May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
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History of Development of Norton Utilities

News Filesystems Recovery   The History of Development of Norton Commander Cygwin Windows Disk Protection Microsoft Power Toys
Undeleting files Windows  Recovery Console Windows Resource Kits Norton Ghost  Abandonware Humor

Historically Norton Utilities was toolbox of programs ranging from "indispensable to "optional".  circumstances. The content stabilized around version 8.0 and number of component increased from one version to the next.  The tools in Norton Utilties(NU) can be grouped into five broad categories:

Norton Utilities along with Norton Commander were two classic DOS products. They were produced by Peter Norton Computing. Initially (for the first three years) developed by Peter Norton. Starting from version 3.1 (which added the Quick UnErase (QU) and Unremove Directory (UD) ) most of the programming was done by Brad Kingsbury (who later became Senior Vice President of Symantec). He was the sole developer/designer/tester/manager for all versions of the Norton Utilities from 1985 to 1989. 

The initial 1982 release supported DOS 1.x and featured the key member of the package (the program that brought Peter Norton to the height of computer glory :-),   the  UNERASE utility. This utility allowed files to be undeleted by restoring the first letter of the directory entry (a feature of the FAT file system used in MS-DOS, albeit one that was not originally documented). It was the UNERASE utility what launched NU on its path to huge commercial success, allowing Peter Norton to create a viable company that produced among other thing such masterpiece of DOS programming as Norton Commander.  Quoting Peter Norton,

"Why did The Norton Utilities become such popular software? Well, industry wisdom has it that software becomes standard either by providing superior capabilities or by solving problems that were previously unsolvable. In 1982, when I sat down at my PC to write Unerase, I was solving a common problem to which there was no readily available solution."[1]

14 programs were included, on three floppy disks, list price $80:[2][3]

 Following this release Peter Norton was made Utilities Editor of PC Magazine.

Version 3.0 contained 22 files. Of them 14 were utilities (.COM file):

  1. BEEP
  2. DS
  3. DT
  4. FA
  5. FF
  6. FS
  7. LD
  8. LP
  9. NU
  10. SA
  11. SI TM TS
  12. VL

There were also two batch files LONG and SHORT. LONG.BAT as the name imply converted the name of the utilities from short format to long, while SHORT.BAT did the reverse operation.

Version 3.1 released in 1986 version added the Quick UnErase (QU) and Unremove Directory (UD) programs.

4.0 Norton Utilities 4.0 for DOS was released in March 1987 with the list price list $99.95. It added four new programs:

Version 4.5 was probably the most popular. It was released in 1989, and contained all classic utilities associated with the package. The cost was 149.95. See 49 slides created by Greg Shultz for Techrepublic at  Dinosaur Sighting The Norton Utilities - Advanced Edition - Version 4.5.

Release 5.0 included more features, including a utility to perform low level formatting on hard disks, and changes such as password protection on the more "dangerous" utilities. It also included a licensed version of the 4DOS replacement for COMMAND.COM called NDOS. This version also allowed the choice of "classic" names (such as FF.EXE) or longer names (such as FINDFAST.EXE); these were configurable in the updated version of the Norton Integrator menu system.

Peter Norton's company was sold to Symantec in 1990. Symantec killed Norton Utilities in 2003. the last version was Norton Utilities 2001 announced on 2000-08-29.  It supports Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, and 2000. It includes Norton SpeedDisk, Norton Optimization Wizard, Norton Disk Doctor, Norton WinDoctor, Norton System Doctor, and Norton System Check. Disk tools in this version support USB and FireWire drives. After that some components of Norton Utilities were included in Norton SystemWorks but product seized to exist as independent software package.

The revival of Norton Utilities as standalone software was announced in 2009 with the release of Norton Utilities 14 for Windows. The program supports Windows XP, Vista (32/64-bit). It includes Registry Defragmenter, Registry Cleaners, Disk Cleaner, Disk Defragmenter, Startup Manager, Service Manager, Restore Center, System Optimizer, Process Viewer, and Performance Test. The product license was changed to allow it to be used on up to 3 household PCs.

Norton Utilities 15.0 includes features from Norton Systemworks. It includes Norton Speed Disk, Norton Disk Doctor, Norton UnErase, Registry Restore, Registry Defragmenter, Registry Cleaner, Disk Cleaner, Disk Defragmenter, Startup Manager, Service Manager, Restore Center, System Optimizer, Process Viewer, and Performance Test. This version also includes a new GUI.

I am not of big fan of massive footprint, "who the hell knows what it's doing" system tools like Symantec produces. I generally hate Symantec software with the exception of old products like Norton Utilities 2001.

Be very careful about software that "does things" for you. Make sure that you really want these "things" done.

Right now probably the best alternative to Norton Utilities is Cygwin. Some useful utilities can be found in Windows Resource Kits

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[Oct 15, 2012] Symantec: Leaked Norton Utilities 2006 source code already published months ago by Lucian Constantin

September 25, 2012 | IDG News Service

Hackers associated with the Anonymous hacktivist collective published the source code files for Symantec's Norton Utilities 2006 product on The Pirate Bay BitTorrent website on Monday, but according to the security vendor the same files had been released in January.

The Pirate Bay torrent was accompanied by a message in which the hackers referred to Symantec as "the worst security vendor on planet Earth" and hinted that the release is not the result of a new security breach. "As many of you know this was planned back before Sabu was arrested," the hackers said.

