Ah, Those Built-in Windows Utilities

Q. My partner buys all these fancy add-on utilities for Windows. I keep telling him they’re a waste of money because Windows has all those utilities built in. He says the third-party utilities are better. Who’s right?

A. You’re both right. Windows does have a load of utilities built in, such as Disk Cleanup, Disk Defragmenter, Driver Converter, Maintenance Wizard, ScanDisk, Scheduled Tasks and System Information. And they work just fine. However, utilities such as Norton and FixIt have somewhat more powerful functions. But unless you’re really into tinkering with various defaults, the built-in utilities are quite sufficient. To access the Microsoft utilities, go to Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools. Then click on any one of them and check them out.


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.