The five basic types of utility programs are file utilities, uninstallers, diagnostics, backup utilities and screen savers. Each of these areas contains several related utilities.
A file viewer allows a person to display and copy the contents of a file. A file compression tool shrinks the size of a file in order to reduce hard disk storage constraints and make the file more manageable for transmitting information electronically. Collectively, these two utilities are called file utilities.
An uninstaller removes a user-designated application and any associated entries in the system registry files. A diagnostic utility gathers information about a computer’s hardware and system software, and it compiles a report on speed, efficiency and potential problem areas. Disk scanners and defragmenters are also in the realm of diagnostics. A disk scanner detects and corrects problems on a hard disk. A disk defragmenter reorganizes files and unused space on a computer’s hard disk so all operations run more efficiently.
A backup utility copies, or backs up, selected files or an entire hard drive onto a backup drive. A screen saver is a utility used to change the settings or appearance of the screen saver, which displays a moving image on a computer's monitor screen if no keyboard activity occurs for a specified period.