Sabu, the founder of Anonymous-affiliated hacker group LulzSec, was arrested in June 2011 and subsequently worked as an informant for the FBI. However, the public didn't learn about his arrest and FBI involvement until March 2012.

"Symantec is aware of the claims made online that a group has posted the source code for Norton Utilities 2006," Cris Paden, manager of corporate communications at Symantec, said Tuesday via email. "We have analyzed the code that was posted and have concluded that it is the same code that was already posted by another group in January 2012."

At the beginning of January, a group of hackers called Lords of Dharmaraja, also affiliated with Anonymous, claimed to have stolen the source code for multiple Symantec products and tried to extort money from the company.

A few days later, the group released the source code for the 2006 version of Norton Utilities with the intention of helping a Washington state man's lawsuit against Symantec. The man had filed a complaint claiming that the trial versions of Norton Utilities and several other Symantec products display misleading information about the "health" of their users' computers in order to scare them into buying the full version of the products.

Norton Utilities is a product that includes different Windows system optimization and maintenance tools like registry defragmenter, registry cleaner, disk defragmenter, disk cleaner, file recovery, services manager and others.

[Jul 22, 2012] Norton Utilities - PC Tuneup Software - Official US Store

[Dec 4, 2004] Software Norton SystemWorks 2005 [AntiVirus, Utilities, GoBack, Check IT]

Free from Amazon $60-$60 rebate =$0. Limited time offer.

Includes: Norton AntiVirus, Norton Utilities, and Norton GoBack! Also provides CheckIt Diagnostics, System Optimizer, and additional problem-solving tools.

Norton System Works 2005 has 6 programs in one package - Norton AntiVirus, Utilities, GoBack, CheckIt Diagnostics, System Optimizer, and Additional Web Tools

By Stephen Bird, Contributing Editor of The Lawyer's PC and a lawyer with the Lanark, Leeds & Grenville Legal Clinic in Perth and Brockville

Utility suites may be less well-known, less visible and less understood than the

Norton Internet Security 2004 (Symantec)

A year has passed, and so another version of Symantec's Norton Internet Security has been released to protect users from viruses, hackers and privacy threats. Norton Internet Security includes Norton Antivirus, Norton Personal Firewall, Norton Privacy Control, Norton AntiSpam (formerly called Norton Spam Alert) and Norton Parental Control in the Personal Version (or Norton Productivity Control in the Professional Version).

Some new features have been added to the Norton Internet Security components:
*Norton AntiVirus Expanded threat detection alerts users to certain nonvirus threats such as spyware and keystroke logging programs.
* Norton Personal Firewall A Web assistant lets users block ads and access other program options from Microsoft Internet Explorer, while a Network Detector lets users
define firewall settings for different networks.
* Norton AntiSpam Filters unwanted e-mail messages in any POP3-compliant e-mail program by adding a "spam" tag in the Subject field integration with Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Outlook Express, and Eudora for instant, automatic filtering of junk mail. It works with Outlook to filter junk e-mail from Hotmail and MSN Mail accounts.

More details on these and other features can be found in a 220-page paper or electronic PDF manual. For example, Product Activation1 is described as "a technology that protects users from pirated or counterfeit software by limiting use of a product to those users who have acquired the product legitimately. Product activation requires a unique product key for each installation of a product. You must activate the product within 15 days of installing it." Users of WinXP will recognize this requirement.

Just in case you are curious: If the program is uninstalled, then reinstalled, users do not have to rekey the product key, and if a user uninstalls for installation on another computer, then there should be no problems. If there are any issues regarding a reinstallation, technical support could be called, likely on a "fee-waived" basis. My impression is that Symantec does not want to make activation an onerous task, while at the same time, it's reminding users of the need to properly acquire/use their software.

Norton SystemWorks 2004 (Symantec)

Norton SystemWorks 2004 includes Norton AntiVirus, Norton Utilities (to maintain and repair systems), Norton Password Manager (to securely manage Windows and Internet passwords), Norton GoBack Personal Edition (this reminds me of the System Restore feature of WinXP) and Norton CleanSweep (to track and remove programs, with the Pro version also including Norton Ghost for hard disk cloning for back-up/restore purposes).

The integrated nature of NSW is particularly appealing, and it comes with a 300-plus-page paper or electronic manual.

There are also stand-alone versions of Norton AntiVirus and AntiSpam. Recently, Symantec acquired PowerQuest of PartitionMagic and Drive Image fame. It will be interesting to see what happens with Drive Image vs. Norton Ghost, as they are similar products. Earlier acquisitions by Symantec such as Norton, Central Point Software (PC Tools) and QuarterDeck have seen some product integration, such as CleanSweep into Norton SystemWorks.

System Mechanic 4 (iolo technologies)

iolo technologies recently released a new version of its integrated system utility, System Mechanic 4. It includes Internet-related tools such as protection against spyware and malware, a clutter cleaner, network speed booster, pop-up ad and browser history eliminator as well as tools designed for one's computer system.

System tools include a disk and memory defragger, Windows start-up manager, a tool to clean up error-producing and duplicate files and drivers, and a system maintenance scheduler. It also includes utilities to customize hidden Windows settings, find and fix broken Windows shortcuts, search and remove invalid uninstallers, and securely delete sensitive files, documents, etc.

