What Are the Five Basic Types of Utility Programs?

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.