Product Type: Symantec utilities
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Symantec Norton Utilities 2000
Member Name: pottmar
Symantec Norton Utilities 2000
Date: 06/02/01, updated on 06/02/01 (716 review reads)
Advantages: Keeps your computer tidy and helps diagnose problems
Disadvantages: Can get in the way if not configured properly
Ladies and Gentlemen put your hands together for Norton Utilities 2000…..
Norton Utilities is a suite of products that are designed to keep your computer running in tip top condition.
When you first install the product you have to make some choices that will determine the level of involvement Norton has in your day-to-day use of your computer. You can configure it to be fully in control, but you will then notice things like you have a Norton Protected Recycle Bin where you cant empty the bin without getting Norton to do it for you. You will also have things like System Doctor and Crash Guard running all the time. If you are a computer novice then the extra protection and assistance that you get is probably reassuring, but if you are comfortable with the day-to-day workings of your computer then these will probably get in the way. I personally have the product installed in such a way that it offers the minimum amount of automation, in other words if I say I want to delete something it goes and if I want to check for errors then I have to run the job, I am happier that way. Obviously you can change your mind later, so as you get more comfortable (or uncomfortable) you can switch features on and off.
A lot of people don’t know how important the Windows Registry file is, every time you install some software on your computer lots of information is stored in the registry so it grows and grows all the time, when you uninstall a product in theory it cleans the registry, but it never does a complete job so you end up with a lot of clutter like un-referenced files where the registry is pointing to a file that has been deleted and incorrect file associations where the registry thinks it needs to use a certain product to open a type for file, for example the registry k
nows that a .xls file needs to be opened using Excel. Again if you uninstall a product the registry can retail these associations. Using Norton Utilities you can keep your registry clean and tidy because it can identify and remove these dead links.
I use this suite of products a lot for keeping my computer tidy and to assist me in diagnosing problems, for the price I would strongly advise you laying out your money in my opinion you cant get a better product. I have tried a number of the free to download products that are available but none are as comprehensive or as reliable as this suite of products.
If you just want the high level overview then give up reading now, I know this is a long opinion but I thought it best to give some idea of what each of the utilities does. The rest of the opinion is a description of each utility.
There are several groups of utilities within the suite to deal with your specific needs; here is a short description of each component.
Norton Utilities Integrator. This is a short cut placed on your desktop and on your start bar. This is the launch pad for all of the Norton Utilities and it is where you can amend you settings, if you click on options you can select which utilities to run at start-up etc.
Find and Fix Problems, as it sounds this area lets you find and fix specific problems with your system. It includes a number of tools
Norton System Check – This tool runs a complete system check, It scans your registry checking for obvious problems, it also validates all references to files on your computer if the file does not exist then it flags it up as a problem. It then runs a scan on your disk to check for disk integrity, fragmentation and space. It also looks to see the last time you used Norton Rescue to make a set of emergency boot disks and looks to see if there are any changes to your system that would require
the disks to be updated. At the end it gives you the option to repair any problems. If you are a novice this can sound confusing, it gives a technical description of the problem and if you want you can click on the details button and get even more information, but don’t get worried, there is a handy little button that says fix all this will let Norton go away and resolve the problems to the best of its ability. If you know more about computers you can select individual problems and resolve them and find out more information about what it is going to do. Be warned, if your emergency disks are not up to date (Or you haven’t done them) you will be asked for some floppy disks.
Norton WinDoctor – This tool runs a cut down version of the system check. It runs the windows system check, again it scans the registry checking for obvious problems, it also validates all references to files on your computer if the file does not exist then it flags it up as a problem again giving the option to resolve them at the end.
Norton Disk Doctor – This tool runs a disk check, it scans for the usual lost clusters, bad blocks etc and produces a report at the end detailing any problems. Again for the novices you can click a box that says automatically fix problems.
Norton UnErase Wizard – This tool will attempt to recover files that you have deleted by mistake. There are no guarantees but it may just save your work.
