System Utilities





System Utilities are a type of system software used to support the computer infrastructure, distinguishing it from application software which is aimed at directly performing tasks that benefit ordinary users. Commonly used utilities include password managers, disk managers, system monitors, data synchronization tools, security and antivirus software and editors.

I have written before about various tools that can help one troubleshoot certain issues.  This time I ran into an issue with an old USB 2 thumb drive.  I thought it was a goner and I would need to buy a new one.  It is only a 4gb stick and USB 2.0, so not a big loss.  I tried several things and then put a question here.  The upshot of the question was that I ended up trying a low-level format tool.  

The tool, from, is called HDD Low-Level Format Tool.  After doing a low-level format on my USB drive (be careful this deletes all information), I regained use of the drive and, in fact, am using it right now with another security tool I use, Predator (more on that in another article).  It should be noted that there are a few fairly good tools on the HDDGuru website at 

You can also use this tool to see information about your drives.  When you run the tool you will see this dialogue unless you upgrade.

After you upgrade, if you decide to, enter the code you receive after clicking the "Enter code" button (I suggest copy and pasting the code).  If you decide not to upgrade click the "Continue for free" button.

Whenever you use the Hard Disk Low-Level Format Tool (the name is deceiving since it does more than low-level formats), it should be run as Administrator.  If you don't run it as the Administrator you may end up seeing a screen similar to the featured image, where no drives are shown even though at least one drive is certainly present. If you do run it as Administrator (on the same machine in this case), your drives will be listed

If I choose the Edge drive (Highlighted), I see the following information

Since the selected device has no details, Let's see what another device looks like, the second choice is a Crucial SSD in the computer.

The basic device details are listed in the first tab.  The second tab is where you would start a low-level format, but clicking on it first gives you a warning (if you click on the tab and don't wish to format, this gives you an out):

Clicking on the S.M.A.R.T. tab (on a device that has SMART Data) initially gives this blank screen

When you click the "Get SMART Data" button, the resulting screen would look similar to this

So this is more than just a low-level format tool.  With that said, doing a low-level format will reclaim drives that you may have given up on.

I highly recommend upgrading for $3.30 (USD), the speed of the tool is severely compromised otherwise (it took a day and a half to do a low-level format on the Edge USB 4gb stick in free mode!).

If you liked this article don't forget to click the thumbs up below.  This helps me to know what types of content users are most interested.

Disclaimer: I am not in any way associated with the software mentioned in this article, other than being a satisfied user.

Considering today’s continual security threats, which affect Information technology networks and systems worldwide, it is very important to practice basic security awareness. A normal system user can secure himself or herself by following these simple steps...

Author Comment

by:Muhammad Sajjad
Dear Thomas

Bundle of thanks for such valued suggestions, I will surely try to edit and repost the article.

Thanks Again

Expert Comment

by:Naveen Sharma
Nice points.

Taking regular backup and end-user education, few more security principles that will help to prevent breaches:
I originally wrote this article to compare SARDU and YUMI, but have now added Easy2Boot, since that is the one I currently use and find the easiest to create and alter.
In real business world data are crucial and sometimes data are shared among different information systems. Hence, an agreeable file transfer protocol need to be established.
Today, still in the boom of Apple, PC's and products, nearly 50% of the computer users use Windows as graphical operating systems. If you are among those users who love windows, but are grappling to keep the system's hard drive optimized, then you should read this article.
The article will include the best Data Recovery Tools along with their Features, Capabilities, and their Download Links. Hope you’ll enjoy it and will choose the one as required by you.

Expert Comment

by:Cai Allie
You can try to use Recoverit free. This is a free data recovery software which allows you to recover 100M files for free.

