Utility software

system software designed to help analyze, configure, optimize or maintain a computer

In computing, a "utility" is a program[1][2][3] or module which is used to give a general-purpose result, for many different uses. A utility is intended for a wide range of users, rather than an "app" (application program) which might be intended to serve a specific purpose for specific users.

For example, a utility program may handle computer files or guard against computer viruses.



Utility is a system software that corresponds towards analyzing, configuring and optimizing the computer.

Common examples of utility programs

  • Anti-Virus
  • Archives
  • synchronisation
  • Disk compression
  • Disk Defragment
  • search bar
  • system restore
  • synchronisation
  • zip/unzip

The word "utility" has been used to mean a "general-purpose computing tool" for many decades, since at least 1960.[1][2][3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "What does utility program mean?", Definitions.net, June 2011 (notes "Etymology: 1960"), web: DN.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Programmed Data Processor-1, 1960", ComputerHistory.org, archives, 1960, web (PDF file): CH-PDF Archived 2010-07-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Catalog of Copyright Entries. Third Series: 1960", 1961, Library of Congress. Copyright Office, p.350, web: BG-AAJ, notes "IBM 705 III utility program: data file print... ©10May60".