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|News||Filesystems Recovery||History of Norton Utilities||The History of Development of Norton Commander||Cygwin||Microsoft Power Toys|
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History of development of Norton Utilities was moved to History of Norton Utilities
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 NU can be grouped into five broad categories:
Right now probably the best alternative to Norton Utilities is Cygwin. Some useful utilities can be found in Windows Resource Kits
Includes: Norton AntiVirus, Norton Utilities, and Norton GoBack! Also provides CheckIt Diagnostics, System Optimizer, and additional problem-solving tools.
you can try System Mechanic 4 free for 30 days
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 http://reviews-zdnet.com.com/PentaZip_5_1/4505-3513_16-9973536.html?tag=pdtl-list 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'."
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 http://www.symantec.com, iolo technologies at http://www.iolo.com, V Communications at http://www.v-com.com, and PentaWare at http://www.pentaware.com.
Portions of this article have appeared in The Lawyer's PC newsletter, which is published in the United States by Thomson-West http://www.thomason-west.com.
A second choice would be V-COM's Systemsuite. Majority of programs in v.5 are the same as SS4.
The registry editor/optimizer is definitly good! It found over 1000 problems that Norton Utilities missed.
V-com SystemSuite 4.0 review - V-com SystemSuite 4.0 Intro - Utility suites - CNET Reviews
If you don't want to pay for a master craftsman, a jack-of-all-trades may get the job done just as well. V-com SystemSuite 4.0 is just such a generalist, with an impressive array of system utilities that handle everything from antivirus protection to Registry maintenance and system monitoring to crash avoidance. The latest version tosses in the NetDefense personal firewall and scans your e-mail for viruses--both valuable additions. (By comparison, V-com's main competitor, Norton SystemWorks 2002, scans e-mail for viruses but doesn't include a firewall.) SystemSuite doesn't excel at any one task, but it's an excellent value if you're on a limited budget and want an extensive bag of tricks at your disposal. Norton boasts higher quality, but since its personal firewall costs $49.95, SystemSuite offers the most bang for your buck
"SYSTEMSUITE 5- WHAT A LOSER!!"
Conan on 14-Aug-2003 09:53:28 AM
Pros: Nice improvement over SystemSuite 4 with the inital face page. Majority of programs are the same as SS4. The response time from questions sent to the Tech Dept is excellent. I received answers back within 48 hrs via email. Unfortunately, the responses back were not helpful, such as "we have no answer for that problem, we are still investigating a resolution".
Cons: Firewall has a software problem, as confirmed by their Tech Dept. A reboot of the computer, prior to going online needs to be completed first. The firewall will not allow any internet access during the inital startup. SS5 Tech Dept. stated that this is a problem that they are still trying to figure out. Major nuisance! I also noticed that the Cookie Cleaner works incorrectly also. When you click the button to clean away the cookies, nothing happens. I notice that I have to exit the SS5 page and then restart the SS5 homepage and go back to the cookies cleanup section. After doing this it will usually work. Sometimes also, I noticed that the SS5 page will disappear from the monitor screen after clicking the clean button for the cookie cleanup. I would have to restart the SS5 once again and start over. I notice that it is approx 50-50 chance on it working the first time. The added extra, the popup blocker, was a waste. Poor instructions and a constant modification of the rules everytime I go to a new web page that has popups. I strongly feel that this version of SS5 is a dramatic dropoff of SS4 reliablity. I was very unhappy with it. The final problem with this new version, is that the included instruction booklet is approx 4" x 4" in size and the print size is so small, I need to use a magnifying glass to keep from getting a headache. I will be watching for the new version of Norton SystemWorks 2004, hopefully they improved. If so, I may be going back to them.
V-Com's System Suite 5.0 Bundle, April 11, 2004
The quick status of system suite is great, monitors the diferent options and when they were last run and if needed
to be run again or updated....would be nice if the viruscanner would update New Patern Files in the background like
many other vendors... I Give this product "TWO THUMBS UP" I Would definately get the next upgrade. Some People have
had problems,maybe they have not installed the needed patches that v-com offers on their site.
False sense of security., July 31, 2004
I had nothing but problems with the anti virus. When it found viruses, it couldn't remove them (4 out of 4), and instead pointed me to trend micro's web site for information on how to manually delete the affected files and fix the registry. Not a huge deal, because I'm pretty comfortable with this kind of stuff, but many wouldn't be. Also, as someone else mentioned whenever there is an update in virus definitions, you have to reload the whole set. Over dial up this usually meant in excess of 20 minutes. Lastly, I was infected by a keylogging trojan which was trying to send my data to a computer in St Petersburg Russia! The scanner didn't recognize it and all tech support repeatedly told me was not to worry, even though I had unmistakable signs of a break-in. When I asked for a manager, including a copy of the trojan along with the name/description Mcafee had for the trojan (used free online scan), the manager's reply was that they really weren't an anti virus company (they just package it), and I should buy anti virus software from someone else to solve my problem (I wish I was kidding)! I asked again for help, but they just closed my case without responding.
In fairness, the firewall in the suite is very good. In fact, this is what first alerted me to the keylogger. However, I recently learned that it is a tuned down version of what Sygate gives away for free on their web site (non business use). I tried the free Sygate version, and found I like it just a little better (more features). I also learned that you can get a better version of the trend anti virus sw for free from trend's site (The free version actually cleans viruses).
After my fiasco with VCOM and the keylogger, I rebuilt the system and tried the Symantec and McAfee anti virus packages. Symantec froze my system forcing me to reinstall windows (common complaint), and McAfee made me lower my internet security settings in order for it to run. I ended up buying Panda Titanium Antivirus, and couldn't be happier. After all of this, my advice is to download the free Sygate (or if you prefer Zone Alarm) firewall software and back it up with Panda AV. If you aren't comfortable with a free firewall, both will sell you a pro version (I'd try both free ones before buying one). Also, I switched browsers from IE to Mozilla Firefox, and that stopped the viruses and spyware/adware very nicely. The great thing is, it was free, painless to install and start using, and has features I didn't realize IE was missing until I used it.
Buy Norton Utilities $5
Annoyances.org - 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
Reviewed by ; Barry Brenesal
Reviewed January 13, 2004
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.
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.
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