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Unit 2 (P3, D1): Software Utilities

Explain the purpose of different software utilities (P3)


Virus Protection

Viruses is a type of malware that can slow the performance of your computer. Anti-virus software like Norton and McAfee is a software for your system that stops theft of files, and blocks harmful data from being read of you device and being corrupted.


Trojans are malicious programs that perform actions that have not been authorised by the user. These actions can include: Deleting data, Blocking data, Modifying data, Copying data and disrupting the performance of computers or computer networks. Unlike computer worms, Trojans are not able to self-replicate.


A computer worm is a malicious software program that can self-replicate on computers or via computer networks without you being aware that your machine has become infected.


A computer virus is a type of malware that replicates itself into other computer programs, data files, or the boot sector of the hard drive. when this replication succeeds, the affected areas are then said to be 'infected'.


Firewalls comes pre-installed on any operating system. Firewalls are used to block unauthorised access while allowing trusted systems to pass, this is normally password protected. You can modify what networks are allowed to access your computer in the control panel.

They work as filters for your network traffic by blocking incoming packets of information that are seen as unsafe. It is very important to make sure that you have got protection from the kind of things like malicious software. Doing this can speed up your computer because it does not have too much traffic incoming onto your computer all at one time.


Explain how software utilities can improve the performance of computer systems (D1)


In almost every web browser there will usually be an option to clear the cookies. The benefits of clearing the cookies include:

  • Faster Performance: Cookies can build up and slow down your computer/web browser. Deleting them will usually provide a small performance boost.

  • More Disk Space: Cookies don't usually take up much space, but if left to build up can actually use a considerable amount. Clearing them will free up this space to use for other things.

  • Enhanced Security: Most cookies are dormant and harmless, although there are some that can invade your personal information too much, this security risk can be solved by deleting the cookies.


Your internet history will provide a list of previous websites that you have visited. This is useful if you need to access a website that you have forgotten the name of, and have previously visited it.

The internet history can also be cleared in almost all web browsers, and is useful if you want to keep your web browser's performance over time. This happens because the Web Browser does not have to load up all of the history, and the folder it is kept in can also be cleared, meaning a minor performance boost for the whole computer too.


Fragmentation happens on the hard disk as we save, delete, or change a program or a file on our computer. The changes that you have done on your file is stored in a different location and basically doubles the file even though we can not see the older one. It keeps multiplying its number as we keep on changing or saving files on our computer. Our computer slows down because it has to look over all the files in different locations.

Defragmentation will reduce this problem by helping the hard drive order out it's information in a specified way, meaning that the hard drive can access what it needs much easier, as it will know where to look for it.

Disk Formatting

Formatting the disk is necessary if our computer is completely attacked by viruses and can't work properly anymore. Drive formatting is the act of completely erasing everything on a hard drive so you can use it again. Drive formatting usually provides a big performance boost as when the OS is wiped and reinstalled, the programs causing slow-down or fragmenting your hard drive are deleted.

Physical Formatting

Physical Formatting tests the surface, scanning for imperfections and setting aside those sectors that cannot be used.

Logical Formatting

Logical Formatting prepares the disk by setting up a file system which then defines how files and folders will be stored and accessed.

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