Symantec System Works

I must admit that I have always been a fan of the Norton System Tools. Back to the day when Norton Disk Doctor miraculously saved my programming library from a bad-sector-riddled floppy disk, I�ve always had the highest faith in its keeping my system safe and tidy. Heck, it even made Windows 95 somewhat stable for me.

So I had high expectations for Norton Systemworks for XP. And I was not disappointed. It is a veritable treasure trove of security and system tools that will keep you running safe and secure, and prepared for virtually any disaster that your system may fall prey to.

First, let�s look at the protective wear. The System Scan and Firewall are top-notch, catching viruses, Trojans, spyware, cookies and unauthorized reads quite effectively. It also has a wide range of internet security options. Best of all, the features and setting are non-obtrusive: nothing irritates me more than trying to enjoy an internet session while my screen is filled up with my protection-ware advisors, panels and clutter. Perhaps it is not water-tight for any kind of internet attack, but for the purposes of the casual computer user, it offers you all the protection you need, and then some

The Backup System was excellent. Despite being stung many times by not backing up my hard drive, I�ve always shirked from backups, determining what could go on which disk and how to catalogue the data. The Backup takes all the guesswork out of it: you select the backup media source, and away you go. In a few minutes my entire drive was backed up neatly on my secondary hard drive.

The traditional Norton Utilities are present, and they keep up the tradition of smooth, powerful and eye-catching system maintenance. The Windows System Doctor keeps your registry in line (no more rogue ActiveX entries!) and the indexes shipshape. The Norton Disk Doctor, as usual, is as elegant as it is effective. The Speed Disk makes a noticeable improvement in your system access time, and Systemworks also includes a wide variety of diagnostic and benchmarking tools. In fact, it served me well as a handy advisor on what next hardware upgrade would serve me best.

And GoBack is even better. Windows does have a backup image option, but that has always been dicey at best for me (for instance, the machine must be able to start Windows to even use it). GoBack is integrated into the system startup so that you can go back to a previous session even if Windows startup got crippled. Very powerful, and very useful!

The only downside is the sizeable memory requirements, especially for the System Scan. If you have a lot of things cooking, it can slow things down fast. Also, the system places a Norton Access Bar next to your System Tray � again, it annoys me when a system takes such liberties with my desktop.

But these are minor squabbles, compared to the cornucopia of utilities provided. I have not yet had an opportunity to delve into the full sum of features, such as the INI trackers. However, the functionality present makes it a bargain for the price. I highly recommend it! Symantec has once again proved why it is the undisputed king in system tools.

Symantec System Works
Mike Brannon
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