System Mechanic 4 offers Panda3 Anti-Virus protection from viruses, worms and Trojans as well as providing integrated e-mail protection and a secure Internet firewall. The Search and Recover feature helps recover deleted files and folders, deleted or lost e-mail, and deleted photos and music. Also, it can help those using hard drives, CDs and DVDs to store back-ups; automatic/unattended data protection can be scheduled.

A couple of other potentially useful features are found in System Mechanic 4: System Shield Pro is designed to remove sensitive information, while DriveScrubber Pro can wipe data from any hard or floppy drives if necessary after a virus attack or system corruption, or before donating, selling or giving away drives.

SystemSuite 5 (V Communications)

There are a number of new/enhanced features in VCOM's SystemSuite 5, including VirusScanner Pro from Trend Micro (updated engine) to keep systems from being infected by viruses, etc., while NetDefense personal firewall from Sygate (another good name) protects systems from hackers/intruders. PCDiagnostics now covers USB, Firewire, DVD drives and network cards with improved analysis under WinXP. I've found RegistryFixer to be good and it now has a "Protect Keys" option that allow users to flag special issues to be ignored on future uses of RegistryFixer.

The Rescue CD, a part of the Installation CD (or make your own, if you've downloaded SystemSuite), is a self-booting utility that can help solve system problems, while a 52-page PDF Emergency Response Manual is improved and updated for WinXP. The Recovery Commander can be used to restore critical components back to a known working time, and data can be transferred to a CD-R or USB drive without depending on Windows.

Two other new features from third-party vendors are intriguing: GhostSurf4 provides anonymous Web surfing, while MailWasher Anti-Spam offers an antispam system to automatically remove and bounce junk mail back to the sender.

SystemSuite 5 sports some other changes:
* MediaVerifier and MediaScan for virus scans expand FloppyVerifier and FloppyScan to include other removable media.
* SMARTDefender now is called SMARTCheck and offers the same functionality.
* Crashproof has been removed, since Win95 no longer is supported.
* PowerDesk Pro 4, which was not WinXP-compatible, has been replaced with one of my favorite file managers, PowerDesk 5.

PentaSuite 7 (PentaWare)

A recent discovery, PentaSuite, offers some of the same functionality as the other suites plus some new and different features that may make your computer life easier.

At the heart of PentaWare is the nicely designed PentaWare Manager which gives access to the various programs in the suite as well as access to Advanced Options, the Help Files, and to the PentaWare Web site. While users can use the programs without the Manager, it does provide a convenient way for users to: manage compressed (zipped) files/archives, view and edit files, encrypted (protect) files, copy files to a CD or DVD, create photo albums in HTML or PDF format, convert files from one format to another, and e-mail files. A new product under the Tools section of the Manager is called PentaRename for bulk renaming of files.

PentaZip 7 is, apparently, the core product on which PentaSuite is built and can be purchased separately. Version 5.1 received an Editor's Choice award from ZDNet It can be used to manage compressed files/archives by creating new ones, modifying existing ones, extracting files or just viewing them; and, although the program refers to the most common form of compressing or "zipping" files, it can handle many other forms including ARC, ARJ, LHA, LZH, RAR, and Zoo which some readers may recall from the days of DOS computing. PentaZip also offers ZGB (ZipGigaByte) and ZIP64 compression which allows users to create/extract archives larger than 4GB as well as compressing single files that are larger than 2GB.

PentaZip includes a Shell (menu options) when a user "right button mouse clicks" on a file while PentaSFX is used to create self-extracting files. Such files can be useful or problematic if they are e-mailed to a colleague: useful if the recipient doesn't have a program to uncompress the file, while problematic if the recipient's Internet Service Provider (ISP) deletes all files with an *.exe extension assuming they are viruses. Other PentaZip features include Scripts and a Scheduler which provides unattended running of scripts, batch files, and other programs including recurring events.

PentaPGP is the interface for PGP encryption with other settings (AES, Blowfish, Serpent, TDES, DES, Mars with Hash - Sha and Haval and 160 512 bit encryption) found in the Advanced Options section. The PentaSend Wizard helps users encrypt files using PGP, upload, e-mail or save to a hard drive, CD, or DVD. Users can also use the simple encryption/decryption found in PentaZip.

PentaBrowser works something like Windows Explorer and my longtime favorite file manager, PowerDesk. PentaBrowser has a number of associated tools including PentaView, PentaConverter, PentaCollector, PentaHTML, and Copy Files to a CD or DVD. Here is a brief description of these tools:
* PentaView - can reportedly show/examine files in more than 120 different formats.
* PentaConverter - converts files from one format to another.
* PentaCollector - select files for a CD/DVD, compressing, e-mail, and so on.
* PentaHTML - create photo albums for web posting, CD burning or e-mailing, plus a number of new features have just been added including a preview of the Photo Album inside the Program, better management of templates, and editing by using installed HTML editors.
* PentaFTP - upload/download files from sites using File Transfer Protocol; and
* PentaDVD - make CD/DVDs (including from the command line with strong encryption) which is useful for batch-file backing-up data.

Law firms should find PentaDVD useful for backups, data salvaging, digital photography storage and viewing in court as well as other presentations. Multi-volume compressed archives can be stored on a CD, DVD or the hard drive, and large files can be split across multiple CD/DVDs. "It supports all major optical media formats currently available (CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW) and works with all recent standard models of CD and DVD burners. It even supports numerous anti-buffer under-run/overrun methods including 'burn proof'."

