Norton Utilities is a PC system utilities application that’s a mix of good and bad qualities. It does have some decent optimization features, but a majority of its feature set borrows heavily from tools that come with Windows. PC system utilities are most valuable when the manufacturers behind them have created new tools that are faster and more efficient than anything that’s available in Windows. While this application has a good assortment of features, it lacks more original tools.
This application’s Manage Your Startup feature falls short because it doesn’t automatically optimize the applications and processes that are currently assigned to load when your operating system starts up. It also doesn’t provide any information on whether your operating system needs particular applications or processes to function properly. Instead, you have to juggle your system’s startup entries and blindly disable whichever services you think aren’t crucial.
In this PC system utilities application’s Monitor section, you’ll find features for monitoring your system and the registry. The system monitoring feature has sections for keeping track of processes that are currently running, how much memory and CPU power you’re using, and the amount of free space on your hard drive. This feature lets you end processes that are slowing down your computer and optimize your memory and CPU usage.
The Windows Tools section in Norton Utilities is the most underwhelming of any in this PC system utilities application. It’s loaded with shortcuts to Windows features and has a gigantic area of white space at the bottom. None of these features are unique to Norton Utilities and so they add little value to the application. Such unoriginally is especially disappointing when Norton could have easily come up with their own version of each of them.
The registry cleaner in Norton Utilities scans through 11 types of registry keys and then performs a deep overall scan in an effort to find any invalid or erroneous entries. While this number is lower than most registry cleaners, we were pleased with this feature’s depth and effectiveness.
The Clean Your Disks feature was what impressed us the most. It lets you remove traces of your activity within Windows, from various third party applications and on the internet. It also gives you the ability to wipe your hard drive’s free space to remove traces of deleted files. The list of third party software is impressive to say the least. It covers a broader range of applications than we’ve ever seen in a feature like it.
This application’s feature for optimizing Windows services is a little odd. There are two settings – one lets you enable a selection of services to provide a balance between features and functionality, while the other activates the services Windows needs to function properly. We didn’t notice much of a difference between these two settings, and the majority of services this feature listed remained untouched. Luckily, this feature has an option for restoring your services if the changes you make result in a drop in the performance of your system.
The registry defragmenter in this application is a little on the bulky side. This application doesn’t let you do anything else when you’re analyzing the registry. It also requires you to restart your computer in order to actually defragment the registry. Aside from being unusual and a little bit of a hassle, this is a problem because it means you won't be able to monitor the defragmenting process. If this PC system utilities application would let you defragment your registry without having to reboot, it would allow you to see what the application is doing to the registry.
We were disappointed to see that Norton Utilities didn’t have its own disk defragmenter. When you click on the Windows Defragmenter button in the Optimize section, the dialog box that pops up on your screen is for the disk defragmenter that comes with Windows. While this tool gets the job done, it does so at the expense of your ability to do anything else on your computer. We would like to see Norton come up with their own disk defragmenter that doesn’t consume so much system resources and time.
Norton Utilities is a PC system utilities application that has easy-to-use features; however, navigating through its interface can pose some challenges. We would like this application’s interface better if it went back to the main screen when you closed a feature or all of its features opened in one screen without having to send you through a winding maze of windows. As it is, you have to click a back button like you would if you were surfing the internet. This method makes this application’s interface load more quickly, but it doesn’t make navigation easy whatsoever.
On their website, Norton provides its Norton Utilities customers with a handful of answers to questions about issues they may encounter while using this PC system utilities application. If you can’t find your answer in this limited resource, you can chat, call or email their customer service representatives. We were impressed that each of these contact methods beat their promised response times, and their customer service representatives gave us prompt, informative responses. We would’ve preferred to have more online help documentation and a forum reserved for Norton Utilities, though. These two tools would lessen the strain on the customer service representatives.
Norton Utilities could be a better PC system utilities application if it relied less on features that come with Windows and more on tools that Norton itself created. People reach to PC system utilities to find tools that are more efficient and effective than those that already come with Windows. While Norton Utilities does give its users a few features like this, the application's heavy reliance on Windows features detracts from its value.
Norton Utilities has good help and support features and is above average in terms of ease of use.
The feature set needs to be strengthened and beefed up.
This program is good, but it still has a way to go before it is a top PC system utilities software.