Utilities

A program which performs a very specific task

File management software

File management software is provided as part of the systems software. The normal sorts of things it does is:

  • File/folder organisation: creating, copying, renaming, deleting and moving files/folders
  • Backup copy creation: Used for taking backup copies for security purposes
  • File compression: Used to compress files before storing or before being sent across a network. WinZip is an example of a file compressor.
  • Defragmentation: Each time a file is saved using Windows it puts it anywhere on the hard drive. After a while this data becomes scattered over the surface, this then reduces access time and wastes hard drive space.
  • File recovery: Used to recover deleted or damaged files
  • Uninstallers: Software used to remove all the files put onto the computer when a piece of software was installed

Peripheral drivers

Each peripheral driver (e.g., printer, scanner, webcan, etc.) needs some software to work with the hardware. This software is normally called peripheral drivers. Many drivers come with the operating system. Things like the keyboard and hard disk drive already have their drivers included in the operating system. The problem comes about when a new device is used and because the operating system didn't know about the device when it was developed it needs driver software installed.

What does peripheral driver software do?

All peripheral devices need software to make them work. So here are some of the things peripheral drivers do:

  • Provide communication between the operating system/applications software and the peripheral device.
  • Convert instructions from the software into a form that the peripheral device can understand.
  • Enable the peripheral device to work with other software.
  • Produce error messages such as the printer or scanner is not ready, etc.

Where do you get this software?

The main ways of obtaining driver software are:

  • If the device you are attaching uses plug and play, this means as soon as the device is connected the operating system will look to see if it has the appropriate software and will install it automatically.
  • Part of the operating system so that all you need to do is install them.
  • Can be installed from the disks which originally came with the device.
  • Install them from backups on the hard drive.
  • Download them from the manufacturer's website.