Final Thoughts

When you look at Norton SystemWorks and Norton Internet Security, you will notice some duplication in that Norton AntiVirus is found in both products. My choice, assuming that only one is possible, would be Norton Internet Security, given that the components in Norton Utilities haven't changed (much) in the last couple of versions, so you already may have something useful on your system. Ideally, one is using either Windows 2000 or Windows XP, given their considerable stability.

While Internet security is now more of an issue from Net-borne viruses as well as hacker attacks thus my leaning toward Norton Internet Security over Norton SystemWorks today, one can have system utilities, antivirus protection and an Internet firewall in a single suite such as System Mechanic 4 or SystemSuite 5.

So here's the dilemma: Both SM4 and SS5 seem quite good and equal in most ways, although one may, at first glance, seem to have a few more functions mentioned in its main menu . . . which could be more of a function of how things are organized. Now, if Norton combined SystemWorks with Norton Internet Security, then it really would be a coin toss. User satisfaction, in my view, probably would be high with any choice.

However, if you need a set of utilities designed for very specific functions, then have a look at PentaSuite. These are not general service utilities such as those which are primarily designed for trouble-free computing; rather, these nicely integrated utilities are designed for managing archived (zipped) files, encryption, file viewing, DVD/CD creation, and FTP transfers.

Overall I like what the PentaSuite offers, especially its support for many different types of archive, encryption, and file formats. There is support for format conversion as well as integration with one's antivirus program. When I tested the speed/compression of PentaZip, I found it fast and offering good compression. I used PentaViewer, as well as a couple of other viewers, to successfully look at a variety of files; unfortunately none could handle a Canon photo file with a *.PSF extension although PentaBrowser and PentaView can handle Canon Raw Format (CRW) as well as a number of other digital photography files. It is likely more formats will be supported given PentaWare's openness to suggestions and ongoing program development.

What is a user to do?

Here is what I'd suggest: Stay with what you have, assuming you have one of these three general service utility suites unless you are unhappy. However, if you don't have one of these suites or if you are unhappy, then download an evaluation copy (if one is available) and give it a test run. At the time of writing this article, iolo was offering a 30-day free trial of SM4 and SM4 Pro, while VCOM seems not to offer a trial version (but does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee), and Symantec offers a 30-day trial on Norton Internet Security but not on Norton SystemWorks. PentaWare offers a fully functional 30 day demo.

For more information, visit Symantec at, iolo technologies at, V Communications at, and PentaWare at

Portions of this article have appeared in The Lawyer's PC newsletter, which is published in the United States by Thomson-West

Buy Norton Utilities $5 - re Norton Utilities - Scam (Windows XP Discussion Forum)

Amen, brother, amen. This is an old "Norton's" trick and they have been getting away with it for far too long. I try to find alternatives to their products for just that reason. I am glad too see that others have noticed this discusting business practice and I hope that somebody does something about it. For now, how about a boycott? You got one member, right here (and for life). I remember when Peter Norton's name stood for quality. That day, sadly, has passed us. I'll start: I will not be purchasing NU2001. You can break my ribs, but I won't buy it... Next?

Printer friendly version for Norton SystemWorks 2004 Professional - ZDNet Reviews

CNET editor's review

Reviewed by ; Barry Brenesal
Reviewed January 13, 2004

This year, Norton SystemWorks Professional has added a few new components, including a full edition of Norton Ghost 2004, a new benchmark and diagnostic tool, and a process viewer similar to the Windows Task Manager. Because it also includes Norton Utilities, new users won't go wrong with SystemWorks 2004 Professional as their basic utility package. But if you already own SystemWorks, this year's improvements just aren't enough to justify the $40 upgrade price, given that much of the package remains unchanged. And more-advanced users should instead buy Iolo Technologies' System Mechanic 4.0 Professional for tools that really get under the hood in Windows OSs without draining system resources.

Setup and interface

Installing or reinstalling Norton SystemWorks 2004 Professional isn't easy and could be time-consuming. We first tried to upgrade from SystemWorks 2003 and lost all of our previous settings in the process. Next, we removed SystemWorks completely and chose the full installation. The SystemWorks uninstall worked without a problem; however, when we tried to create a profile name in the new Norton Password Manager utility, the program insisted the name--the same used during our partial installation--was a duplicate. After consulting Symantec, we edited the system registry to remove the prior installation information not removed during the standard SystemWorks uninstall process.

The main SystemWorks menu, which lets you choose among disk cleanup and repair utilities, is easy to navigate. A separate Options menu lets you control which utilities run in the background upon start-up and how each of these utilities behaves. Unfortunately, even after turning off all memory-resident utilities (Password Manager, Virus Auto-Protect, Smart Sweep, and so on), we found that SystemWorks continued to load several memory-hogging executables at start-up. To turn these off, we had to access the Startup file under Windows' System Configuration. Even then, one executable, SYMLCSVC, continues to run in the background whenever you boot your system. SYMLCSVC is part of a central licensing service designed to prevent software piracy. It serves no other purpose and can't be turned off unless you use a third-party memory manager.

