by January 3, 2005 0 comments



Viruses, worms, malware, Windows system problems, performance degradation and system crashes are some problems that most PC users face. To help solve these, Norton SystemWorks 2005 offers several tools and enhances some existing ones (see box for a complete list). 

There are several new components in this version of SystemWorks. System optimizer lets you control Win XP settings, such as Explorer, Desktop, Start menu, Start up programs, Control panel and IE. Some of these settings can actually give a boost to your system’s performance. Connection Keep Alive is meant to prevent your dial-up connection from getting disconnected unexpectedly. It does that by simulating some network traffic after a specified period of time so that the connection does not drop. CheckIt Diagnostics lets you diagnose your hardware for any errors and gives detailed system and hardware
information.

One Button Checkup lets you perform several tests at once

Existing programs have also been enhanced. Norton Anti-virus, for instance, is now integrated and has some good features. It scans incoming and outgoing e-mail as well as instant messages (AOL, MSN, Yahoo). It even offers protection from adware, spyware, dialers, joke programs, hacking tools, etc. For security from Internet threats like worms or Trojans, SystemWorks has a new element called Internet Worm Protection, which is similar to the Windows firewall, but with more advanced features such as Trojan and worm protection signatures, exploit detection, and traffic analysis. Trojan and worm protection protects the system from attacks at the firewall level. Exploit detection prevents worms such as Welchia or Blaster from exploiting OS vulnerabilities. Traffic analysis monitors and detects network traffic for malicious activity.

For advanced data protection and crash recovery, SystemWorks has GoBack, which lets you recover an entire disk in case of a crash. You can even do version-based restore of individual files. The SafeTry mode protects the system during activities that may crash a system, such as program or driver installation. It’s similar to the Windows Restore feature and gives an option of restoring the system back to a safe condition before Windows boots. GoBack reserves some space on your hard disk to store clean system states. If you are running Win XP and Me, it would be better to switch off their built in Windows restore capabilities and use GoBack for the job as it’s far more feature rich.

Another major problem most users face is of unwanted program installations. A program may install another program in the background, which may work as a spyware or adware without the user ever knowing about it. For instance, many people tend to install the KaZaa P2P client, without knowing that it also installs lots of other programs alongside. So when you uninstall KaZaa, these other programs don’t get uninstalled. SystemWorks has a program called the Uninstall Wizard, which gives you complete control over all programs you want to install or uninstall. When you select to uninstall a software, Uninstall Wizard will display & uninstall its other components too.Additionally, it comes with Plug-in and ActiveX cleanup programs, which let you uninstall harmful Internet programs.

Key components 

Norton Utilities. Speed Disk (Disk Defrag), System Doctor, UnErase Wizard, Disk Doctor, WinDoctor, WipeInfo

Norton Anti-Virus.
E-mail scanning, Instant messaging scanning, Internet Worm Protection (Firewall New), adware and spyware protection

Norton CleanSweep.
Uninstall Wizard, fast and safe cleanup, Internet uninstall, Plug-in cleanup, ActiveX cleanup, Backup and restore wizard

Norton GoBack.
File and version rescue, post-restore file rescue, disk drive restore, disk drive compare, Safe try restore (New), AutoBack

New elements.
Norton Cleanup, System optimizer, Connection keep alive, CheckIt diagnostics

With such a plethora of programs, SystemWorks is bound to take some toll on your machine’s performance. In fact, its default installation hogs up 35 MB of memory space. So if you run with the minimum 128 MB RAM as specified by SystemWorks in its minimum specs, you’ve had it. If you don’t want to upgrade your RAM, then you have the option of preventing some of its applications from running during startup and hogging memory. 

The bottom line: The product offers a set of tools to keep your system running in peak condition and offers complete data and system protection. For users having previous versions of SystemWorks, this version has several useful features, which can be worth upgrading. 

Anoop Mangla

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