Computer Systems & IT Applications │ Utility Software │ BBA Notes │ 1st Semester │ TU

Utility Software



Introduction

Utility software is a collection of programs that helps the programmer in performing some specific tasks by reducing the overall programming effort. Utility software helps to examine, organize, optimize or maintain a computer.

It is also known as housekeeping utilities or service program. Generally, utility software emphasizes how computer infrastructures operate. This includes application and data storage, computer hardware, and operating system.



Uses of Utility Software

Utility software is system software designed to help analyze, configure, optimize or maintain a computer. It is a type of system software that is used to support the computer infrastructure.

Utility software helps users with controlling and maintaining operations of computers, hardware, software, and other computer assisting devices.



Device Manager

The device manager is a control panel features in Microsoft Windows OS that allows users to view and control the hardware attached to the computer. If some parts of hardware stopped working, the wrong hardware is emphasized for the user to deal with.



Disk Cleaners

It is the maintenance utility included in Microsoft Windows OS that frees up disk space on a hard disk of a computer. It analyzes and discovers unnecessary files from computers and takes action to free hard disk space. Disk cleaner helps the user to adopt action - what to delete when their hard disk is almost full.



Disk Scanner

A disk scanner is a utility to check or read errors on the hard drive. It is a disk space analyzing and management tool for Microsoft Windows OS. It shows the disk space usage of any drive in the form of a multi-level pie chart. This can be navigated up and down through the directory tree.

When the mouse cursor is positioned above a pie, the program shows which directory the pie represents, the total files it contains, and the overall disk space occupied by it.

A context menu permits to open the directory inside the windows explorer, hide and unhide it from the diagram as well as deleting the pie from the disk either via the recycle bin or permanently.



Computer System & IT Applications │ Utility Software



Disk Defragmenters

They are the tools that rearrange the data on the hard disk which results in the computer running smoothly and efficiently. It can detect computer files whose contents are broken across several locations on the hard disk and move the fragments to one location to increase efficiency.

In the maintenance of file systems, defragmentation is a process that reduces the amount of fragmentation. It does this by physically organizing the contents of the mass storage device into the smallest number of fragments.

It also attempts to create larger areas of free space using compaction. Some defragmentation utilities try to keep similar files together within a single directory, as they are often accessed in sequence.



Antivirus

Antivirus is known as a virus scanner. It is a special computer program that minimizes or removes the effects of a computer virus. It is used to detect, prevent and remove malicious viruses or worms and take actions to prevent harm from them.

Antivirus should be installed in the computer system to free the computer from the latest virus. E.g., Windows Defender, McAfee, Kaspersky, AVG, Microsoft Security Essentials, etc.



Spyware

Spyware is a type of malicious program that can be installed on a computer that collects secret information about an organization or a user without any knowledge from them. The spyware is secretly installed on the user's personal computer. Simply, it is hidden from the user and it is very difficult to detect. Spyware is used for malicious purposes.

Spyware such as keyloggers is installed by the owner of a public, shared, or corporate network to monitor other user's computing. The spyware has its functions way beyond simple monitoring.


Spyware programs can collect various types of personal information of a user such as internet surfing habits and sites that have been visited. Spyware is mostly used for purposes such as storing online user's movement on the web, tracking and serving pop-up ads to internet users, and so on.

In response to the emergence of spyware, various organizations have to implement anti-spyware programs. It is also known as a spyware scanner. A spyware scanner is a special program dedicated to remove or block spyware. Major anti-virus firms such as Symantec Endpoint Protection, AVG, McAfee, Kaspersky, etc. have also added anti-spyware features to their existing anti-virus products.



Device Driver

Generally, the operating system provides the programs to support and work various devices on the computer. Sometimes, devices like printers, cameras, scanners, ROM, modems, etc. cannot support an OS. So, a device driver is a special program that is required to run, operate and control these devices which are attached to the computer.

It is also known as a software driver or simply a driver. A driver provides an interface between hardware devices and higher-level computer programs. Basically, drivers are OS or software-specific and hardware-dependent. The driver allows the proper functioning of computer devices like scanner, printer, TV card, NIC card, sound card, digital camera, modem, graphics card, etc.



Language Translator

Language translator is a software program that is designed to accept instruction written in a particular language (generally high-level language) and convert them into machine-level language. Language translator is known as language processor. Depending on the translator, this may involve changing or simplifying the program flow, without losing the essence of the program.

If all of the source code (in higher-level language) converts into target language which could be machine code in the form of an executable file is known as a source-to-source compiler. The content of such an executable file is known as object code.


If the translator converts a high-level language into a lower-level language (machine code), it is known as a compiler. The translator converts the source code (in higher-level language) into machine code, instead of creating an executable object file is known as an interpreter.

If the translator converts machine code to the source language, it is known as decompiling. It is done by de-compiler. E.g., DCC Decompiler, Boomerang Decompiler, and Reverse Engineering Compiler (REC).

If the translator converts codes written in assembly language into executable machine language, it is known as an assembler. E.g., MASM (Microsoft Macro Assembler), TASM (Turbo Assembler), NASM (Netwide Assembler), and FASM (Flat Assembler).


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