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Topic: PC Utilities Advice...

  1. #1

    PC Utilities Advice...

    OK it\'s that new PC user here...running Giga, Gold, and VSL on a number of drives under XP on a P4.

    Really new to the PC, and mine was built for me but came with no extra disk utilities.

    What is the best thing for me to have around to keep drives in check on the PC? What do you guys use? I\'m doing no recording where the disks get fragmented...just sample playback...is something even necessary?

    Thanks for any advice. In fact, if there\'s any other \"Must have\" PC software to keep me up and running please post!


  2. #2
    Moderator/Developer Brian2112's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Out of my Mind

    Re: PC Utilities Advice...

    Hi Tom,

    Well, a lot depends on whether your computers (s) are hooked up to the internet. But before I get to that…

    I can tell you what I use to keep everything running smoothly. I used to use the Norton Utilities, but now they can do more damage than good (IMO). The alternatives are System Suite 5 and System Mechanic. I use both, in fact System Suite 5 is my main utility, and anything it doesn’t spot, System Mechanic will find. If you chose one though, System Suite 5 is by far, more complete.

    Note that for hard disk maintenance, they are both useless, as are most any disk utilities now. The reason for this is that Windows XP is running the NTFS file system. NTFS “mounts” volumes (disks) and does not allow changes to them (of the “repair” type) while running. All these utilities can spot problems, but in the end, they all just make you run chkdsk /f from the DOS prompt. Your disk is then checked for errors by Windows on re-boot. Sometimes, during the course of “fixing it” it actually breaks stuff, but let it do its thing if it pops up and does it unexpectedly. If an NTFS drive goes bad you’re just SOL.

    That’s the Bad news.

    The good news is that NTFS is kind of in a constant state of “self repair”. So usually they require no maintenance. As to defragmentation, use only the Windows XP Defrag utility that is included in Windows XP. Don’t use anything else or you might hose your system. (This includes System Suite and, to a lesser extent, Norton). While the Windows version is slower, it is safer.

    I only use System Suite and System Mechanic for cleaning, and defragmenting my registry (which actually saves wear and tear on your hard drives to some degree). Mostly, it just keeps your system free of error and junk. Use with caution, however.

    Now if you are connected to the net, I would recommend all the things that I use.

    1) Zone Alarm Pro (Firewall)
    2) Web Root’s Window Washer
    3) Web Root’s Spy Sweeper
    4) System Suite 5
    5) System Mechanic

    The use of all of the above gives you a good deal of protection without having to have an anti-virus program sucking resources in the background. And the truth is, anti virus programs that are constantly monitoring are totally useless. They are only good for cleaning “after the fact”.

    The utilities mentioned above will keep your system smooth; safely clean your temp and internet temp folders, clean crap out of your registry, stop spyware, and give you control over what goes in and out of the net.

    The registry fixers and optimizers must be used with caution.

    The alternative is to do nothing, which truly isn’t a bad option.


  3. #3

    Re: PC Utilities Advice...

    Hey thanks so much for the detailed reply.

    I\'m not connected to the net on the PC, so that saves some concern.

    Norton has bad rep on the Mac as well nowadays, and actually, OSX on the Mac takes care of most stuff as well.

    So I\'ll investigate System Suite, and I really appreciate the info!

  4. #4

    Re: PC Utilities Advice...


    simple answer:

    always defragment no matter what the HD is being used for.

    Alan Russell

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: PC Utilities Advice...

    I veer towards very little maintenance, because I keep the production machines focused on production. They\'re all on the internet, via the network, but the network itself is behind a hardware firewall.

    You\'ll want to defrag any drives where you (or Windows) write data on a continuing basis. If you bought new drives for your sampler files, and loaded those up--and you don\'t write data to those drives--then defrag them once and forget it. You will very likely not cause any fragmentation to those drives in the future.

    The OS drive is another thing entirely, since the Windows OS will actually study your usage and optimize things to a degree. Run the Windows defrag once a month or so, and you\'ll be good to go.

    As far as firewall, etc...

    Just use a good hardware router. That\'s going to solve the lion\'s share of difficulty if your machines are online. Ad Aware is free, and will cleanse your system of spyware. Run it now and then.

    Other than that, I\'d blow off the software \"utilities\" on a music-only machine. Waste of your money and time, for a very limited payoff.

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