Utility packages can be used for a variety of system-maintenance tasks. They speed up your PC by cleaning out the rubbish that hogs memory and disk space, and improve efficiency by tidying the Registry, thus reducing the time that your system spends searching through files to locate the one it needs.
Utilities can even help with dire emergencies, by rescuing deleted files or preventing cataclysmic breakdowns of your hard disk. In short, utilities are essential for your PC's health.
There's a huge variety of utilities on the market. Some offer a broad array of functions, while others concentrate on tweaking a particular aspect of the PC.
In the following workshop, we've used Fix-It Utilities 7.0 Express. This offers a broad range of tools that will be useful for all users. Indeed, Fix-It addresses most of the problems your PC will ever face. You can grab Fix-It here.
Fix-It is able to clean up your hard drive, optimise your Registry files, check the status of your hard drive (and warn you if it is about to fail), keep track of system resources and even manage the programs that launch at startup. It can also recover deleted files, diagnose hardware faults and synchronise your computer's clock with an atomic clock.
We'll explain how to go about some of these tasks and give your system a well-deserved spring clean in the following walkthrough. Before you plunge into using the program, however, allow the included EasyUpdate software to update your installation.
EasyUpdate can also be used to set Fix-It to launch at startup, automatically check for updates, schedule a regular maintenance routine and back up data regularly - just in case.
1. Grab Fix-It Utilities 7.0 Express for free here. Install and run the software, then complete the registration process. Keep a copy of the serial number that appears in your browser window after registration, since you'll need to use it when first starting up the software.
2. Fix-It's main screen provides a quick summary of the current health of your PC. If the System Protection bar is at the red end of the scale, click Windows Update to ensure your Windows files are fully up to date. If the System Health bar is red, run a more general check by clicking the One-Click Optimize button.