Expert Comment

by:Riya Gupta
Yes you are right but there are something you missed. You have mentioned the Data recovery software not the best data recovery software. You did not mention RECUVA which comes the best data recovery software and have 99% success rate, it is not finished yet you may visit this link for more details:
I use more than 1 computer in my office for various reasons. Multiple keyboards and mice take up more than just extra space, they make working a little more complicated. Using one mouse and keyboard for all of my computers makes life easier. This combined with automation s/w makes my work a breeze.
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Author Comment

by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
Here are several of the scripts to automate tasks in EndNote.  They currently work for me, but your mileage may vary.
Storage devices are generally used to save the data or sometime transfer the data from one computer system to another system. However, sometimes user accidentally erased their important data from the Storage devices. Users have to know how data recovery tools work.
I previously wrote an article addressing the use of UBCD4WIN and SARDU. All are great, but I have always been an advocate of SARDU. Recently it was suggested that I go back and take a look at Easy2Boot in comparison.

Expert Comment

by:Steve Si
If the exe contains a bootable image, you can try unzipping it to see what is inside. Sometimes it will work if you use MPI_FAT32 to convert it to a .imgPTN file but it really depends on what is inside it (oftem there is an ISO or IMG file???). EXE files are not normally bootable, they need to be connverted into bootable media somehow...?
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Author Comment

by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
I will continue to run them in a windows environment then (UBCD4Win or something similar).  My understanding of Linux is not great, as you may already have ascertained.  I was hired by a NIX person 20+ years ago who sat me down in front of a sparcstation 20/60, gave me the root login credentials and told me to figure it out.  Needless to say, it was  a steep learning curve, and I hold those who are conversant in 'NIX flavors in high regard.
In this article we have discussed the manual scenarios to recover data from Windows 10 through some backup and recovery tools which are offered by it.

I. Introduction

There's an interesting discussion going on now in an Experts Exchange Group — Attachments with no extension. This reminded me of questions that come up here at EE along the lines of, "How can I tell the type of file from its contents?", as well as, "What kind of file has the XXX extension?" Writing an article to address this has been on my to-do list for a long time — the group discussion has inspired me to do it.

II. Determine the type of file from its XXX extension

Here are five links that can help in determining what an XXX file is:

Simply replace XXX with the file extension of interest. For example,

III. Determine the type of file from its contents

Now to the trickier question! An excellent file identifier application called TrID analyzes the contents of a file in an attempt to figure out what type of file it is. It comes in both a command line interface (CLI) version (for Windows and Linux) and a Graphical User Interface (GUI) version (Windows only) called TrIDNet. The downloads are at the links in the preceding sentence.

Both the CLI and GUI versions require a database/library of file definitions. This is a key feature of TrID and TrIDNet — the always increasing list of files that it recognizes. As of this article's submission date, the database contains 6,019 definitions (dated 13-August-2015). Note that there are separate downloads for the CLI definitions and the GUI definitions.

IV. More about TrID — the CLI version

After downloading the CLI version and its definitions, simply unpack the ZIP file with the program (trid.exe) and copy the definitions file (triddefs.trd) into the same folder as the program file. As mentioned above, using a database of definitions for file types is a really nice feature of TrID. Since file types are frequently added, the program author makes the definitions database available as a separate download, so you may go back to the website occasionally to get the latest definitions file.

Here's the syntax of the CLI version (v2.20):


Usage: TrID <[path]filespec(s)...> [-ae|-ce] [-d:file] [-ns] [-n:nn]
                                                                           [-@] [-v] [-w] [-?]
                                        Where: <filespec> Files to identify/analyze
                                               -ae        Add guessed extension to filename
                                               -ce        Change filename extension
                                               -d:file    Use the specified defs package
                                               -ns        Disable unique strings check
                                               -n:nn      Number of matches to show (default: 5)
                                               -@         Read file list from stdin
                                               -v         Verbose mode - display def name, author, etc.
                                               -w         Wait for a key before exiting
                                               -?         This help!

The program is free for personal use. Here's exactly what the license says (I took the liberty of correcting typos in it):

The program can be freely distributed and is freeware for non-commercial, personal, research and educational use. Contact the author for commercial use or commercialization of TrID or TrID's definitions and contained information.

I don't want to put the author's email address in this article, but you may find it in the Readme file that is part of the download.

V. More about TrIDNet — the GUI version

As stated earlier, the definitions for the GUI version are in a different format from the definitions for the command line version. The GUI definitions are in a large number of XML files, one for each file type — currently, 6,019 of them!

