The Windows operating system contains many built-in tools, such as Paint, Telnet, Disk Defragmenter, and System Restore. Some of these applications are watered-down versions of other software, and some have been specifically designed for Windows. Depending on your organization’s needs, these tools may or may not be sufficient. In this edition of In Response, I’ll outline some of the pros and cons of several built-in Windows applications. Then it will be your turn to tell us if you think Windows’ built-in tools are good enough for the new business marketplace.

Windows Paint
The Windows Paint application has been around since Windows 3.x. Paint can capture screenshots, draw diagrams, and create graphs, but is it an adequate graphics editor?

The pros: If you need to create a bitmap image, Paint is the way to go. It’s quick, straightforward, and easy to use. Paint also comes standard with every Windows installation, so there is no need to worry about compatibility with other Windows systems.

The cons: Paint only supports bitmaps, ignoring the more popular GIF and JPEG file formats.

Windows Telnet
Windows Telnet allows users to access other networked computers, and, like Paint, it has been a part of Windows for quite some time.

The pros: By using Telnet, you can access not only other Windows machines, but UNIX-based systems as well. It also allows you to configure and interact with networking devices, such as routers and switches.

The cons: Telnet is very insecure, as it fails to utilize any encryption method. Security-conscious users should opt for a more secure alternative, such as SHH Secure Shell protocol.

Windows defrag tool
The Windows Disk Defragmenter tool has changed over the years, moving from a Microsoft proprietary program to a program called Diskeeper Lite.

The pros: No matter which version of the Windows operating system you use, the Windows Defrag tool can speed up your system by reorganizing your hard drive. Defragmenting is one of the easiest ways to improve and maintain system performance.

The cons: The current version of Disk Defragmenter, available in Windows 2000, is based on Executive Software’s Diskeeper Lite, which doesn’t have the functionality of the full Diskeeper application.

System Restore
Some of the Windows operating systems, such as Windows Me, include a system restore utility that allows users to revert their computers to a previous configuration.

The pros: If you screw up your operating system, you can simply fix the error by restoring the OS to a previous point in time.

The cons: Microsoft openly admits that the System Restore applications currently included in Windows aren’t up to par with what will be available in the near future. Using the current System Restore tool, there’s no guarantee your system won’t experience problems after performing the restoration.

Notepad and WordPad
Notepad is an ASCII-based, text-editing tool with few bells and whistles. There are no options for changing text fonts, colors, or sizes. With the release of Windows 95, Microsoft introduced WordPad. This handy application offered more features than Notepad and could actually be used as a word processor.

The pros: Notepad is a perfect tool for those individuals who choose to write their HTML from scratch. WordPad is a quick, effective tool for editing non-ASCII rich text files.

The cons: Both Notepad and WordPad are extremely limited when it comes to text formatting, and neither allows for the insertion of images.

Tell us what you think

Now that you’ve had a chance to review some of Windows’ built-in tools, we want to know which ones you think are adequate for today’s business environment. Post a comment to share your view.