Although utilities programs are completely new to me, I thought I would share the
spirit of Alamo PC in celebrating utilities this month. The application
that I selected, WinTasks 4 Professional, is not only intended for managing
computer resources, improving system security, and optimizing and debugging
software it performs those functions quite well. After an easy installation
of the program (from the CD), even a complete utilities amateur like myself
was led to better understanding of the computer resources.
Various straight-forward views identifying all of the programs processes
broken down by threads facilitate the monitoring of operations that I once
took for granted. I could finally tell my computer in words that both he
and I understood to stop doing all her other thinking and just concentrate
on burning a CD. Perhaps developers and computer gurus might find more
sophisticated uses for this program, but it really is a nice way for anyone
to better allocate resources. It is a way to make your machine run more
smoothly and faster without having to change any physical hardware components!
The program also aids in the detection of otherwise undetectable memory
leaks and trojans while debugging DLL , ultimately resulting in improved
security and optimized software. The interface is a bit intimidating at
first glance to someone who doesn even know what a process is and unfortunately,
although their 24 hour customer support is probably really nice, I doubt
many Alamode subscribers are too happy about making long distance
calls to Sweden. However, with all the other available resources including
a hard-copy of the manual that came with the software, the online FAQ list,
free mailing list, and online customer support, in a couple of sessions
I became very comfortable with the views and realized how logical and easy
to use they were.
screen capture shows the main window that appears when you first open up
the program, identifies all of the processes with a color coded icon, its
level of priority, and a human-understandable name. It gives the user details
on where the program is, how much of the CPU and memory it is using and
even when it started or stopped. A user can even make personal notes about
his or her observations on this main screen and from here, has the option
to monitor and manipulate the resources with the aid of various other sub-windows.
These include a Modules window that shows all the .exe and .dll files,
a Statistics window that tracks the memory use and a Logging window that
keeps the user informed on what the heck has occurred on the system. Furthermore,
the application can be set to run automatically upon startup or not via
the Startup window, and for more sophisticated operations, WinTask has
its own scripting language.
Users can easily maneuver between multiple windows, save logs and notes,
and perform an endless number of functions with this application. In a
few days, I was comfortable enough with the interface and went from absolutely
no understanding of utilities tools to even being able to write simple
scripts. One of the most helpful things this program has done for
me this far is completely exterminate that annoying Gator spy-ware that
I thought was gone for good from my system a long time ago. It seems like
a simple procedure, but the file was really otherwise undetectable. Since
this was my first shot at a program of this sort, I have nothing to compare
it to. However, I can tell you that it is a relatively user-friendly program
with great documentation and endless features that have transformed what
I thought were hardware deficiency problems into smooth operations.
WinTasks 4 Professional can be installed on a system with the following
minimum requirements: Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000 or Windows XP,
10 MB free hard disk capacity, 32 MB RAM, Pentium 200 MHz.
I am running WinTasks on a system meeting these minimum requirements
and running on Windows 2000 Professional. However, in a way it seems that
users on a Windows 98 system would reap more benefits from this utilities
tool, the reason being that newer versions of Windows already have better
developed utilities. For example, Windows 2000 and XP support a total of
six priority levels including below and above normal, but since earlier
versions of Windows do not support these levels, WinTasks seems to hold
back and support the same levels as Windows 98. It worked for me, but is
this enough for you?
Although you won’t find the software at your local BestBuy or CompUSA,
WinTasks 4 Professional is available directly through the Leading
Interactive (LI) UtilitieW Web site, for $37.00 if you wish to download
it or for $57.00 if you wish to receive a boxed version of the program.
Furthermore, an upgrade is also available for download for only $25.00.
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