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Norton's 18 programs to find and fix problems
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Dana ShultzSince the earliest days of DOS, the name "Norton" has been synonymous with high-quality utilities. In Version 2.0 of Norton SystemWorks, Symantec ( now provides its best-ever tools to protect users against dangers posed by Windows 95/98 and the Internet.

The bedrock of SystemWorks is Norton Utilities, 18 programs that find and fix problems, improve performance and prevent disasters. My favorite utilities include Speed Disk, WinDoctor and UnErase Wizard.

Speed Disk improves performance by reorganizing the contents of hard drives so files are stored in adjacent disk clusters. It also lays out files so the ones you use the most are available most quickly.

WinDoctor diagnoses and fixes many Windows 95/98 problems, such as those related to software errors, hardware configurations and registry inconsistencies.

Recovering files

UnErase Wizard is today's version of one of the earliest Norton functions, undeleting deleted files. In addition to recovering files from the Windows Recycle Bin, UnErase Wizard can work with Norton Protection to recover files that Windows, itself, cannot protect.

Norton AntiVirus, the second SystemWorks component, has been on my PCs ever since I started my consulting practice seven years ago. Besides protecting against harmful executable programs and Word and Excel macro viruses, the newest version of AntiVirus protects against malicious ActiveX code and Java applets. Every month, I run LiveUpdate, a free service, to download Symantec's latest virus definitions.

Avoiding crashes

I have been using the third component, Norton CrashGuard, for about two years. CrashGuard intercepts system and application crashes and freezes. While it cannot promise a graceful recovery from every problem, CrashGuard helps often enough that I am pleased to have it available.

Norton CleanSweep, the fourth SystemWorks component, is hard drive cleanup software. Right away, its Fast & Safe Cleanup freed 30 megabytes of unnecessarily wasted disk space.

CleanSweep's Program Cleanup monitors software as you install it, keeping track of every file that is added or changed. CleanSweep often can remove a monitored program more thoroughly than the program's own uninstall routine can.

Norton Web Services, priced at $29.95 per year (the first six months are free), rounds out SystemWorks. Web Services takes an inventory of your PC hardware and software, then connects to the Norton Update Library to download new program updates and hardware drivers. I have not been using Web Services, because upgrading software is one of my least favorite activities, one I put off until it is absolutely necessary.

Current discount

When Symantec introduced SystemWorks 2.0, the list price was $99.95 ($59.95 for current users of Norton products). However, Symantec announced a price reduction, effective May 15 through Sept. 30, offering a version priced as low as $39.95 after a $20 rebate.

At this price, SystemWorks is a steal. Anyone needing Windows 95/98 utilities and anti-virus software should look no further.

Correction: In my May column about American LegalNet, I stated that "[c]ompeting on-line services [Jurisearch and Netlaw Libraries] provide forms in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. These forms must be printed out, then completed in a separate step (e.g., using a typewriter)." The second sentence is incorrect regarding Jurisearch, which allows users to complete forms on-line. However, unlike American LegalNet, Jurisearch does not allow completed forms to be saved to disk or digitally signed and sent via e-mail.

Dana Shultz is an Oakland-based certified management consultant, speaker and coach specializing in office technology. He may be reached by e-mail at and on the web at