use from owning a PC that uses the Windows operating system. Now, everyone needs to learn about these utilities, not just a few power users. The following are a few tips to help you more effectively put these utilities to use.
Access most Windows utilities from Start Menu. If you use Windows Vista or Windows 7, Microsoft included a search box at the bottom of this menu. You can type in the exact name of a utility, such as Disk Defragmenter, and the icon to open this software appears at the top of the menu. Even if you don't know the name of the Windows utility, you can type in a keyword that relates to the software and search box on the Start Menu is intuitive enough to bring up the utility that closely matches the keyword. For example, if you type "clean" you will see the Disk Cleanup utility appear on the menu; this is useful for cleaning clutter from the hard drive.
Before purchasing a third-party utility, such as registry cleaner, verify there aren't Windows utilities that perform the same functions. Software developers are free to create programs for Windows, even those that rival utilities that are already available. You could unnecessarily end up paying for software that you don't need.
If your computer does not function properly after running Windows utilities, you can run the System Restore utility to undo the actions of other utilities.
Perform updates and upgrades to the operating system on a regular basis to keep the Windows utilities functioning properly. The Windows Update Service is a utility, by the way.
If you are unfamiliar with how to use one of the Windows utilities, click on the Help menu or the "?" to review tutorial about how to use the program.
Windows utilities don't always function the same across versions, such as Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. For example, the Backup utility in XP is not always compatible with files that are backed up in Vista or Windows 7.
Sources and Citations
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- "Getting Started with Internet Explorer 9." Getting Started with Internet Explorer 9. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Getting-started-with-Internet-Explorer-9>.
- "Getting Started with Windows 7." - Help & How-to. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/help/getting-started>.
- "My Seven Favorite Windows 7 Utilities." Technology News, Analysis, Comments and Product Reviews for IT Professionals. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://www.zdnet.com/photos/my-seven-favorite-windows-7-utilities/6342513>.
- "Optimize Windows 7 for Better Performance." Optimize Windows 7 for Better Performance. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Optimize-Windows-7-for-better-performance>.
- O'Reilly, Dennis. "Free Alternatives to Windows' Built-in Utilities." CNET News. CBS Interactive, 10 Feb. 2009. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://news.cnet.com/8301-13880_3-10160103-68.html>.
- O'Reilly, Dennis. "Handy Windows 7's Utilities You May Not Know about." CNET News. CBS Interactive, 20 June 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://news.cnet.com/8301-13880_3-20072652-68/handy-windows-7s-utilities-you-may-not-know-about/>.
- "Personalizing Your Computer." Microsoft Windows. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/personalizing-your-computer>.
- "Tablet PC Improvements." Tablet PC. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/features/tablet-pc>.
- "What Is Windows 7? - Microsoft Windows." Microsoft Windows. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/what-is>.
- "What's Included in Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1)." What's Included in Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1). Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/whats-included-in-windows-7-service-pack-1-sp1>.
- "What's New in Ease of Access (Accessibility)?" Microsoft Windows. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Whats-new-in-Ease-of-Access-Accessibility>.
- "What's New in Windows 7 for IT Pros." Microsoft Windows. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Whats-new-in-Windows-7-for-IT-pros>.
- "What's New with the Start Menu?" Microsoft Windows. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Whats-new-with-the-Start-menu>.
- "What's New with the Windows Desktop?" Microsoft Windows. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Whats-new-with-the-Windows-desktop>.
- "What's New with the Windows 7 Taskbar?" What's New with the Windows 7 Taskbar? Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Whats-new-with-the-Windows-7-taskbar>.
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