6 Important PC Tools Most People Never Use

PCTools01   6 Important PC Tools Most People Never UseVirtually everyone who owns a computer and is connected to the Internet knows about the security implications. Most people do worry about malware and I would like to think that only a few run a computer without an antivirus program or other security-related software. However, there are many more important PC tools that most people never use, even though they are essential for running a stable and secure system.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you might be well advised to glance over this article. I will show you 6 critical tools that will make your work with a computer easier, your data safer, your system more stable, and your overall computer experience much smoother.

1. Backup Program

Are you feeling guilty already? It’s not like backup programs are secret tools that nobody knows of; yet a lot of people either don’t worry about their data or they just never get around to running backups. It’s time to quit that!

Reasons To Use A Backup Program:

  1. You will always have a second copy of your data in case the other copy gets compromised or is lost.
  2. Your data is valuable! A backup will save you money or time trying to recover damaged or lost files.
  3. Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Which Backup Program To Use:

MakeUseOf recommends FBackup for local backups and Mozy for online backups (2GB free).

PCTools02   6 Important PC Tools Most People Never Use

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2. Password Manager

Unless your name is Data, you probably have a hard time remembering things now and then. If you’re human that’s normal. Nevertheless, you should 1. have a different password for every account and 2. change it often to protect yourself from hackers and identity theft.

Reasons To Use A Password Manager:

  1. Never again forget a password.
  2. Use complicated secure passwords and thus protect your accounts from getting hacked.
  3. Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

And you’d better back up your Password Manager!

Which Password Manager To Use:

MakeUseOf recommends LastPass, a cross-platform browser plugin that stores and syncs your passwords wherever you go. For local storage I recommend KeePass.

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3. Software Or Driver Update Tools

As mentioned in the introduction, almost everyone these days is aware of viruses, hackers, and other security-related threats that linger online. And I’m sure you have all heard about security holes in various programs. While a lot of programs install security updates automatically, many won’t do anything, unless the user initiates an update.

Reasons To Use Upgrade PC Tools:

  1. Fix security holes.
  2. Fix bugs and gain access to new features.
  3. Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Which Upgrade Tools To Use:

Probably the reason why most people do not use these PC tools is that none of them cover all possible software or hardware. However, they are still easier to use than checking for updates manually. I recommend Device Doctor for driver updates and Update Notifier for finding software updates.
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4. Uninstaller

We all install software to test it and then never use it again. So it sits there and takes up space. Worse even, it may start with Windows and come to live now and then and get on our nerves. Why not simply uninstall it?

Reasons To Use An Uninstaller:

  1. Frees up space on your hard drive.
  2. May even speed up your system if the software starts with Windows.
  3. Unclutter your Start menu.

Which Uninstaller To Use:

Windows comes with an uninstaller. However, software dedicated to this task is much better! MakeUseOf recommends Revo Uninstaller and IObit Uninstaller.

revo cleaner   6 Important PC Tools Most People Never Use

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5. Defragmenter

No matter which file system you have on your hard drive, the fuller it gets, the more likely it is that files will be fragmented, and this will slow down the hard drive. Check the article on file systems below for more information.

Reason To Use A Defragmenter:

  1. Speed up your hard drive.

Which Defragmenter To Use:

MakeUseOf recommends Defraggler and Auslogics Disk Defrag.

defraggler   6 Important PC Tools Most People Never Use

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6. System Maintenance Software

System maintenance tools remove temporary and junk files, clean your system and boost its speed. Most system maintenance software actually comes with an uninstaller, a defragmenter, and malware protection. So they are an all-in-one tool to keep your computer in top shape.

Reasons To Use System Maintenance Software:

  1. Remove junk files and free up space.
  2. Fix common annoyances and boost system speed.
  3. Clean all browser browser files in one place.

Which System Maintenance Software To Use:

MakeUseOf recommends Glary Utilities and CCleaner.

PCTools04   6 Important PC Tools Most People Never Use

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For more software recommendations from MakeUseOf check out our The Best Of: Windows Software page.

Which of the recommended PC tools have you been using? Did I motivate you to start using any of the others?

Image credits: Ivan Montero Martinez, Matthias Pahl, Vladru, Helder Almeida

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

24 Comments -

Suman Bhargav

advance system care free is better than ccleaner and glary utilities.

Paritosh_paru

well, wake up to the present era

Tina

Suman,

are you talking about IObit’s Advanced SystemCare Free?

They heavily promote the registry cleaner. Please do not use registry cleaners. They help your computer’s performance very little, while potentially compromising system stability

However, it’s a good idea to use defragmenters and malware scanners and IObit is a trustworthy company.