Finally, SystemWorks 2004 Professional loads perceptibly slower than its predecessors. On several different computers and operating systems we tested informally, our loading times (without any of the package's utilities running in the background) were two to three times longer than SystemWorks 2003's.


SystemWorks continues to provide antivirus, disk-defragmentation, registry-repair, backup, and file-cleanup tools in its latest version. New to SystemWorks is Norton AntiVirus (NAV) 2004's ability to detect potential viral threats in compressed Windows 2000 and XP file archives--a welcome development. In addition, NAV now treats spyware and adware as it does viruses, allowing these programs to be quarantined or deleted. We're glad Norton has chosen to include this feature, but we find its implementation lacking. Some shareware applications come with a small spyware element, and utilities such as Lavasoft's Ad-aware let you quarantine individual elements while running the main program. NAV doesn't, meaning your shareware simply won't run.

This time around, SystemWorks includes Norton Password Manager (NPM) 2004, which stores address and credit card-related information. The utility automatically detects field types while browsing online and offers the personal information you've filled out in advance. For example, NPM stores and retrieves username and password fields used in applications and on Web sites and supplies them the next time you access the application or Web site. But, unlike other password managers, NPM caches usernames and passwords only as you enter them; these fields cannot be edited.. NPM stores its information under a series of user-defined, password-protected profiles.

SystemWorks 2004 Professional includes Norton Ghost 2004, a backup app that allows users to recover damaged files quickly and easily. There's also a new performance test that allows power users to benchmark the performance of their PC, and a Process Viewer, which diagnoses system conflicts or performance issues.


Service and support

Phone support for SystemWorks remains excessively expensive: $29.95 per call or $2.95 per minute. As there's no weekend phone technical support, you'll have to plan all of your technical problems to occur between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday. The online support is a little better: Symantec's support Web site supplies a host of free information about current viruses. Still, we think Symantec could afford to provide better support for its products.

Norton Utilities 3.0

Norton Utilities is a set of programs designed to keep the user's system running in peak performance. It detects, prevents and repairs hardware and software problems; protects against system crashes; optimizes performance; and carries out preventative maintenance. Version 3.0 is the 11th update and was created for the 32 bit environment of Windows 95.

User Level

Beginners, intermediate, and advanced PC users. Norton's clean and easy to use interface make it appropriate for beginners; yet it is also thorough enough for more advanced users.

New and Enhanced Features

Versions 3.0 is a major update for Norton Utilities with enhanced features as well as some new programs. Below is a brief outline of new and enhanced features.




New to Version 3.0 is the Utilities Integrator, which is a control panel for all the features, thus the utilities are organized and easily accessible for use from one location or you can just chose one from the start button or System Doctor. Norton uses medical metaphors for some of its functions, as if you had a doctor in the house. Actually, with all that Norton Utilities does, I felt that I had a hospital staff.

Utilities Integrator does an excellent job of providing easy access to all the utilities. Its design is a panel which is divided into two partitions, the left side of the screen showing four ways Norton aids your system: Find and Fix Problems; Improve Performance; Preventative Maintenance; and Troubleshoot. The right partition shows the programs used in each category. Along the bottom are buttons for LiveUpdate, Options, and Help. The integration of graphics and clearly labeled explanations for items makes it very intuitive. Below is a brief description of features and my comments as to efficiency.

Find and Fix Problems has five features.

  1. WinDoctor–checks your Windows 95 system for problems. You can check your entire system or an individual part. WinDoctor shows you a list of problems, level of severity, a detailed description of each problem, and an offer to fix those problems. It found more problems than other programs and fixed 100% of them. Excellent.

  2. CrashGuard–this is a memory-resident utility that runs in the background to intercept programs that crash. CrashGuard did work on some occasions but was not 100% successful in preventing my computer from freezing up, which it does do, periodically. It did help in partially unfreezing it sometimes so that I could save the program, but still the program would not perform all its functions until I rebooted. I did not find it any more or less successful than other programs as none of them seem to be perfect.

  3. DiskDoctor–diagnoses and repairs problems with your disk. It checks Partition table, Boot record, File structure, Directory structure, Compressed Disk, and performs a Surface test. The Surface test took the longest. Another fast and effective tool. I had a few problems that DiskDoctor found and fixed automatically. Very thorough.

  4. UnErase Wizard–recovers your erased files. Gives you much more protection than the Recycle Bin. It gives you a list of all deleted files. You can use specific file names or different words in a file if you cannot remember a name to search for a file. I deleted some files and then retrieved them. Another very welcome feature.

  5. File Compare–compares different versions of your files. I used this function to view files when I had two versions on my system. It puts files side by side for comparison and tells you which is the newest. Worked very well.

Improve Performance has three features.

  1. Speed Disk–optimizes your PC's disk to improve performance. It reorders the files and folders so files open faster and defragments the Windows swap file. Again, very fast and efficient.

  2. Optimization Wizard–fine tunes your PC to make applications load faster. It optimizes the swap file, the Registry, and how applications load into memory. Some users had trouble with this feature when Norton Utilities was first released. Since then there has been a patch, and personally, I had no problems with this feature. It worked very well. My system did run better after.

