Norton Utilities Ultimate REVIEW
Does PC maintenance give you the jitters? Here’s a nicely priced download that will keep your world running smoothly, writes PAT PILCHER.
Back in the day, one of the most prized 5.25” floppy disks I used with my ageing Kamakuza-Brand-X IBM PC clone was Norton Utilities. It got me out of all sorts of scrapes. Corrupted or deleted files became recoverable, and It kept everything running as swiftly as possible (which on a 4.77mhz IBM XT clone of dubious provenance wasn’t all that fast, but hey, I digress). Now Norton has resurrected Norton Utilities for Windows, and it’s a humdinger.
Would you like to support our mission to bring intelligence, insight and great writing to entertainment journalism? Help to pay for the coffee that keeps our brains working and fingers typing just for you. Witchdoctor, entertainment for grownups. Your one-off (or monthly) $5 or $10 donation will support Witchdoctor.co.nz. and help us keep producing quality content. It’s really easy to donate, just click the ‘Become a supporter’ button below.
Installation was easy. Once I’d downloaded Norton Utilities Ultimate, I entered its product key, and it launched, hitting the ground running by running its first scan, giving me an immediate summary of the carnage on my PC.
It found several thousand issues. Thankfully it was nothing serious and mostly consisted of internet, Windows junk files and several registry issues. I found I could also click a drop-down menu to get more information using the ‘View details in wizard’ to find out what I was wiping off my PC. Clicking ‘Repair all’ saw Norton Utilities Ultimate getting to work. Within minutes my PC was sparkly and running a lot quicker.
With subsequent use, Norton Utilities Ultimate also found several potentially unwanted startup programs. Clicking the review button brought up a list of the offenders and recommendations on what other users had done in the same situation (allow it to stay, disable it or delay its startup). Sorting this out reminded me of how much cruft I’d installed from reviewing products that had long been sent back. Best of all, startup times on my Surface Book noticeably improved.
Looks-wise, Norton Utilities Ultimate appears largely identical to IOLO’s highly regarded System Mechanic utility suite. This is a good thing. I’m a huge a fan of System Mechanic, and having it integrated into my PC’s security suite is a complete no-brainer.
Playing around beyond the automated scan and repair options reveals a load of powerful utilities, most of which are found in the Toolbox option. They’re broken up into a range of easy to navigate utility categories, ranging from cleaning up to protect or speed up, and more. The number of tools available is impressive. These ranged from a disk defragmenter, a memory defragmenter (to free up RAM), an application accelerator and an uninstaller. There’s also a drive scrubber and even access to a super control panel. Everything is labelled in plain English, and where there is the odd bit of geek-speak, pop-up tips help you understand what it all means.
Another category is Automatic Care which keeps everything shipshape in the background. Handily, this means you don’t have to manually launch and run Norton Utilities Ultimate. Then there’s Norton Real-Time Boost, which does real-time optimisation of your processor and RAM to keep your PC running as smoothly as possible.
If PC maintenance gives you hives, Norton Utilities makes the whole process a seamless undertaking that requires little to no intervention. In short, the highly automated design of Norton Utilities Ultimate combines with a minimalist yet intuitive UI to give it that all-too-rare distinction of being equally useful to both novices and experts alike.
Norton Utilities Ultimate is a standalone download, which means that you don’t need to own other Norton Products to use it. It costs a pocket pleasing $39.95 and you get 10 licences, so keeping every PC you own in tip-top shape becomes effortless. That said, the price isn’t an outright purchase, it’s a subscription. This means you get 12 months of use, and you then need to cough up another $39.95 or whatever the price is at that stage.
Norton Utilities Ultimate is packed with everything you will need to keep your PC running like the day it was unboxed. The only thing preventing Symantec from scoring a perfect 10 out of 10 is the subscription pricing model.