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Safely Running Utility Software

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2005 by | Filed Under: System Tune-Up Help

We sell a lot of utility-type programs and it seems to be one our customer favorites, and with good reason. This type of software can perform duties that otherwise you would have to pay a tech to perform, and in some cases all the PC techs do is run utility software on your PC then charge you $65.00 for it.

This software can do things that you couldn’t do normally on your own (in most cases). Things like getting rid of that pesky software that you just can’t seem to get off your system, or some error message that has been coming up every time you start your PC for the past two years. You can keep your PC running like a Pro and save yourself some money in the process. Not to mention the self-gratification one gets from learning something new and rubbing it your friend’s face.

Now that I’ve described the great power, it’s time to talk about the flip side of that coin, the Responsibility. Not my favorite subject, but I have to talk about it. By nature most of these utility programs, and by that I mean programs that clean your system and repair registry values, are very powerful tools. These tools, if not used right, can cause unwanted problems in your system, either by corrupting a program or crippling some portion of your OS. This can happen very easily if you don’t have a good idea of what to look for and what exactly is going on.

These programs present you with lists and charts and a whole slew of information that may seem overwhelming. Most of the time you can let the program loose to clean as it sees fit, but this can, like I said before, cause some unwanted consequences. To avoid this I have put together a list of things you might want to do if you’re new to using these types of programs:

1. The first one is more of a consideration. If your system was having serious issues before you install the program then don’t count on software being installed after the fact to repair everything and have your system running like new. Not saying that Utility software won’t help but with PCs every situation is unique, and there’s just no guarantee in this situation

2. When installing this software always disable any anti-virus/spyware software especially, but all background running programs should be stopped before installing this type of software.

3. Once installed Read the Instructions before running it for the first time. I’m not saying to painstakingly go over every inch of the manual, but rather skim through the chapters and get a good idea of what you can expect the program to do. I would especially look over any area that describes the removal or cleaning of files and see if what procedures they recommend for ignoring files. If the program didn’t come with a paper manual then look for the Help link either off the main interface or as a sub-item in the Start/All Programs under the program’s name.

4. Most of these programs will have some sort of Temp or save folder where it stores everything that it removed from your system. This is in case you do remove something that you didn’t intend to, and would like that file put back. I get emails all the time from people who have run into this problem (of removing needed files), and the first thing they do is remove the utility program thinking it’s going to help when in fact they just made the situation worse. Now they can’t perform the program’s “Undo” feature which would replace the removed files.

These are just a few recommendations prompted by the fact that these are great programs, and you people love them and send me a lot of emails about them. I just want everybody to get their money’s worth and learn how great it is having a good utility program. Your system will be running smooth and you’ll be the wiser for it. I know how excited everyone get’s when some new software arrives—it’s hard waiting to install it, but just take your time with system utility software, look it over, and get a good feel for what it’s about to do, before running it.

~ Chad

Chad Stelnicki

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