Norton SystemWorks is a suite of diagnostic and utility programs for personal computers running Microsoft Windows which is published by Symantec, which incorporates the well-known Norton Utilities package. This, the latest version (as of this writing) dispenses with some of the older items and introduces some new functionality that was previously sold seperately.
Norton Utilities

Crashguard has been removed (due it being completely useless on Win9x, and obsolete on Windows NT platforms), as has Speed Start (the functionality of which has been included in all post-98 Windows OSes by default).

The disk-defragger Speed Disk is, again, much faster and more configurable than the very basic defragger that comes bundled with Windows. You can now specify files or wildcards that should be placed at the start or the end of the disk. The disk map is very pretty and looks less like a corrupted bitmap file in this version. Disk Doctor (the equivalent of ScanDisk) is for all intents and purposes no different from the program it is designed to replace.

System Doctor thankfully is no longer enabled by default, and retains its functionality as being an endlessly tweakable bunch of UI controls to make your desktop look cool rather than anything you really need (not that there's anything wrong with that). Well, unless you really need to know the fragmentation level of your second zip drive in realtime while also displaying the time and temperature in Outer Mongboola, that is.

There is also an unerase wizard (a legacy from the DOS days) and a 'shredder' program to totally delete files (which is brought over from Norton Ghost).

Norton Antivirus

Largely unchanged from previous versions, this AV program contains all the functions that are standard on all the products in this sector. Annoyingly, they have turned their virus definition database into a subscription service. The mammoth database files included on the CD swell the Rescue Disk set to an insane eight 1.44M floppies. Surely not all of these tens of thousands of viruses aren't still a threat?

Norton Cleansweep

Extremely comprehensive disk tidying program, of which very little of interest can be reported. But as I regularly use directory structures over ten levels deep, I am unfamiliar with the concept of a 'tidy disk'.

Norton Ghost

The most exciting new addition to the suite, Norton Ghost allows you to make complete replica copies of your drives. This is something that is always a headache when upgrading or configuring multiple Windows machines, and Ghost cuts through the problem with the minimum of fuss. Slightly annoyingly it still seems to be a DOS-based program, which will scare off some of the users who would benefit the most. The manual it very good though.


Another new addition, WinFax solves the problem of Windows still, ridiculously, not having a Fax program bundled with it. As the facsimile technology is largely obsolete for most users (apart from certain businesses), I have had little opportunity to test it, but assume that it does what it's supposed to. It doesn't seem to warn you that leaving it open and listening for incoming faxes will disable your modem, but that should be obvious anyway (ahem).

Extra Features

This menu contains all the half-hearted attempts to extract more cash from you that are obligatory in commercial software these days. There is a registration and update mechanism, and links to some web applications run by C|NET (Norton Web Services, Expertcity, and XDrive Plus).

Having previously used and been largely satisfied with Norton Systemworks 1.1 for Win9x, I was very keen to have a version which was designed with Windows 2000 in mind, and this package does not disappoint. Of particular note is the way that the suite is now far less 'pushy' and invasive, previous versions having been notorious for their proliferation of TSRs and for being difficult, if not impossible, to uninstall. Symantec seem to have listened to their customers and have made this version of NSW much more unobtrusive.

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