D7 for IT pros

This free suite of powerful system tools isn't for the inexperienced user.

D7 is Command Central for techs. Foolish IT's powerful suite of free system utilities is for pro PC technicians, Net Admins, and advanced users; not for beginners in any sense, unless they're recently certified by Microsoft. It's completely portable yet integrates a wide range of excellent third-party freeware utilities, including users' own preferred tools. It can manage individual PCs or whole networks of machines.

D7's thoughtful developer throws up many red flags, including the project's name ("FoolishIT") an unusually stern EULA stating plainly that misusing D7 can damage or kill your system (or systems) and a popup message basically saying, "OK, you've been warned!" But D7 quickly impressed us. For instance, the Shell Extension Configuration tool listed an amazing array of right-click menu options. We downloaded and installed Ketarin, a free tool D7 uses to check for and install updates for all third-party apps. D7's busy interface opened with an Info tab sporting a button labeled Speccy. Well, that's our favorite little system information tool! The Reporting button called up one of NirSoft's nifty reporting apps; another good sign. Turns out, D7 integrates lots of terrific portable freeware from Piriform, NirSoft, Sysinternals, and others. It also turns out that D7 does way too much to even attempt to summarize, like scan, clean, repair, tweak, restore, customize, back up, update, maintain, and support single computers or networks. It affects the registry, caches, file system, hidden and superhidden files, disks and drives, archives, networks, clients, and just about everything else that can be scanned, accessed, or changed. It even packs some unique extras, such as DataGrab, which quickly retrieves specified data from live or offline systems for backup.

The standing joke about the price of luxury goods applies to D7: If you have to ask, it's not for you. Yes, it is a fantastic free suite of powerful tools that will find a happy home on any serious tech's USB drive. Yes, it can and will kill your system if you let it by using it in ignorance or inexperience, and don't say you weren't warned. But we have no problems recommending D7 to aspiring experts, provided they use it with appropriate (i.e., extreme) caution, frequent and full backups, Plan B (C, etc.) and the patience and intestinal fortitude to deal with the "explore" in Explorer.

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