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Does using utility programs help or hurt?

Discussion in 'All Other Software' started by tonyacardo, May 19, 2015.

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  1. tonyacardo

    tonyacardo Thread Starter

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    I have noticed that some forum users frown on using utility programs. Usually these disapproving comments are from people who are far more knowledgeable than I am about computers.

    Should I be using these utility programs?
    I have had installed different ones over the years, including;
    XP Repair
    Norton Utilities
    System Mechanic

    What are the dangers of using these utility programs?
    OR
    Is there no danger but they just don't really do anything?

    Do they force "canned solutions" on problems that are much more individualized because of the applications we have installed on our computers.
    (If I understand it right installing a new program changes the registry. That would be customization. Perhaps these utility programs have general answers to custom problems.)

    Anyway, what is the downside to utilities? If any.


    Also:
    Is there any problems with having Windows Administrative Tools automatically defrag and optimize my hard disk drives on a weekly basis. it recognizes the SSD and the normal drives according the the interface so that should be OK. Right?

    As always: Thanks for considering my problem.
     
  2. donetao

    donetao Banned

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    Hi It is my understanding that you should not defrag your SSD!! They do not need to be defraged.
    IMHO you do not need snake oil programs to keep Windows running well. Some of those programs have registry cleaners and they can cause you a lot of grief. Windows has all the tools you need to keep your machine maintained and running well. Learn how to use Windows tools and that's all you will ever need!!
    That's my thoughts!
    Here's a few of the things you can do!!
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/...optimize-windows-better-performance=windows-7
     
  3. Oddba11

    Oddba11

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    Jim
    I agree.

    If you are having a specific problem, investigate that specific problem.
     
  4. plodr

    plodr

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    They "fix" things. The problem is, you don't have any idea what was done.

    When you fix your own problems, you write down what you change or remove. Then if something breaks, you can un-do the damage. With most utilities you can't undo the damage unless you made an image and restore it after something breaks.
     
  5. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    By the way Windows will recognise an SSD and configure its automatic disk management appropriately which MAY include a very occasional defrag - since SSDs do suffer from timing problems through excessive IO just like magnetic disks.

    It doesn't take any longer to access the data on the actual disk if it is fragmented with SSDs, but none fragmented data would already be in the buffer and would not need fetching, so overall IO improves. The same applies to writes, if the block in which the data belongs is in the write buffer (a good chance with non fragmented data), the buffer will be refreshed rather than the "disk".
     
  6. JerryB52

    JerryB52

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    What about CCleaner?
    I've used this program for many years now...
     
  7. dvk01

    dvk01 Moderator Malware Specialist

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    In the old days of W98 and to some degree XP, some utility programs were useful and helped to clear out crud, junk and unwanted extras.
    However once Vista/ W7 and W8/W10 have come out the need and usefulness of them has dramatically declined

    The biggest problem with all these utilities it what they delete or remove.
    Registry cleaning to remove unused/duplicate and other allegedly not needed entries is fraught with dangers and can easily leave the computer in an unstable condition.

    About 80% of allegedly extraneous registry entries that the utilities find aren't extraneous at all, but either left for backwards compatibility purposes or reserved for future use.

    There is no point in removing unwanted file types entries for example because in the future when you install a different imaging program or office program etc, windows doesn't know what to do with that file type.

    When it comes to cleaning duplicate files on the HD, that is even more dangerous nowadays. Modern windows versions keep multiple copies of many important files in different locations, so different programs can use different versions if needed
    All these functions were not available in older OS like W98 or XP


    I could see the need for removing every single unwanted or unused entry back in the days of a HD being 2 or 4 or 32 mb and the OS taking up half of that. And HD costing an arm and a leg to replace or add an extra one
    Nowadays with a small HD being in the hundreds of GB and the os taking up 10%-20% of that, there just isn't the need. External or additional large HD are so cheap that is just isn't worth the risk

    Basically don't try to fix what isn't already broken. It will always end up in tears somewhere down the line. You might get away with it for quite along time, but eventually it will bite back.
     
  8. DSTM

    DSTM

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    Excellent advice. I think Windows has enough tools now to keep your OS running well without the need for third party programs. I stay away from any Reg cleaners and OS Optimizers including Driver updaters. As you say eventually they will bring you grief.
     
  9. AlomWare-com

    AlomWare-com

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    Most cleaning programs are just snake oil (fake), and will report "problems" with even a clean, fresh install of Windows! So if you're considering buying one, install Windows to a virtual machine and test the app in there first. If it finds any problems at all, then it's bogus.
     
  10. donetao

    donetao Banned

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    Here's how I keep my PC cleaned and maintained and running at it's best. I use a 3rd party back up program to create a image of my OS on a external drive.
    Instead of restoring all the way back to factory, I restore my PC to a image I created back a month or two. Then I install all the updates and create another image that I will use next time. That is a lot better than restoring to factory and having to install all your apps and basically starting over. I have a clean PC and all I have to install are a couple of months of windows up dates. In about 15 minutes I'm back up and running with a clean PC.
    It gives me some thing to do and keeps my old Toshiba running like a top. Also I know I can use that image to recover from just about any disaster;even a failed HD. I will never understand why people don't back up their operating systems with a free image program. If not a 3rd party program, at least the image program that windows provides. If people would do that, our services here at TSG wouldn't be needed as much and we could talk about other things. Using a 3rd party image program will take a little time to learn and I won't go into all that now, but at least use the windows back up feature. It's very easy and could safe you a lot of grief in the future.
    Make a couple of system repair discs. Buy a external drive and use the windows back up feature at least.
    A 3rd party program would be much better but at least do this much.
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/restore-computer-from-system-image-backup#1TC=windows-7
    I will continue to preach this, but it will fall on deaf ears and you will be starting a thread soon needing our help to recover your OS from some disaster that you thought would never happen to you.
    It will happen. It's just a matter of time. Just remember old Gary gave you a way out, but you didn't prepare and now you are in trouble. Someone here will help you; that's what we do, but why not help yourself and create that back up image today??
    Gary!!
     
  11. DSTM

    DSTM

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    With respect Donetao you are off topic. The discussion is about third party programs which can be dangerous and mostly snake oil.
     
  12. donetao

    donetao Banned

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    Hi! Use my suggestion instead of snake oil programs. Using my suggestion is a why of cleaning and maintaining your PC with no danger of any snake oil programs causing you grief. See my post #2!!
    Windows has all the tools you will ever need to maintain your PC
     
  13. nickib622

    nickib622

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    Excellent thread! Take it from me, I just spent $100 to have my un-bootable PC fixed after I tried to use "dupe" to remove duplicate music & photos! What a mess! I got off cheap! Don't want to do that again.

    IS there a SAFE prices or way to accomplish this without making the same mistake again? A free program would be a bonus!
     
  14. donetao

    donetao Banned

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    Hi! IMHO it's not wise to remove duplicate files as there could be a good reason for the file to be in other locations. Duplicate music and photos should not be a problem, however i wouldn't recommend any software to do that. If you got burned for 100$, why would you try another program and brick your PC again. I really can't see how removing music and photos would brick your PC, but I wasn't there and I don't doubt your word. I use a freeware called Search Everything. Excellent program that will search your PC and find all your files .
    http://www.voidtools.com/
     
  15. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    It is not as easy as you would think without specifying a bit more like how do you match them; name, size, date?
    Even if you match on those three, do you need to look at the content further?
    As above is there a reason for the duplicate; like back up?
     
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