As with the CLI version, there's no installation needed — just unpack the ZIP file with the program (TrIDNet.exe) and copy the definitions (all of the XML files) into the same folder as the program file.

When running TrIDNet, here's the opening screen:


V. Conclusion

To come full circle to the group discussion that prompted this article, I fed to both TrID and TrIDNet a file that has 40 characters in the file name but no file extension. Here's the TrID command line with its result (via copy/paste from the command prompt window):

trid "d:\0tempd\40 character file name without extension"

TrID/32 - File Identifier v2.20 - (C) 2003-15 By M.Pontello

Definitions found:  6019


Collecting data from file: d:\0tempd\40 character file name without extension

100.0% (.PDF) Adobe Portable Document Format (5000/1)

Here's the TrID GUI result:


Both TrID and TrIDNet easily determined that it is a PDF file — and with 100% certainty. Of course, 100% certainty is not always the case, as shown in this real-life example of a file uploaded in a recent EE question. The file bumped into the 40-character file name limit and wound up with a .x file extension. Here are the TrID results on it:

TrID/32 - File Identifier v2.20 - (C) 2003-15 By M.Pontello

Definitions found:  6019


Collecting data from file: d:\0tempD\Time-Interval-Frequency-calculationv51.x

 51.3% (.XLSM) Excel Microsoft Office Open XML Format document (with Macro) (57500/1/12)

 45.0% (.XLSX) Excel Microsoft Office Open XML Format document (50500/1/11)

  3.5% (.ZIP) ZIP compressed archive (4000/1)

It is, in fact, a .XLSM file, as predicted by TrID, although with only 51.3% certainty. After changing the file type from .x to .xlsm, it loaded perfectly into Excel.

If you find this article to be helpful, please click the thumbs-up icon below. This lets me know what is valuable for EE members and provides direction for future articles. Thanks very much! Regards, Joe

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Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd
Hi Bill,
Thanks for the kind words and the upvote — much appreciated! I like your "Dealing With Unknown Files and File Extensions" title — it's better than the one I chose. Regards, Joe
LVL 36

Expert Comment

by:Duncan Roe
The Linux file command gets the file type right every time (file extensions are a Windows thing I guess)
I wrote an article some time ago with a reference to nLite slipstreaming software.  I recently changed that link to point to NTLite, the updated version of the same software.  nLite was an excellent tool but was not really compatible with Windows Vista and above.  Recently, when I was updating some machines I decided to revisit the slipstreaming idea, mainly because when I install Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 it still has a couple of hundred updates to do.  This makes a new system seem already slow. 

Afer doing a little investigation I found that the author of nlite had written NTLite for newer operating systems.  Using a combination of Widows Update Downloader, either your current install of windows or a generic installer disk, and NTLite you can slipstream all updates into a single installer device as well as make it unattended (we have a site license), remove or add items during installation, personalize the install, and even run applications after the installation is complete (there is even more included - visit the website to see it all).

The installation was very easy.  I found that the most time was spent downloading updates using Windows Update Downloader.  Although the NTLite app is excellent, there is one downside (at least that I have seen …
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Author Comment

by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
I did a while back - when it first came out.  I don't recall what I needed to do, but I believe I just added it as another update instead of a service pack.

Expert Comment

by:Rodney Roger
Every High school student must read this post because it has a lot of informative posts for the students to increase their knowledge, skills and learn a lot of things as well. As a student, i found this site very useful. may will help to acknowledge more content.
A while back when OPSMGR 2012 was released we were very excited about getting it into our environment and upgrading our 2007 implementation,  we started our planning and we then proceeded with our implementation.

All went as planned & our system was running perfectly until about 3 months into the deployment we started seeing a lot of event id's 26319 and 33333 being logged on our management servers every 5 to 10 minutes which was of great concern to us.

Event ID 26319Event ID 26319 showing the initial error
Event ID 33333The 2 events are always seen together

We then started looking at any custom management packs imported to check that they were all best practice and no funnies. We did not manage to find any problem and all our new custom MP's were running as expected.

We also thought that the SP1 upgrade would sort out our issue but to no avail.

After some time and getting nowhere we logged a request with Microsoft and we started a long journey of trying to get to the root of the problem.

