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Norton gives users` systems the works

Norton SystemWorks is Symantec`s comprehensive utility suite, covering anti-virus, uninstaller and system improvement tools. With the 2001 release, it is now a one-stop utility shop for all Windows desktop operating systems.
SystemWorks Integrator
There are three individual packages in the SystemWorks suite, drawn together under a centralised management console, which has certain other centralised features like complete rescue recovery (including the ever-popular zip-rescue) and a single tray icon for all utilities.
The package sports the new-look Norton series boxes, but is full of all the goodies that we have come to expect from Symantec`s utilities company, and contains Norton Utilities, Norton Anti-Virus (NAV), and Norton CleanSweep.
It is also the first one-stop desktop suite for Windows from 2000 professional to 95, although there seem to be some problems with CleanSweep on 95 and Millennium Edition (Me) at the moment. Norton has been circumspect in coming to the NT-based utilities market.
SpeedDisk for NT never really took off, as it didn`t offer the type of system improvements that its 9x counterparts did, and other companies like Mijenix and O&O Software were faster to the NT utility market. However, this release of Norton Utilities, and especially SpeedDisk, work well on Windows 2000 professional, so the lack of speed to market seems to reflect nothing more than a – slow and steady – attitude.
Norton Anti-Virus
Both versions of Norton Anti-Virus (NAV), NT and 9x, come with the package, with the NT version supporting Windows 2000 as well as NT4. The only complaint that I`ve ever heard about the new generation of NAV is that the macro scanner for Word slows some systems down – nothing that throwing a bit of RAM at won`t solve!
SystemWorks SpeedDisk
NAV is the most popular personal virus protection suite on the market at the moment. It is effective and easy to use and is also easy for IT personnel to administer. It rarely corrupts files when downloads are broken, like some packages have a habit of doing, and can have updates sent to mobile users in the form of self-installing patches.
The e-mail plug-in also offers real-time scanning of incoming e-mail, so that viruses can be stopped before they are accessible in e-mail programs. This feature can slow down some systems, but it is a small price to pay for clean e-mail.
Norton Utilities
The core package in the suite is Norton Utilities. It has evolved from its origins in the days of DOS onto the current premier Microsoft desktop utility suite. I must say that as one who has moved onto Windows 2000 (W2K) for security and stability reasons, it is nice to see those familiar apps that were so crucial to me in Windows 98.
The core utilities have been migrated to the W2K platform, while 95 to Me share all the oldies. I`m going to be focusing on the suite from a W2K perspective, because that`s what`s really new in the 2001 suite.
The applications are SpeedDisk, System Doctor, Unerase Wizard, Disk Doctor, Win Doctor and System Information, all of which have seen an overhaul from previous versions. The only disappointment is Disk Doctor, which links in with the W2K Check Disk utility (chkdsk.exe) and passes parameters to it for pre-GUI scanning.
System Doctor is the monitoring tool in the package, and appears as in previous versions, although its back-end has been completely re-written to take the new W2K file system into account. Likewise System Information also portrays an accurate picture of the overall state of a system.
Win Doctor has been translated to W2K, to provide the same effect as its 9x counterpart, and has been incorporated in the system check utility, that is now a one click button in the SystemWorks integrator, utilising various tools from each of the suit`s packages.
SpeedDisk looks completely new in its W2K incarnation, but works like a veteran to the OS. Something that other NT disk defragmenters are not good at is consolidating free and used disk space on a drive, but SpeedDisk appears to achieve this in the same way that it does in 9x.
If you`re expecting it to be as quick as its 9x counterpart, though, be warned as it is much more thorough and requires considerably more repetitive access through the file system security features – something that takes more coding to perform.
A feature that works well is the ability to set the priority of SpeedDisk`s processes in its options panel, so you can have the defragmentation of a large drive going on in the background while you are working, just as long as you don`t make too many calls to it.
Norton CleanSweep
CleanSweep took over from Norton Uninstall Deluxe for what Symantec called “technical”” reasons, and although the product`s title preceded Uninstall Deluxe, it is a nonetheless new technology. Simply put, CleanSweep cleans up after all those installations that are performed on so many of our PCs: it uninstalls, archives and generally cleans up loose files and registry settings.
Programs can also be backed up, archived and moved from one machine to another. There is a resident monitor that keeps track of what files are associated with which programs, as well as which programs have installed what files where. This information is used for its cleaning up activities.
Internet plug-ins and downloaded installations are often messier than normal ones and CleanSweep enables you to clean up after both Internet Explorer and Netscape, including flushing their caches and stored cookies.
The final collection of CleanSweep utilities are those that generally clean out the operating system, finding orphan files and settings as well as unused or backed-up file versions. This can be particularly useful if you have a system that has survived a reinstallation for more than 12 months, or you have limited hard disk space.
Web Links
Symantec Web links is a tab on the SystemWorks integrator that offers one click access to various Web sites that offer help, additional information and services from Symantec and its partners.
The Live Update has been improved, both in interface and functionality. Whether you are connected to a LAN or a modem it can dial up on its own and download and install new virus definitions and patches in a way that is totally configurable.
My one complaint with SystemWorks, and it has been one from its first incarnation, is the lack of control over the installation. For instance, I don`t want to install the Unerase Wizard in Utilities because I don`t want the Norton-protected recycle bin (which you can`t fully disable once you have installed it), so I have to install the package separately to get this sort of detail, and then install the rest from the common installer.
While this may be great for less experienced users, it is generally power users who go for this type of application, and these are the type of people who want more granularity with all options.
In conclusion
Norton SystemWorks 2001 is Symantec`s latest Utility suite that adds support for the NT-based operating systems and offers virus protection, system improvement and bug fixing as well as cleaning up of unused installations and files.”

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