Supplemental utilities

Beyond essential utilities, we carry several supplemental utilities. These tools are nice to have, but not absolutely required. Rather than doing things you can’t do without them, they save you time—sometimes a lot of time. If you work on PCs frequently, every one of these commercial utilities belongs in your bag. Each of them costs money, but unless your time is worth nothing an hour, each pays for itself quickly—usually the first time you use it.

If you seldom work on PCs, these utilities probably aren’t worth buying ahead of time. Instead, try to schedule your upgrades, and buy these as you need them. Note that most of these utilities are available in both inexpensive single-user/single-PC standard versions and much more expensive versions that are licensed to be used by a single technician on multiple PCs. The prices given are typical street prices for the standard versions.

Partition Magic

This $50 PowerQuest ( utility has saved us countless hours of extra work over the years. Before Partition Magic, the only way to change disk partitioning was to back up, delete the old partitions, create and format new partitions, and restore. In addition to taking hours, this process is perilous. More than once, we’ve been unable to restore a backup tape we made immediately before starting to repartition, even though that tape had passed a verify flawlessly. Partition Magic lets you repartition on the fly. It takes less time and is probably ...

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