Utilities of Operating System

Utilities of Operating System

A utility software is one which provides certain tasks that help in proper maintenance of the computer. The job of utility programs is to keep the computer system running smoothly. Nowadays many utility softwares are part of the operating system itself. Even if there is no utility software on your computer, the computer works but with the right kind of utility software loaded, the computer becomes more reliable and even its processing speed increases. Some of the commonly use utility softwares are antivirus, Disk defragmenter, backup, compression etc.


An antivirus is utility software which detects and removes computer viruses. If the software is not able to remove the virus, it is neutralized. The antivirus keeps a watch on the functioning of the computer system. If a virus is found it may alert the user, flag the infected program or kill the virus. Some of the common types of viruses are:

  • Boot Sector Virus: A boot sector virus displaces the boot record and copies itself to the boot sector i.e. where the program to boot the machine is stored. So first the virus is loaded on to the main memory and then the operating system. Whenever a new disk is inserted the virus copies itself to the new disk. The antivirus overwrites the correct boot record on the infected boot sector and also cleans the bad sectors.

  • File Virus: A file virus generally attacks executable files. They can attach to various locations of the original file, replace code, fill in open spaces in the code, or create companion files to work with an executable file. Most of the file viruses are memory resident and wait in the memory until the user runs another program. While another program is running, the virus replicates.

  • Macro Virus: This virus infects an important file called normal.dot of MS Word. As soon as the application is opened the virus gets activated. It damages the formatting of documents and even may not allow editing or saving of documents.

  • Trojan Horse: It is a code generally hidden in games or spreadsheets. Since they are hidden, the program seems to function as the user wants but actually it is destroying the program. A Trojan horse does not require a host program to embed itself. It is a complete program. Its main objective is to cause harm to the data. They can create bad sectors on the disk, destroy file allocation tables and cause the system to hang.

  • Worm: Worm is a program capable of replicating itself on a computer network. A worm also does not require a host as it is a self contained program. They generally travel from one computer to another across communication links on a network. They generally disrupt routine services.

Disk Defragmenter

The memory is used in small chunks randomly. Sometimes when a memory chunk of appropriate size is not available, the operating system breaks or fragments the files resulting in slower access to files. A disk defragmenter scans the hard disk for fragmented files and brings all the fragments together.

Backup Utility

This utility is used to create the copy of the complete or partial data stored in a disk or CD on any other disk. In case the hard disk crashes or some other system failure occurs, the files can be restored using backup software.

Compression Utility

This utility is used to compress large files. Compression is useful because it helps reduce resources usage and the file transmission on the network becomes easier.

Disk Cleaner

This utility scans for file that have not been accessed/used since long. Such files might be occupying huge amount of memory space. In that case the Disk Cleaner utility prompts the user to delete such files so as to create more space on the disk. If the files are important, the user might take a backup before deleting them.

File Management Tools

This utility helps the user in storing, indexing, searching and sorting files and folders on the system. The most commonly used tool is the Windows Explorer and Google Desktop.

Qus. What are various categories of software?

Ans: Software are classified into following categories –

(i) System Software

a. Operating System

b. Language Processor

(ii) Application Software

a. Packages

b. Utilities

c. Customized software

d. Developer Tools

Qus. What is the difference between an interpreter and a compiler?


Interpreter: Interpreter is a type of system software that translates and executes instructions written in a computer program lini-by-line, unit by unit etc. It is slower in execution because each time when you run the program translation is required.

Compiler: Compiler is another type of system software that translates and executes instructions written in a computer program in one go. Once compiled program need not to translate again so it works faster.

Qus. What is application software? Why it is required?

Ans: Application software is the set of programs necessary to carry out operations for a specific task. Such as for word processing there are many application software like MS-Word, Wordpad etc. These software are required to perform special task using the computer like painting, recording, typing, data handling etc.

Qus. What is system software?

Ans: The software that controls internal computer operations is called system software. It manages all the resources of a system. Its example is Operating System.

Qus. Discuss the role of utility software in the context of computer performance?

Ans: Utilities are those application programs that assist the computer by performing housekeeping functions like backing up disk or scanning/cleaning viruses or arranging information etc. its example is Antivirus software.

Qus. What is the importance of an OS?

Ans: An operating system is a program which acts as an interface between a user and the hardware. It manages all the resources of the computer system. It provides and environment to the user to work with. All the application are installed after the operating system is installed. It manages memory, processing, storage, memory etc.

Qus. What is the utility of these software?

(a) disk fragmentor (b) backup software


(a) disk fragmentor: A file is fragmented when it becomes too large for your computer to store in a single location on a disk. When this happens, your computer splits the file up and stores in pieces. You can use fragmented files, but it takes your computer longer to access them.

(b) Backup software: This utility program facilitates the backing-up of disk. Back-up means duplicating the disk information so that in case of any damage or data-loss, this backed-up data may be used.

Qus. Describe the role of Operating System as a resource Manager.

Ans: A computer system has many resources (hardware and software), which may be require to complete a task. The commonly required resources are input/output devices, memory, file storage space, CPU etc. The operating system acts as a manager of the above resources and allocates them to specific programs and users, whenever necessary to perform a particular task. Therefore operating system is the resource manager i.e. it can manage the resource of a computer system internally. The resources are processor, memory, files, and I/O devices. In simple terms, an operating system is the interface between the user and the machine.

Operating System Management Tasks

1. Processor management which involves putting the tasks into order and pairing them into manageable size before they go to the CPU.

2. Memory management which coordinates data to and from RAM (random-access memory) and determines the necessity for virtual memory.

3. Device management which provides interface between connected devices.

4. Storage management which directs permanent data storage.

5. Application which allows standard communication between software and your computer.

6. User interface which allows you to communicate with your computer.

Qus. What are the advantages of parallel computing?

Ans: Parallel computing is a type of computation in which many calculations or the execution of processes are carried out simultaneously. Large problems can often be divided into smaller ones, which can then be solved at the same time. It refers to the simultaneous working of multiple processors to solve a computational problem. Its advantages are –

(i) It saves time and the cost too.

(ii) It makes easier to solve larger or complex problems.

(iii) It provides efficient use of underlying hardware.

(iv) It can utilize the resources available remotely.


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