Utility software is system software designed to help to analyze, configure, optimize or maintain a computer.
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It is used to support the computer infrastructure - in contrast to application software, which is aimed at directly performing tasks that benefit ordinary users.
An application software is computer software designed to perform a group of coordinated functions, tasks, or activities for the benefit of the user.
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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.
Computerized batch processing, since the 1964 introduction of the IBM Systemor output computer tapes.
Although a basic set of utility programs is usually distributed with an operating system, and utility software is considered part of the operating system, users often install replacements or additional utilities.
An operating system is system software that manages computer hardware and software resources and provides common services for computer programs.
Those utilities may provide additional facilities to carry out tasks that are beyond the capabilities of the operating system.
Many utilities that might affect the entire computer system require the user to have elevated privileges, while others that operate only on the user's data do not.