2.0 Operating Systems

Unless otherwise noted, operating systems referred to within include Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional, XP Home, XP MediaCenter, Windows Vista Home, Home Premium, Business and Ultimate.

2.3 Given a scenario, select and use system utilities / tools and evaluate the results

  • Disk management tools

    • DEFRAG

      New data and files are generally written to the first available space on a disk drive. Over time, files are changed, re-wriiten, or deleted, and open up new areas of available disk space. This open space may in turn be used by another application or file for storage creating a scattered, or fragmented structure to related data. This creates a situation where the disk heads are required to increase travel for reading and writing data and efficiency suffers.

      The DEFRAG utility is used to analyze the fragmentation of files and folders on local drives and reconstruct the data into contiguous order.

      More on DEFRAG


      NTBACKUP is a built-in backup application introduced in Windows NT and included with Windows 2000, Windows XP Pro, Windows 8, as well as Windows Server versions 2003, 2008, and 2012. NTBACKUP is not installed by default in XP Home Edition.

      How To Use The Backup Utility In Windows XP
      How to install NTBACKUP on Windows XP Home
      Manually Edit Ntbackup.exe Selection Script Files

      The ntbackup command is not available in Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008. Instead, you should use the wbadmin command and subcommands to back up and restore your computer and files from a command prompt.

      You cannot recover backups that you created with ntbackup by using wbadmin. However, a version of ntbackup is available as a download for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista users who want to recover backups that they created using ntbackup. This downloadable version of ntbackup enables you to perform recoveries only of legacy backups, and it cannot be used on computers running Windows Server 2008 or Windows Vista to create new backups. To download this version of ntbackup, see Windows NT Backup - Restore Utility.


    • Check Disk

      The chkdsk or “Check Disk” utility is used in Windows to locate and repair logical file system errors or check the disk surface for physical errors and bad sectors.

      • /f : Fixes errors on the disk. The disk must be locked. If chkdsk cannot lock the drive, a message appears that asks you if you want to check the drive the next time you restart the computer.
      • /r : Locates bad sectors and recovers readable information. The disk must be locked.

      More on CHKDSK

  • Disk Manager

    • Active, primary, extended and logical partitions

      There are two types of partitions, primary and extended. A primary partition is one into which you can install the files needed to load an operating system. A primary partition is formatted for a particular file system and is assigned a drive letter. Having multiple primary partitions enables you to install and start operating systems that do not use the same file system. You can have as many as four primary partitions on a hard disk.

      You can have one extended partition on a hard disk. An extended partition is effectively a logical disk. Unlike a primary partition, you do not format the extended partition, nor does it get assigned a drive letter. Instead, you can create one or more logical drives within the extended partition, and each logical drive is assigned a drive letter. You format each logical drive for a particular file system. An extended partition is a method for configuring a hard disk into more than four logical areas. If you have an extended partition on the disk, you can have up to three primary partitions.

    • Mount points

    • Mounting a drive

    • FAT32 and NTFS

      The FAT file system is a better choice than NTFS for volumes that are smaller than approximately 400-500 MB, because of the amount of disk space overhead involved in NTFS, but is very inefficient for volumes larger than 1 gigabyte (GB). This overhead is in the form of NTFS system files and the log file, which can use a large percentage of the total disk space on a small volume.

      Windows 95 OSR2, Windows 98, Windows 2000, and Windows Me are the only Microsoft operating systems that can access FAT32 volumes.

      The NTFS file system is best for use on volumes of about 400 MB or more, because performance does not degrade as much on larger NTFS volumes as compared to larger FAT volumes. However, if you want to use features that are available only on NTFS, such as file security or compression, you can use NTFS on smaller volumes.

      NTFS is a proprietary file system for Windows XP, Vista, NT, and Windows 7.

    • Drive status

      • Foreign drive

      • Healthy

      • Formatting

      • Active unallocated

      • Failed

      • Dynamic

      • Offline

      • Online

  • System monitor

  • Administrative tools

    Administrative Tools is a folder in Control Panel that contains tools for system administrators and advanced users. The tools in the folder might vary depending on which version of Windows you are using.

    More on Administrative Tools

    • Event Viewer

      Event Viewer is an advanced tool that displays detailed information about possible issues and significant events on your computer. It can be helpful when troubleshooting problems and analyzing errors with Windows and other programs.

      The Event Viewer can be accessed through the Start Menu by first selecting Start, then the Control Panel. From the Control Panel window, select Administrative Tools, then Computer Management. From the console tree on the left side of the window, select Event Viewer, Event details will be displayed on the right side of the window.

      Windows Event Viewer

      More on Event Viewer

    • Computer Management

      Computer Management helps you manage local or remote computers using a single, consolidated desktop tool. It combines several Windows administration utilities into a single console tree, providing easy access to a specific computer's administrative properties and tools.

      More on Computer Management

    • Services

      System services are programs that load automatically either as part of an application's startup process or the operating system startup process to support the different tasks required of the operating system.

      More on Services

    • Performance Monitor

      Performance Monitor is a simple yet powerful visualization tool for viewing performance data, both in real time and from log files. With it, you can examine performance data in a graph, histogram, or report.

      More on Performance Monitor

  • Device Manager

    The Device Manager in Windows systems is used to check the status of installed hardware devices, modify hardware settings, and update drivers for your devices.

    More on the Windows Device Manager

    • Enable

    • Disable

    • Warnings

    • Indicators

  • Task Manager

    Task Manager provides information about programs and processes running on your computer. It also displays the most commonly used performance measures for processes.

    More on Task Manager

    • Process list

    • Resource usage

    • Process priority

    • Termination

  • System Information

  • System restore

  • Remote Desktop Protocol (Remote Desktop / Remote Assistance)

  • Task Scheduler

  • Regional settings and language settings