  3. Space Wizard–creates more disk space by finding unneeded files. It gives you a list of files you can delete, compress, or move. I am very careful with a function such as this. I thoroughly check the files before I delete them. You can do an Express search which only selects files from the Recycle Bin and Temporary files and folders, or you can do a comprehensive search which looks also at large files, duplicates, and commonly discardable files. The User Guide has a caution statement that Space Wizard identifies files that may be candidates, emphasis on may. I thought this was helpful because in some programs they don't really stress this fact. One criticism is that Space Wizard organized files in categories where you could mark the files you wanted to change, except for Recycle Bin and Temporary files. All of these files were marked for change. I had quite a few and did not want most of them changed so I had to spend an inordinate amount of time unmarking files. Otherwise Space Wizard is a good tool to have if you are careful with it.

Preventative Maintenance has four features.

  1. System Doctor–continuously monitors your computer for problems. This is the panel of sensors that run in the background and identify pending problems, and sound an alert when they detect a potential problem. You can load System Doctor with Windows. You have the choice of which sensors are included in the panel. You can also manually trigger a detection program to update a sensor. I like this feature. When you are alerted to a problem, you can chose to fix it or ignore it, or tell the panel to remind you at another time.

  2. Rescue Disk–saves and restores your PC's critical setup data. I made a Rescue Disk using three diskettes. Didn't try the Zip drive feature. Then rebooted from a disk to see if it would work and it did. No problem. When you make critical changes to your system, the System Doctor will alert you to update your Rescue Disk. Sometimes it seemed like a bother to be reminded, but actually it is one of those functions we tend to let go, and it is important, and the prompting helped.

  3. Image–saves a "snapshot" of your disk's critical information. This is an internal program used by other Norton programs. Doesn't do anything directly to comment on.

  4. Registry Tracker–tracks and restores changes made to critical files. I used it to track a file, made changes and then restored it to its prior state. Again, worked well.

Troubleshoot had three features.

  1. System Information–Reviews useful information about your PC. It provides you with a list of everything and anything you would want to know about your system. Excellent. Very comprehensive.

  2. Registry Editor–navigates and edits the Windows Registry. I made some minor changes to the Registry. I had no problems. Again, this is one of those features that you need to be careful with. It is not a feature to be used by beginners but only users with a very thorough knowledge of Windows and the Registry.

  3. Web Services–Web-based utilities to enhance your PC with Norton Utilities updates and third-party updates. I do not have the patience or time to look for and keep up with all the updates and patches. The service Norton's LiveUpdate Pro performs is invaluable. It was easy to sign up for the free 6 months. The interface is clear and intuitive. The updates are divided into three categories: software, hardware, and shareware/freeware. You can download and at the same time install a program or just download a program and install it later. If you just download and save, it is faster and you can download more than one file at a time. I chose to download and install. Each file is listed with size, version, and amount of time to download. Norton downloads a file, puts it in a temporary folder, unzips it if necessary, and then installs it in the appropriate place. There were quite a few files to be updated, about two hours worth. Some downloads took approximately one minute. Others took up to 45 minutes. LiveUpdate tells you if you need to reboot your computer after each install and gives you the choice to reboot immediately or later. I waited until I had downloaded everything first. After you download a file, the reference is eliminated from the screen. I would have liked to print out a list of files but that is not available. When I did reboot, the computer hung-up, but considering the amount of files I downloaded and installed that was understandable.

    Minor complaints. LiveUpdate doesn't distinguish between minor upgrades. For instance, it indicated that I needed to upgrade my Diamond Viper V330 video card. The upgrade version was an older version,, and my version was And with Netscape it provided me with a version 4.07 for an upgrade when I have 4.50b2, which is a beta copy, which might explain this problem. It also left some files in a temporary folder that were already installed. These are minor things. LiveUpdate gives you an idea of what is out there and you can pick and chose what to install. It is a good idea to have a list of your current versions before you start and to check them against upgrade versions, but all in all it is more efficient for someone else to go looking for those updates.

Personal Comments

Usually when I review a new program, I first start with an extensive review of the manual and demos. I had just review Quarterdeck's RealHelp, a program similar to Norton Utilities, and I decided to take a different approach. I had briefly used Norton a long time ago and mainly to retrieve lost files, so I was not really up-to-date or that familiar with the program. A few friends had raved about it and how easy it was to use, so I wanted to test how intuitive it really was.

I just perused the User Guide to see if there was anything special to know about installing. Spent about one minute, and then installed the program. From then on, I took a back seat while Norton took over. Immediately I was informed that there were updates to Norton Utilities and it downloaded and updated my files with no problem. It took about 20 minutes, though, so you need to plan for this. After updating Norton, I was informed that there were also antivirus updates that I could download at the moment or later. I downloaded these updates also. This download did not take as long. Then I was informed that I had Windows problems and Norton gave me choice of checking them at that time or later. WinDoctor checked my system. I had 68 Invalid Active X/Com Entries; 1 Invalid Application Path; and 11 Invalid File Extensions. Norton fixed all of them. This was impressive as I had just reviewed and used Quarterdeck's RealHelp right before I installed Norton Utilities to check my system. RealHelp had not detected any of these problems. Also even though RealHelp was efficient at detecting and solving problems it rarely repaired all of them when there were so many. All of this updating and detection was very automatic, done with little or no prompting from me except to indicate whether I wanted to perform these functions at the time or later.

