Utility software is system software designed to help to analyze, configure, optimize or maintain a computer. It is used to support the computer infrastructure - in contrast to application software, which is aimed at directly performing tasks that benefit ordinary users. Utilities often form part of application systems however. For example a batch job may run user-written code to update a database and may then include a step that runs a utility to back up the database, or a job may run a utility to compress a disk before copying files.
Although a basic set of utility programs is usually distributed with an operating system (OS), and utility software is considered part of the operating system, users often install replacements or additional utilities. It provides additional facilities to carry out tasks which are beyond the capabilities of the operating system.
Many utilities which might affect the entire computer system require the user to have elevated privileges, while others, which operate only on the user's data, do not.
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