I'd like to solicit feedback regarding utilities people use at work and at home to keep their systems running, to resolve issues, to perform IT magic. And not just any utilities, but those most helpful, the "go-to" utilities.

I'm asking this not because I don't have any, but because I'm certain there are many out there I've not heard of, and it's very possible that the ones I'm using aren't the best for the job.

Is this something that should go in the Wiki? Or is there a better place to ask it?

UPDATE: I should have made it clear, though I guess I assumed it would be due to the fact I was asking this question here rather than the question I described in SU. I am aware that open ended or relative-answer questions are not acceptable. And yet, I see on this and other of the SE sites that there are ongoing and popular discussions that are decidedly and undeniably relative and open ended. Hence this question here.

  • That's what places like Hard Forums are for.
    – surfasb
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 21:04

3 Answers 3


As explained in the other answers, this is the sort of question we discourage. Open-ended list questions are subjective, have no correct answer, and quickly become outdated. If you are trying to achieve a specific task, you could ask about utilities for that specific problem. Most of the old "what's your favorite ____?" questions have been closed, and future ones will be as well.

With the recent addition of the Super User Blog, there is a venue for discussing things like this in a different way. If you wanted to, you could write a blog post about the tools and utilities you use to keep your machines running smoothly. This is a good way to showcase what tools you know and like to use, and people can use the comments to suggest their own favorites. This way, it is more of an expository document, rather than a request for a long list. It would require a bit more research and writing on your part, but I bet that along the way, you would learn a lot. If this is an option you're interested in, let me or another blog editor know, and we can arrange for you to write a post about it.

  • 1
    Thank you. It seems the blog would be the best way for me to go about this. I'll spend some time putting an article together that describes my go-to utilities and sample applications and then get in contact with you. Commented Jul 8, 2011 at 18:56

The intent of Stack Exchange is not to copy the internet, but help people to learn and solve problems.

So, our system is designed towards solving problems rather than what we coin "recommendations".

Quote: Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today.

If we give you utilties, you won't be able to find them yourself next time.

Quote: Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.

On the other hand, if we teach you where to find those utilties, you can find them yourself next time.

If you need an utility to solve a particular issue, you could simple use a search engine like Google.

If you are looking for alternatives to an utility, you could check out AlternativeTo or similar sites.

You can look through the very popular questions for old software recommendation questions...

  • 1
    Thank you for the proverb. Something I try to mention in each job interview I do is that I am "as smart as Google". Not that I am, but to illustrate I consider myself very good at researching and finding the answers to questions I do not know the answer to right off. Thankfully, it's not just boasting because I have several recommendations noting this aspect of my skills. However, the question wasn't to get recommendations for a particular task, but to solicit general responses regarding prefered tools used by others for whatever task. Commented Jul 8, 2011 at 19:02

This type of question is specifically listed in the FAQ as a question that should not be asked:

  • every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite ______?”
  • Thank you. I've read the FAQ. Commented Jul 8, 2011 at 18:59

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