Utility software refers to a bundled system of tools that help you analyze, configure, optimize and maintain your computer.
These tools help improve the functioning and efficiency of your computer by performing specific tasks related to system resource management.
Utilities also focus on how your computer’s components operate. These include the hardware, software or apps, data storage programs and operating system.
It’s easy to confuse utilities with apps though. However, the two differ based on size, usability, complexity and function.
Utility tools are more technical and their users are at more advanced levels in terms of computer knowledge and experience. Conversely, apps are simple and anyone with or without technical knowledge or experience can use them.
Utilities may also range from simple and small to complex and large, and can perform single or multiple tasks. Some of the functions utilities perform include disk cleanup or defragmentation, data compression, file or document management, data recovery, virus detection and more.
If you’re looking for utility software examples, here are our top picks for the best utilities in different categories.
Your computer needs protection against viruses and malware. There’s a whole slew of antivirus software on the market with the best security features to help you protect your data and personal information. Here are a few good examples.
Microsoft Defender is a free antivirus software built into Windows PCs, but a paid version is available to corporate users. The antivirus offers malware protection and is enabled by default so you can work while it runs quietly in the background.
The software covers the basic internet security areas, but you get frequent updates to the software. You can tune the protection level to your liking thereby blocking potentially unwanted apps and protecting your files and folders from ransomware.
If you prefer a third-party antivirus, Norton 360 with LifeLock Select is an excellent choice. The antivirus works with Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices. Plus, you get the LifeLock feature, which provides great virus and malware detection and protection to your devices.
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Bitdefender is a reputable brand in the security software space. Their free and paid versions provide excellent security against viruses and malware for your devices.
The antivirus is easy to set up and stays in the background until you really need it. Plus, the software monitors your system for viruses, malware, ransomware and spyware in real-time.
The protection is solid, and you can run a VPN and set up parental controls on different devices.
Malwarebytes is another good security utility software that protects your computer from virus or malware attacks. The software works in Windows, Mac and Android devices, and is known as the go-to disinfectant for many users.
You can use it on all your devices and it will detect and remove any threats when you run antivirus scans on your devices.
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McAfee is another well-known security software brand, and it works across platforms and operating systems including Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. The software has been around since the 80s and creates a solid protection for your devices against viruses.
It also offers ransomware protection, comes with a password manager and wards off malicious sites. If you subscribe to a paid plan, you can access the ID Theft Protection Essentials that monitors for any identity fraud.
Document management tools can help you digitize and organize your paper and digital documents with ease. There are a variety of such tools on the market, but here are some of our favorites to help you pick the best for your needs.
SharePoint is a document management and collaboration tool by Microsoft that offers a comprehensive suite of features. You can use it to establish content hubs, create custom metadata fields across the files in the system, and organize archives by teams.
All these make it easy and convenient to tailor how you organize your files to your needs. You can also collaborate on document creation and editing. With its Syntex tool, you can use AI to gather data and automate it into processes.
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Rubex is a cloud-based utility software that helps remote workers sign in from any device with internet connectivity and have the same experience as they would working at the office.
The software manages documents for businesses with remote teams and offers a mobile app for access to each stored file.
It uses the age-old cabinet folder filing system and offers different ways for you to find documents.
M-Files is another solid document management system with a variety of features that help you organize your documents. You can also use it to digitize volumes of paperwork and automate your workflows.
The software is easy to learn and is modeled off Windows Explorer. You can select a hybrid, cloud-based or on-premises deployment for your business.
M-Files also lets you access multifunction printers by Kyocera and any other consulting services or business solutions. This way, you can increase efficiency, reduce costs associated with document management and improve customer support.
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VIENNA Advantage is a user-friendly, open-source document management system that you can use for free.
It’s easy to navigate and well organized with workflow automation and secure encryption of your files. The software is also scalable, meaning as you grow, the tool grows with your business.
OnlyOffice is designed for small to medium sized businesses and is an effective document management system. The tool offers storage for your files, online document editors, CRM, project management, chat, calendar, mail and contact features.
You can store and access files from anywhere, work with different file formats, share and collaborate seamlessly, and enjoy a secure environment for co-authoring and document editing.