Well to cut a long story short we managed to find out what the problem was and it turned out to be a bug with the way the query works when doing a group search or any other task that uses would invoke a query against the relevant MTV tables.

So they have already tested the fix which will be released in OPSMGR 2012 SP1 UR2 & this will be changed as follows.

The query will be changed so that it is built multipart rather than trying to UNION SELECT across all the relevant MTV tables.

Author Comment

by:Leon Taljaard
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Good afternoon all,

We are running a VM infrastructure on a clustered ESX environment with two DELL R710's.  One of our IT Application Support Engineers contacted me and asked if it was possible to extend the partition of a certain Windows 2003 Server running as a VM on the above mentioned infrastructure.  

It was recently converted from a physical machine to a VM, which had unfortunately been built with only a single C: partition of 100GB -- not according to good practice, eh...:-)).  Upon the request to have this partition extended, and after doing much research, I found that the only way possible to do this with a physical server, was to backup, rebuild, extend and restore.  I researched many a Web Site which had many references to other boot partition extenders, such as Partition Magic, etc.  This was also after the disk had been converted to a Dynamic Disk.  Other Web Site articles mentioned that the same methodology had to be used to convert Dynamic Disk back to Basic Disk, i.e. backup, rebuild, extend and restore.

I decided to attempt a different route and made use of the VM Conversion Utility within VCentre.  This allows one to convert your current VM to another VM, with a different name, as the original will still exist, until you either remove it from inventory or remove it from Disk, which would remove the entire VM.

After shutting the Operating System of the original VM down, I proceeded to convert the VM to a different named VM.  When going through …
One good source is the manufacturer's web site. Even though the device operating system is changing, the hardware isn't. Going to the support site and looking at the Vista drivers provides a starting point for identifying system hardware for which devices will require drivers. For instance, if there are Vista drivers for a Ricoh 5-in-1 Card Reader or Marvell Yukon 88E8039 PCI-E Fast Ethernet Controller Driver, the device will need these to function under XP. Manufacturers also sometimes list system specifications as well, and those will help in identifying the system hardware. Additionally, although the system came with Vista, the manufacturer may offer XP media for a small fee.

Third party tools such as System Information for Windows (SIW) can scan a system and create detailed logs of system hardware and drivers. SIW can be downloaded from this site:

If the new Windows XP install has already been completed and some drivers are missing, follow these steps to identify the devices:

Right click on My Computer.
Select Manage.
Select Device Manager.
In the right-hand window, choose a device that shows as Unknown or has a Yellow Exclamation mark. Click on the + next to it to expand on it.
Right-click on it.
Select Properties.
Go to the Details tab.
Select Device Instance Id.
Click once on the string that looks like this:


Press Ctrl-C to…
1. Start | Settings | Printers and Faxes.
2. Go to the File Menu.
3. Select Server Properties.
4. Select the Drivers tab.
5. Select the printer you need information about.
6. Once again select Properties. You should get a list of the files required by this printer. For each item with a description of Driver File, select Properties. Select the Version tab to get information on the Version.
In its Critical Driver Installation Order document, Intel stresses that this sequence be followed:
1       Fresh Operating System Installation
2       Latest Service Pack or Patch
3       Intel® Chipset Software Installation Utility (INF Utility)
4       All other device drivers

This order is more specific:

Pre-Install - Motherboard BIOS - Flash Update
1 - OS - Operating System including drivers for: RAID, SCSI or non-integrated drive controllers
2 - Operating System - Update Packs
3 - Motherboard - Chipset Drivers
4 - Operating System - Multimedia APIs
5 - Final Motherboard Drivers
6 - Video
7 - Sound
8 - LAN Adapters
9 - Modem
10 - Drivers for any other devices not listed above.
Also, make sure you install Java J2SE (J2RE) by Sun Microsystems which will add Java support to your Web Browsers. You can find it here:
LVL 30

Expert Comment

I dissagree

in step 3. get the lan working as you cannot do windows update without that and that is more important these days due to the spam and virus's that affect machines as soon as they go on the internet

Also getting the lan working means you can google search for the correct driver
It is a common problem that often server suffers from the lack of space on system volume. Old servers or new ones from vendors come with preformatted small volume - 5-6GB in total and after installing updates or applications the free space on system volumes starts vanishing rapidly. What is the point out from here?