The next section is Improve Performance; This suite of programs looks at your computer and tries to make it run even better.
Speed Disk, this tool runs a form of defrag that tidies up your disk by defragmenting files and moving the most common used programs to the fastest areas of disk and relocates the less used files to the slower parts of the disk.
Norton Optimization Wizard. This tool runs the above speed disk but also optimises t
he registry, this means that it scans the registry and tidies it up then moves it to the fastest part of the disk. It also optimises your PC swap file to give you the best performance with the available disk space, beware though this needs a reboot.
The third section is Preventative Maintenance – This suite of products has a number of useful goodies
Norton System Doctor – This can be configured to constantly monitor your PC to keep an eye on things like CPU usage, Memory Usage, Disk space etc. The information is displayed on a small traffic light style display so you know when there are problems. It will also tell you which tool to run to fix the problems.
Norton Wipe Info – This tool can perform several levels of delete. By default when you delete a file all that happens is the space is marked as available, if you use a low level disk tool you can still read the contents of the file that used to be there. Using this tool you can force new data to be written over the blank areas of disk so no one can read the data. You can use it to delete Files, Folders or to wipe your free space and you can run a standard wipe that runs through writing the value of your choice to the disk, or you can run a government wipe that’s runs through a number of times to make sure everything is deleted.
Image – This tool saves a snapshot of important system files and disk layout so you can recover files in an emergency.
Norton Registry Tracker – This tool can keep track of any changes to your registry, this can be useful if you are experiencing problems you can see what changes have been made to the system registry.
The forth section is Troubleshoot – This suite of tools contains advanced diagnostic utilities and information tools.
Norton Diagnostics – This tool r
uns hardware checks, checking things like memory, Modem, Speaker, Sound Card, System Board Etc. This can alert you to problems with your hardware so you can call an Engineer to repair the fault.
System Information – This tool displays all the information about your computer, for example System Information like your processor details, Memory details showing everything that is using memory at the time so you can see what is using the most. Drive information so you can analyse what is on the disk and how much room it takes as well as network and internet connection information. This tool can be very useful if you call a support line they will often ask you lots of questions about your computer, this is an easy way to have all the answers to hand.
Norton Registry Editor – This tool allows you to edit the windows registry; it allows you to backup the registry before you start so you can restore it if you make a mistake. WARNING: YOU SHOULD NOT EDIT THE REGISTRY IF YIU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. IT CAN CAUSE YOUR COMPUTER TO STOP WORKING.
Norton File Compare – This tool allows you to compare 2 files and it will highlight the differences, this is useful if you have 2 copies on a file, for example one on your hard disk and one on a floppy disk and you have made different changes to both of them, this tool would highlight the differences so your could correct them.
The product also comes with a few other useful add-ons
Norton Crash Guard. This is a utility that you can set to run all the time in the background, if it detects an event that would usually cause Windows to crash then it steps in and warns you that there is a problem, this gives you time to save any open files before your machines crashes. It also takes a snapshot of the system to provide diagnostics if you need to contact a product supplier.
Norton Web Services – T
his is a link to the Symantec www.nortonweb.com website. This allows you to make sure you have all the latest product updates on your PC, it will run a scan to identify the products you are using then it will search for available updates, for example if you are using Microsoft Office then it may let you know there is a service pack, or if you have a game installed there may be a patch available. With each available update there is a description so you know what the update does, a size and estimated download time so you know how long it will take and a link so you can download the file yourself. I have to admit, this looks exactly like the ZDNet site updates.com so I think Symantec must have passed this support over to them.
There is also a Live Update utility that is used to keep your Norton products up to date, you can run this utility and it will connect to the Symantec web site and download any updates to Norton Utilities or any of its components.
And you get a Live Advisor utility where you can register to receive messages from Symantec about product upgrades, problems, hints and tips etc. Then you load Live Advisor it checks to see if there are any new messages meeting your requirements and downloads them to your Live Advisor Inbox.