Next I focused on the System Doctor. Remember, I had not read the book, so at that point I really didn't know what System Doctor was or did, but I just went to each tab on its panel, clicked, brought up the utility and let it do its thing. Everything was straightforward. All graphics were clearly labeled so there was no guessing. Norton led me through each procedure step-by-step and explained what tasks were being performed. After performing these tasks my system ran significantly better. By the end of this process, I felt that I knew the program, and I hadn't even looked at the Help menu or the User Guide.

After this initial test to see how intuitive Norton Utilities was I did read the User Guide which is about 100 pages. Not much there. Looked at the five short demos: Disk Doctor, System Doctor, WinDoctor, Rescue Disk, and Speed Disk. The demos were straight forward and easy to understand. There is a movie on the CD but I could not get it to work. I had trouble with the movie for RealHelp, so maybe it is my machine. I then proceeded to test other features in the Utilities Integrator and have commented on their effectiveness already.

It seems that every new program on the market nowadays is said to be intuitive, easy to use, but I find very few that really live up to my expectations. Norton Utilities did. I thought it had one of the most well-organized and clear interfaces of programs that I had used.

In comparison to Quarterdeck's RealHelp, I feel that it did not put that program to shame, but instead indicated how good RealHelp was for a first generation product as it already has many of the features that Norton Utilities has and it has taken Norton eleven versions to accomplish its present state. I just liked Norton Utilities interface and intuitiveness better. It was more automatic than RealHelp. It just fixed things, and I didn't have to make that many decisions. I feel that they are both valuable programs.

Wish List

A full system check that you can initiate with one button similar to RealHelps.
The ability to print a list of updates in LiveUpdate Pro.
The ability to unmark multiple files in Space Wizard.

System Requirements

Operating System: Windows 95
Processor: 486 or higher
Memory: 8MB RAM (16MB recommended)
Hard Disk Space: 45MB disk space (35 for compact installation)
Hardware: 256 color VGA resolution
2X CD ROM drive or higher
Zip Drive optional

Other Goodies

The CD includes free trialware versions of Norton Antivirus and Norton Uninstall Deluxe.

Technical Support

Web Site: The site offers upgrades and information that is useful. Technical department was easy to reach and helpful.

The price is $79.00. You can purchase an upgrade for $59.00. There is a free 6 month subscription for LiveUpdate Pro. After that it is $29.95 per year.

The Norton Utilities 8.0 by Tom Campbell

The Norton Utilities 8.0. (disk/file management software) (Productivity Choice) (Software Review) (Evaluation)

If you left The Norton Utilities behind when you left DOS and opened Windows, it's time to renew an old acquaintance. Symantec's evergreen Norton Utilities--a PC disk repair standard for a decade or so--is making a graceful transition into the Windows world.

Reviewing The Norton Utilities 8.0 came at an opportune time for me. I was writing a program that uses three similar animated icons, all based on the same picture. DOS was confused about the location of one of the files. The installation process, normally speedy, halted itself almost before it started, explaining correctly that the DOS file allocation table on drive C was damaged. It suggested I use Norton Disk Doctor on the aptly named Emergency disk to diagnose and correct the problem. I did so, and NDD quickly found the culprits--two TMP files that I knew I could safely delete. I was then able to continue the installation, this time passing the rigorous hard disk check. I gratefully loaded all 9MB of The Norton Utilities, although I could've installed only those I selected.

The Windows utilities include Norton Disk Doctor, the centerpiece of the collection; Speed Disk, a hard disk efficiency expert; System Watch, a stay-on-top utility that allows you to monitor everything from available drive space to free graphics resources; File Compare, which shows graphically the differences between two text files (for example, the differences between AUTOEXEC.BAK and AUTOEXEC.BAT); INI Tracker, which lets you keep track of changes to Windows INI files; INI Tuner, which gives you an amazingly easy way to view and learn about a wide variety of those mysterious INI files that proliferate so abundantly; INI editor, a vast improvement on the benighted SysEdit; and INI Advisor, a dynamite help program that coordinates the other Norton INI applications and gives you tons of handy Windows tips. Those are just the Windows utilities.

The DOS tool set is wonder-fully familiar to grizzled vets. It includes Disk Doctor; System Info, which gives pages and pages of information about your computer system; Change Directory, a supercharged replacement for DOS's opaque CD command; the ever-handy FileFind, which lets you locate a file or files on the hard disk, find out how much disk space they consume (and how efficiently the disk uses that space), and even search for text within those files; Diskreet, a disk security program; DUPDISK, a great disk-duplicating utility that lets you copy a disk on the same drive without disk swapping; File Fix, which tries to repair corrupted Excel, dBASE, WordPerfect, and other files; NDOS, an infinitely superior replacement for COMMAND.COM; Batch Enhancer, which gives batch files a streamlined, professional finish; and more. They're all tied together with Norton Integrator, but they work equally well on their own.

Speed Disk performs a task that's far more complicated to describe than it is to execute. Seldom having room on a hard disk to put an entire file in one location, DOS can be forced to move all over the disk when accessing a single file--a process that can cause noticeable lags as your files become more and more fragmented.

Speed Disk analyzes the disk and figures out how to reshuffle the fragments so they're closer together, speeding up your hard disk and--an important fringe benefit--helping protect against data loss. This used to take hours and was paradoxically dangerous: The very act of rearranging your disk meant that if your computer lost power or you accidentally rebooted during defragmentation, the disk could be rendered unusable.

