03:20 PM
Gina Smith
Gina Smith

Three Free Must-Have Utilities To Speed Your Work

Is your toolkit in order? Here are three free utilities no tech pro should be without.

Everyone has a go-to kit for emergencies, or just plain handy utilities that make work go faster. These are my three top time-savers. Check them out!

My favorite is Everything, from voidtools. I use it constantly. It indexes every folder and file on your disk, letting you rapidly find anything--just by typing in a couple of characters. It blazes.

A tool like Everything is ideal if, like me, you don't keep your files and folders in pristine order. Or maybe you support users with the same bad habits. Either way, Everything is all you need for home or business.

It supports Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista and 7.

Next up, Darik's Boot and Nuke, better known as DBAN. This program writes over all the contents of your PC's hard disk--effectively blasting any PC white bone clean. You need that if you're selling a PC. And you definitely want that if you're doing a fresh OS install or reinstall for any reason.

Bulk emergency data destruction is what DBAN is all about and it does what it promises. DBAN claims its utility "totally cleans a Microsoft Windows installation of viruses and spyware (and) thoroughly hinders all known techniques of hard disk forensic analysis." Hey, you never know.

A good set of instructions for using DBAN is inside the BYTE how-to gallery on how to do a clean install of Windows 7. DBAN is for Windows 2000 and later.

Finally, no must-have utility list would be complete without VLC, an open-source media player originally developed by some Parisian students.

If you haven't used it, absolutely do take a look. VLC plays and streams media in virtually any format you can think of--and on every conceivable platform. That includes the PC, Mac, and most flavors of Linux. No more time-consuming searches for media translator software. I haven't seen any other player this good. To me, VLC is beyond compare.

At BYTE, we're always reviewing or recommending freeware utilities that'll free up some of your time at work. Hope you enjoy these!

Gina Smith is editor-in-chief of BYTE. Follow her @ginasmith888 or

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