Saptashwa

Why should I use a password manager when Chrome syncs all my passwords and other stuff to my Google Account and thus to all computers with Google Chrome where password-sync is enabled? The other browsers should follow this principle and let users sync data and passwords using their Google Account (or any other widely used standard), not new archaic browser-only managers. Then we can use only one account for YouTube, GMail, Google Docs, countless other Google services and other services where Google Accounts are used, along with password-sync. Ta-da!! Get to work, coders.

Steven Roodhorst

You should use a password manager like LastPass, because it’s stores all your passwords safe behind a master password. And it notifies you when a password changes. Also is there a safe password generator built in in LastPass. That passwords are way better than the passwords we make personally.

Just a few reasons.

Tina

Steven and Saptashwa,

both of you make great points! I agree with Steven that LastPass is a safer option. I also agree with Saptashwa that Google’s solution is the most convenient, provided you use all their services and nothing else.

My point, however, is that you should use at least something to manage your passwords, so that you can create safe and unique passwords for all your accounts and not mess around with a single password you use globally.

I’m very happy with LastPass as it syncs between all my browsers and thus for me this is the more convenient solution.

Saptashwa

And please change the (new) font and interface (of MakeUseOf). It’s good, but it’s still in beta, it seems. In Answers, only the latest answer shows despite choosing oldest first!! Hilarious. And due to the new font, several different symbols appear in both Chrome 10 and FireFox 4.0 RC (both of them latest versions). We think that you will care for the most widely used (FireFox) and fast becoming most popular (Chrome) browsers.

Tina

Thank you for the feedback, Saptashwa!

Unclepapaw

ya tanks

Saptashwa

Now it’s come back to normal, thanks to whoever did the fix.

Steven Roodhorst

You should use a password manager like LastPass, because it’s stores all your passwords safe behind a master password. And it notifies you when a password changes. Also is there a safe password generator built in in LastPass. That passwords are way better than the passwords we make personally.

Just a few reasons.

Freedownloaderz

Good info sometimes the existing software in this article are rarely in use … as I also rarely use some software that was in this article …. hahahah

Tina

Steven and Saptashwa,

both of you make great points! I agree with Steven that LastPass is a safer option. I also agree with Saptashwa that Google’s solution is the most convenient, provided you use all their services and nothing else.

My point, however, is that you should use at least something to manage your passwords, so that you can create safe and unique passwords for all your accounts and not mess around with a single password you use globally.

I’m very happy with LastPass as it syncs between all my browsers and thus for me this is the more convenient solution.

Tina

Suman,

are you talking about IObit’s Advanced SystemCare Free?

They heavily promote the registry cleaner. Please do not use registry cleaners. They help your computer’s performance very little, while potentially compromising system stability

However, it’s a good idea to use defragmenters and malware scanners and IObit is a trustworthy company.

Mr Micro Mini Scooter

I totally agree about having backup! I actually send lots of my files to email addresses there too, and save them in folders. Stuff like logins etc.
I will have to sort out some backup real soon.
Thanks for the advice

Stefan Gabos

GFI backup for backups and the FileHippo.com ‘s UpdateChecker for software update.

Stefan Gabos

GFI backup for backups and the FileHippo.com ‘s UpdateChecker for software update.

Mel Webads

Backup programs are really important as well as the password managers. I just used that Kaspersky password manager and it is really useful. Thanks for sharing this post.

Superwookee

Backup = fsync (UbuntuOne or DropBox for online backup)
Password Manager = Keyring
Software/Driver Update = Yum/Apt/etc.
Uninstaller = Yum/Apt/etc.
Defragmenter = ext filesystems don’t need defragmentation until they reach 95% capacity
System Maintenance = BleachBit

All but BleachBit and DropBox are preinstalled on any modern Linux distro (BTW if you’re on Vista or 7 Defrag is a non-issue as well. NTFS is still a crappy filing system but V and 7 both defrag in the background during idle time)

I agree on Windoze systems registry cleaners. They are like brushing your teeth with a wire brush. All the dirt comes off but it’s not worth it.

john sc

Being in IT consulting and troubleshooting for over 7 years I try to stay away from 3rd party apps that do the same thing as my brain. Uninstallers = appwiz.cpl, Registry cleaners = dangerous and I can do that, software updaters = I can do that, and just about anything that claims to “speed up your computer by installing me”. That’s like having a fat mechanic in your car that swears he’s speeding it up. I’m not knocking all I’m just making an amusing anecdote. There are free antivirus and malware programs and built in backup, defrag, mgmt programs in most operating systems.

Kevin Rodrigues

System Mechanic seems like a good system maintenance alternative. Though it is not free. There are loads of utilities that will improve the performance of your computer.

Is there a good free backup program that will backup your data on the cloud periodically?

Tina

Kevin,

I recommend Dropbox or Mozy. If you want to back up more than 2GB you have to sign up for a monthly plan.

kgrey38

Cracked, not hacked.

parallelssoft

Acronis for system backup, Paragon Hard Disk Manager Suite for all other management with hard drive