One of my first jobs was as a Machinist. Growing up I enjoyed working at my grandfather’s and uncle’s machine shop. We had a good group of guys that enjoyed working with each other as much as being at the shop. One thing we used to do, so that we kept familiar with tools and dies , was to play a little game of “Bluff” or what I liked to call “In My Toolbox”. We would describe what we had in our toolboxes – sometimes we were honest, sometimes we weren’t – that was the “bluff” part of the game. Anyway, over the years I have been asked what tools I use to do a variety of tasks on my computer, so I’ve put together a list of some great System Tools. As I looked through my “System Tools” shortcut group, I realized the system tool I use are all from the same developer. Piriform makes four tools that I use with confidence on my personal system.
The first of these tools I use to keep my computer clean. You may have heard that too many temporary files or too many offline files will slow your computer or web surfing. It’s all true – it’s like a small pickup truck, if you put a case of water bottles in the bed of the truck, you don’t notice anything; however, fill the bed with cases of water bottles and the truck takes longer to accelerate and stop, turning can be sluggish, and you notice the weight difference. So, applying this concept to your PC – a good practice is to clean up your computer regularly to keep it running well. While Windows comes with it’s built in Disk Cleaner, I use Piriform’s CCleaner. It cleans more than just the normal Temp files, Internet History, and Recycle Bin that the Windows Disk Cleaner does. It takes into account that you might use Firefox, Google Chrome, and other applications and cleans any of the temporary information those programs might hold. CCleaner also will scan through your registry and clean up the registry to allow it to be scanned by your computer faster. All this and there is no annoying Adware you have to look at.
The second System Tool I use is Piriform’s Defraggler. While the Windows Defragmenter is a good tool, I use the Defraggler for some of the things I can do with it that the Defragmenter just doesn’t do. I have the option to “defrag” the whole desk drive or I can focus on specific folders or files – this is important if you play some online games that save a cache to your disk drive. I also can start a defragmentation and set the Defraggler to turn off my computer when it is done. Do I worry about security or bad practices? No, Piriform has made the Defraggler to scan the disk drive using the same techniques that the Windows Disk Defragmenter. The groovy point – Defraggler has been made to optimize your files and free space the first time through. It doesn’t take seven or more passes to optimize the files on your disk drive.
The third tool is a tool I haven’t had to use except in testing. Piriform’s Recuva is a file recovery program. In Windows, you can open up the folder your deleted file was in and go to the “Previous Version” tab and you might be able to find the file you accidentally deleted; however, Recuva scans your computer’s file system and looks for the residue of deleted files. Once it’s found the file you want, and some searches do take a good mount of time, simply select it from the list and click the [Recover] button. Please note, I do not recommend using this as a “file backup” tool. This is a file recovery for immediate accidental deletions. For File System Backup and Recovery, see my post about Digital Lifeboat.
The last tool in this System Tools suite is Piriform’s Speccy. Speccy is a System Information reporting tool like the Windows System Properties. It reports the summary and details of your computer’s hardware. While the Windows tool is great for general information, Speccy really goes the next step. It reports the hardware (how many RAM chips are in your PC), it’s capacity (how much RAM your PC has), and even it’s expandability (your PC is using 2 of it’s 4 possible RAM slots). If any of that was Greek to you, don’t worry, we will be posting about what your computer is made of in the future. Speccy even reports your computer’s temperature.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I know that for some people, System Tools are one of the last things thought about; however, I felt that it needed to be one of the first topics we covered. A dependable computer is desired and being able to surf the Internet and do the things you want quickly is important. Just as we all need to change the oil in our car and get it tuned up for better performance, we need to make sure our computers are tuned up. Again, there are many System Tools available on the Internet nowadays, these are simply the ones…
In My Toolbox