| By Woody Leonhard |
No doubt you’re the designated techie for your family and friends, so when they have a question or problem with their PC, you’re the first call.
By installing the right utilities on their PCs, you can reduce your tech time and have more social time.
The best utilities are small, fast, and free
One of our editors recently posed an interesting question: What utilities are so cool and so useful that they should live on every PC, regardless of how the machine is configured or how, uh, PC-challenged its user might be? There are lots of candidates, but these are my top picks.
In my case, tech support means helping relatives such as my dear Aunt Myrtle get their personal computers up to speed. That task starts with the latest security patches — most likely by using a scanner such as Secunia Personal Software Inspector (info page), an application highly recommended by WS Patch Watch columnist Susan Bradley.
Next, I check the antivirus program and install Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) if it’s not already there (see Senior Editor Fred Langa’s May 6 Top Story, “The 120-day Microsoft security suite test drive”). Fast and free, MSE runs quietly in the background with almost no user input.
That’s all well and good, but those apps — essential though they may be — are not the focus of this story.