5.2: Utility Software

What is utility software?

Utility software are dedicated programs used for the maintenance and organisation of a computer system.

Antimalware, firewall and encryption software are examples of utilities and have been explained in section 4.2.

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As files are edited over time they will become fragmented -  this is when the file is split into parts that are stored in different locations on the hard disk drive. Files that are fragmented take longer to load and read because of the distance between the fragments of the file. 

Defragmentation software is used to rearrange the file on the hard disk drive so that all parts are together again in order. Defragmentation improves the speed of accessing data on the hard disk drive.

Data Compression

Compression is the process of decreasing the size of a file.


Disk compression is a utility tool that automatically compresses files when saved so that more data can be stored on the hard disk drive.


When a file is to be opened, the program is automatically decompressed. Disk compression increases the amount of space on a hard disk drive but it takes longer to open and close files.

5.2 - Utility Software:

1a. Describe what is meant by defragmentation[2]

1b. Explain why defragmentation software is used. [2]

2. Describe 2 benefits of using compression. [2] 

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