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Compression tools are another major category of utility software. These tools make it easier and simpler for you to compress files for easier storage.
You can also use them with multiple types of files, share and archive your files to save on hard drive space. Here are some good examples of compression tools.
WinZip is one of the most popular file compression tools. It supports many archive formats, has advanced management tools and integrates with several programs for easy zipping.
The tool can split large zip files to fit different media, offers cloud support, advanced file sharing and advanced zip management. It works in the way that suits you best, and you can always create and extract using the program window or interface.
WinRAR is a file compression tool that has a high compression rate, works with multiple formats and lets you create RAR files. The software can be used to compress files and is available on almost every platform available.
You also get the wizard mode that takes the hard work out of compression and extraction tasks if you feel overwhelmed by the tool’s interface. Full RAR support, speed, encryption, themes, and self-extracting archive creation also make it worth considering.
7-Zip usually appears on most lists alongside WinZip because it’s a free tool and is great for huge files. The software can handle any compressed file format, and even comes with its own format, 7z. You can compress up to 16 billion GBs of files with a high compression rate.
14. Zip Archiver
Zip Archiver is a Windows only file compression software that’s free, has a good interface, supports many formats and is incredibly easy to use. Even if you’re not sure about how to compress or decompress files, Zip Archiver makes it easy for you to achieve great results.
You can create and extract archives, upload to cloud storage and use the shareable link to share with others.
This free file compression tool is designed for Linux users, but also works with Windows. The software can convert archive formats and comes with plenty of security options. You can also extract RAR files and get full support for such files.
You can use it to compress and decompress files, convert archives between formats, and get protection via its AES 256-based encryption, password manager and 2FA.
Disk management or partition management tools help you in creating, deleting, shrinking, expanding, splitting or merging partitions on your storage devices.
The software also lets you resize your hard drive partitions or combine them, and make room for other files or programs.
This free tool is easy to use, supports lots of common disk partitioning tasks, and allows you to extend the system partition without restarting each time. The tool works well in modern Windows versions and even simulates any of the changes you make before you save them.
It also supports regular functions like when you want to format, delete, move, resize, split, merge or copy partitions. The tool also checks for errors in your file system, runs surface tests, wipes partitions and aligns them.
You can also move your operating system to another hard drive or recover deleted or lost partitions using the tool.
This tool has lots of useful features including an easy to use and step by step wizard. The software queues any changes you make and doesn’t apply them until you do it yourself.
Plus most of its features are available without you having to sift through menus to find them, and you can run the tool from a bootable program. This way, it can work with a hard disk that has no operating system installed in it.
You can also use it when resizing, merging, creating, formatting, aligning, splitting and recovering partitions, or to copy whole partitions and disks.
Active Partition Manager is an easy to use and understand disk management software. You can use it to make changes in your hard drive or restore changes from a backup.
The software supports many disk partitioning tasks and you can create new partitions from unallocated spaces or manage your existing ones.
The tool can handle any kind of file system but supports popular ones like NTFS, FAT, EXT or HFS+. It also images drives for backup purposes, converts between MBR and GPT, and more.
This partitioning software is also easy to understand, has lots of useful options and features. You can protect programs with passwords, ease upgrading of system drives to larger hard drives, and preview your changes before applying them.
It also updates its program with improvements and new features, and you get several helpful functions and options.
EaseUS also offers password protection, ability to hide or merge partitions, upgrade the system drive to a bigger bootable drive, and copy Windows to a different hard drive.
GParted works on any operating system you install it into even if you don’t have an OS. The tool applies any changes you make nearly instantly even without restarting your device.
You can hide partitions, adjust partitions easily and enjoy support for lots of file systems.
The software runs from a USB device or bootable disc and still provides a full user interface like a regular partitioning program. It’s easy to use, and makes partition editing easier because you select the free space size you want before and after the partition.
Disk cleanup software or device optimizers are designed to give performance boosts when your device feels sluggish but doesn’t necessarily need hardware upgrades.
There are many such tools available that claim to deliver faster device performance, but not all of them live up to their claims. Here are some popular options that can give you a noticeable speed boost without intrusive ads or hidden extras.