1)The most easiest way is to move some data bases from C: to adjacent data partition, lets say D: and this will free up to 2GB space.
2)Another way, the recommended one is using partitioning tool to reallocate space from D: to C: without threat to data on both partitions. Highly recommended tools here are:
Paragon Partition Manager 9.0 Server Edition, Paragon Hard Disk Manager 2009:;
Acronis Disk Director:
An old tool Partition Magic 8 and free tool from Paragon again Partition Manager 9 Express:
All these tools can perform the requested action. The difference is in interface and the way these tools perform operation.
Let's stop on first one: Paragon Partition Manager 9.0 Server Edition (in future could be version 10).
How it works? - First of all install the product if you have 500MB free space on system volume. Then restart the server for product driver installation. Start it and get the user interface with drives layout. Then:
a)Right click…
LVL 27

Expert Comment

The point is, commercial backup,defrag and partition solutions for windows servers are very expensive. And the manufacturer took care that the home editions cannot be used on server editions. So in most cases one has to use opensource tools.

Paragon partition manager business edition costs $299 and this is just the 1 server 1 license edition (Technician editions start at $499 for 10 servers...)
Acronis Disk Director® 11 Advanced Server costs $609.00 (For 1 server)
Magic Partition Manager Software - EASEUS Partition Master $159 (unlimited $399) <--- maybe best pick if commercial)

LVL 50

Author Comment

I select tools depending of the number of features and functionality they offer. Currently PPM11 TL is the best one in my humble opinion.

Find out what hardware you have and get the most up to date drivers from the manufacturer!

You can take this information to the website and find the specific device information for the drivers, then go to the manufacturer website and see if they make drivers for your OS, some hardware is OS specific and the manufacturer may not have driver support for your OS.

*Once you are in the Vendor and are searching for the Device you can hold CTRL and press 'F'.

-This is the Find feature, type in the Device ID and it will find it much quicker, since some pages are quite long.

Manually Get Your Drivers

1. Right Click on My Computer, Left click on Manage.

2. Click on Device Manager, you should notice on the right hand side icons with a yellow symbol next to them, this shows the device is unknown, or drivers are not installed. (assuming you are looking for drivers you do not have)

3. Right click a device you are looking for, left click on properties.

4. Click on the Details tab on the top of the menu that popped up.

5. You should see some code in the middle that looks similar to this:


The important pieces are:

  VEN_14E4    is    Vendor 14E4

  DEV_169C    is    Device 169C    for     Vendor    14E4

You can take this information to the website and find the specific device information for the drivers, then go to the manufacturer website and see if they make drivers for your OS, some hardware is OS specific and the manufacturer may not have driver support for your OS.

*Once you are in the Vendor and are searching for the Device you can hold CTRL and press 'F'.

-This is the Find feature, type in the Device ID and it will find it much quicker, since some pages are quite long.

*Be careful in using different drivers as the can cause system instability and/or damage. However - if you believe you are capable, are sure it will work, or have no other options and just don't care you can try...

A similar version of the driver.

(Example) You have Windows 7 64-bit, but the manufacturer does not have drivers for Windows 7 - you can try Vista 64-bit)

When doing this you should stick with similar technologies. If you run a 32-bit OS stay with 32-bit drivers, same with 64-bit. If you are unsure of what you are running: Right Click on My Computer, on the page that opens up it should mention what version and service pack of Windows you are running. If you are running a 64-bit version of Windows it will say so. If it does not say anything pertaining to 32-bit or 64-bit, then you are most likely running 32-bit.

LVL 61

Expert Comment

by:Kevin Cross
Thanks, nice work!
Voted "Yes" above.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

nice, yes

System Utilities





System Utilities are a type of system software used to support the computer infrastructure, distinguishing it from application software which is aimed at directly performing tasks that benefit ordinary users. Commonly used utilities include password managers, disk managers, system monitors, data synchronization tools, security and antivirus software and editors.