| By Woody Leonhard |
I just finished installing a whole passel of new PCs — both XP and Vista — and faced, once again, the age-old question: What do you really need on a new PC?
After thrashing this over with copious co-conspirators, I narrowed the choices down to a small handful.
Don’t overcrowd your PC with tiny utilities
I just checked CNET’s download page and discovered about 65,000 different utilities clamoring for attention. Tucows claims more than 40,000. Once upon a time, writing small utilities was a cottage industry. Now it’s more like a nation full of cottage industries.
As I explained in my previous must-have list on Mar. 2, 2006, I don’t use many Windows utilities day-to-day. I read about them, talk to friends about them, keep up on the latest and greatest. But I don’t install new ones very often, and I keep only a small percentage of the ones I download.
Truth be told, I don’t like to have a lot of utilities lying around. They tend to gum things up and make me think more than I need to. Give me one good Swiss Army Knife utility that almost solves dozens of problems I hit every day, and I’ll take it over a ragtag melange of programs with overlapping features and completely unrelated interfaces.
When confronted with a simple problem, I don’ t have the time or energy (or gray cells) to figure out if I should fire up Utility A and click here, here, here, and here; or Utility B and click there, there, there, and there. Life’s too short.