This disk cleanup tool is packed with features that give you everything you need to fine-tune and purge unnecessary files from your device’s settings while protecting your privacy.
The software helps you enjoy a faster and cleaner device with one-click, provides detailed analysis of the main issues and gives you a variety of scan types.
Iolo System Mechanic removes unwanted apps and junk files, blocks unwanted auto-run settings and bloatware, and clears out browser histories, RAM, caches and logs.
This frees up key system resources while removing any traces of your browsing history to protect privacy.
This is a streamlined optimizer tool that has great essential features including utilities repair, along with fast and efficient scans.
Restoro may not boast a host of features like other disk cleanup software, but it offers the basics and manages them well without too many extras. It can scan for numerous problems and repairs them with its powerful repair feature.
The scans come with native malware detection. It identifies suspicious files and lets you decide to remove or keep them.
This disk cleanup tool takes a hands-off approach to optimizing devices that works best for newbie users. The software works only with Windows computers, but is clean, has a customizable interface, and one-click automatic cleanup.
Among its powerful features include internet speed boosting, privacy protection, real-time optimization, deep registry cleaning and technical support around the clock.
You can also use it to clean up files and folders that you don’t need, and it will correct any errors on your drive while ensuring your Windows Registry is neat – all in one click.
IObit is a complete anti-malware solution. It quickly cleans up your system keeping it free from junk & viruses. For improved performance and added security, get IObit today!
Piriform CCleaner is a popular and established disk cleanup software that cleans the areas in your device that other such software don’t. The software is easy to use, frees up disk space, and eliminates unnecessary files to clean your device’s registry.
Plus, it works on major operating systems including Windows, Mac and Android so you can use it on desktop and mobile devices.
You can use the paid option to get more features like cleanup scheduling and real time protection. However, the free option is also useful as it covers important stuff including removal of unwanted cookies, browser caches and temporary files.
If you feel your device is sluggish, you can try this optimizer first.
Ashampoo WinOptimizer is a suite of well-designed maintenance tools for Windows that offers fast, thorough scans for your device. You can scan for broken registry entries, junk files and browser cookies, and still erase them all in one click.
You can also select Details to dive deeper and review scan results, view a description of the identified issues, and why you should keep or remove them.
You also find a suite of routine maintenance task modules including optimizing startup processes and defragging hard drives. All these can be done in Windows, but centralizing them is more convenient compared to scouring through menus.
While you can back up your files on your hard drive or other physical storage devices, you still need software that can help you prevent data loss from accidental deletion or hard drive crashes. Backup tools provide such protection by automatically backing up your data. Here are some examples.
Acronis True Image works pretty fast to sync and backup your files and data. It also offers great mobile device support and a complete backup solution for your home computer.
You can backup files and make image backups of your computer, save to an external drive or FTP server, and specify the WiFi network to run backups on.
The software works on all major Windows versions and Macs.
This is a popular cloud backup service that is easy to use and simple. It has no file size limits so you can back up huge files such as 4K videos or virtual machine files.
You get unlimited storage, automatic backups, and image previews prior to restoring them.
Carbonite is an exceptional backup tool that’s easy to use, reliable, automatic, and easy to restore. It’s cloud backup plans are popular among users as they allow for unlimited data to be backed up from an internal hard drive.
Plus, you get mobile apps for Android and iOS systems, and business-class cloud backup plans. It also has a rare BlackBerry app that you won’t find with many other backup plans.
This backup tool is affordable, supports Windows and Mac, and provides an advanced feature set. Having been around for over 10 years, you’re sure to get a powerful tool with packages for home or business users, and service providers.
Some of its powerful features include full or incremental backup options, coping with multiple partitions, cloud backups and hardware RAID.
This is a solid backup tool that’s highly secure, offers various business options and is ideal for backing up your computer’s hard drive on local media.
It supports Windows and Linux platforms, and supports backup to cloud storage providers such as Dropbox and OneDrive. It also offers AES256-bit encryption for extra security and runs locally to send your data to a local media drive without connecting to the internet.
We’ve not exhausted all the utility software available. However, these utility tools perform specific and useful functions to increase and maintain your device’s computer system.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.