Speed Disk for Windows analyzed my 200MB drive in just a few minutes; a complete defragmentation took only about an hour. Better, it worked its magic as I used Windows and DOS in the background. Speed Disk can be safely interrupted, and despite its blinding speed, it allowed me to write this review as it did its job.

DUPDISK is a classic Norton utility, performing a single, apparently simple task so well that you're almost surprised that it's not already part of DOS. If you have two identical floppy drives, DOS makes copying a floppy disk fairly painless. The problem is that most machines have either a single 3 1/2-inch drive or a 3 1/2-inch drive and a 5 1/4-inch drive--and Diskcopy won't work across dissimilar media. If your machine is thus configured and you want to make a copy of a 3 1/2-inch disk, you have to employ an old DOS hack in which the single drive literal-mindedly does the work of two, forcing you into innumerable disk swaps.

DUPDISK takes a much more straightforward approach. It copies the entire disk image into RAM, asks you to insert the destination disk, and then creates a copy in one pass. Depending on how much you rely on floppies, DUPDISK alone could be worth the price of admission. It eliminates the tedious, time-consuming disk swapping that can really bog down your copying time.

The NDOS replacement for COMMAND.COM boasts a staggering 200 commands, but it mercifully loads itself into high memory, making its DOS footprint smaller than COMMAND.COM's. If you're an infrequent visitor to the DOS command line, you'll probably get by just fine without NDOS. But NDOS will be a dream come true if you're a Luddite like me, who wonders why DOS has never provided commands to accept input in batch files or let you change both disk and directory in a single command, use subroutines in batch files, move a file to a different directory, and so on. I took to NDOS instantly, disappointed only when I used machines at work that didn't have it.

Batch Enhancer is unrelated to NDOS, but it offers some of the same features to users who are running only COMMAND.COM, not NDOS. It lets you create interactive, flashing, beeping batch files with a minimum of fuss--and it can do a great deal with just a few commands. Some of the sample scripts are elaborate and quite handy to use. Batch Enhancer was developed separately from NDOS, so some of their functions overlap; this can be a source of confusion to the novice.

The Norton Utilities is a class act, well worth the $179 list price if your job depends on PCs. From the superlative installation program to the manuals to the online help and the programs themselves, The Norton Utilities exudes skill, reliability, and craftsmanship. The utilities are fast where they need to be, conservative where they need to be, and insistent where they should be.

The online help and screen prompts still have the preternatural lucidity that made Peter Norton a player, but they do miss a few tricks. There are many places in the DOS utilities documentation in which short batch files illustrate a particular tool at work. It seems like missed marketing opportunities that these batch files don't use Batch Enhancer to display a dialog if a file is missing, for example, and that they aren't written in the vastly extended batch language NDOS provides. My pet peeve is that NDOS is only documented online--you have to pay extra for a manual. Granted, only a small number of Norton users rely on NDOS, but if it comes with the product, it ought to be adequately documented.

In all, however, you'll find you simply can't go wrong if you buy The Norton Utilities 8.0. And you may very well go wrong if you don't.

NDOS: more than your regular DOS. (Symantec Corp's Norton Utilities 6.0) (Software Review) (Tech Section)(includes related article on NDOS highlights) (Evaluation) by Gilliland, Steve

December 1, 1991 |

Copy and paste this link tag into your Web page or blog:

<a href="" title="NDOS: more than your regular DOS. (Symantec Corp's Norton Utilities 6.0) (Software Review) (Tech Section)(includes related article on NDOS highlights) (Evaluation) | HighBeam Research">NDOS: more than your regular DOS. (Symantec Corp's Norton Utilities 6.0) (Software Review) (Tech Section)(includes related article on NDOS highlights) (Evaluation)</a>

When Peter Norton passed off his Utilities to Symantec earlier this year, a tiny undercurrent of unvoiced speculation wondered if Peter's highly regarded DOS tricks, fixes, and magical remedies might lose some of their home-cooked flavor. No need to worry: A single feature of Symantec's Norton Utilities 6.0--NDOS--is worth the price of the whole package. NDOS is so comprehensive that this entire article is devoted to it.

Born in 1989 as 4DOS, a shareware program from developer JP Software, it recently was licensed to Symantec, where the name changed, various enhancements were added, and NDOS became an official part of Norton Utilities 6.0. Although NDOS is commercial software, the original 4DOS is still offered as stand-alone shareware by JP Software.

Working with DOS versions 2.1 and above, NDOS replaces COMMAND.COM, while retaining all "features" of DOS. The old DOS internal and external commands--most of them enhanced--are still present. But NDOS offers more than 90 internal commands (compared to the 30-plus of DOS). Almost all fall in the category of "Why didn't they do it that way in the first place?" improvements over DOS.

NDOS unabashedly presents the C:> command line and hands the user enough tools to turn DOS into what it should have been originally: an operating system that works with the user instead of against him.

Can it move a group of files to another directory? Absolutely. Comprehensive editing of the command line? Multiple commands? Temporary environmental setups? Sure. Point-and-shoot selection of files for commands to work on? No problem. IF/THEN/ELSE conditional syntax? Piece of cake. NDOS may be good enough to put your old shell program in forced retirement and take you back to the command line.

NDOS is a shell, but unlike secondary "shells" such as Norton Commander, 1Dir, MS-DOS SHELL command (whose job it is to …

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