This version of SystemWorks adds program to keep hard drive uncluttered

This version of SystemWorks adds program to keep hard drive uncluttered

SystemWorks 2.0

By John Breeden II

GCN Staff

Symantec Corp. puts everything plus the kitchen sink into the second version of SystemWorks. It has just about every system utility a computer geek could want and a fair amount of good stuff for the average user.

Before Peter Norton's company was bought by Symantec in the 1980s, a Norton Utilities box came with almost two dozen programs that did anything you wanted, from defragmenting and optimizing hard drives to customizing commercial programs using a hexadecimal editor. The whole toolbox fit on one floppy disk.

Its success attracted competitors, and the Norton bundle got progressively smaller and more expensive. New operating systems began to build in similar utilities for free. The art of hex editing got lost. During those dark ages, I rarely bought any utility packages.

When Symantec brought out the first SystemWorks, I was impressed that it had the complete Norton Utilities. But I was skeptical about the second edition of SystemWorks that arrived recently. What else could they cram in?

The answer is CleanSweep. The program keeps your hard drive uncluttered by recording programs as they are added so they can be fully uninstalled later if you wish.

In my tests, CleanSweep worked a lot better than the Microsoft Windows add/remove programs utility, which often overlooks the shortcut icons on the desktop PC.

Naughty by nature

One exceedingly nasty program refused to get off my desktop even though the Windows add/remove program claimed it was gone.

I tried removing it three times. Each time I rebooted, the program-that-would-not-die still popped up like a trick birthday candle. CleanSweep blew it out in short order.

The only problem I found was the same one CleanSweep had before its publisher, Quarterdeck Corp., was bought by Symantec. Programs present before CleanSweep's arrival might not go completely away.

CleanSweep works by recording where everything goes, and it sometimes misses components that preceded it. But it still works far better than the standard Windows removal utility.

Unfortunately Symantec refuses to give users free access to the Norton Web Services part of the package, which is quite helpful. It lets you query a Symantec server to determine what programs and drivers on your computer need updates.

But you get free use of Web Services for only six months.

After that, Symantec charges $30 a year. Considering what the program costs in the first place, I regard this as bad form on Symantec's part.

SystemWorks also includes CrashGuard, another utility created by Quarterdeck. It protects against most 16- and 32-bit crashes, and I tested it extensively when it was still a Quarterdeck product.

Apparently not much of the source code has changed except for the interface to SystemWorks.

When I set off crash-prone Microsoft programs, CrashGuard kept the test system from locking up and restored it. SystemWorks gives you all the core Norton Utilities tools you expect.

Box Score B

Norton SystemWorks 2.0

Symantec Corp., Cupertino, Calif.;

tel. 800-441-7234

www.symantec.com

Price: $69.95

Pros and cons:

+ Large utility suite plus CleanSweep and other Quarterdeck software

' Costs $30 extra per year for Web Services after six months

Real-life requirements:

Windows 9x, 66-MHz 486 or faster processor, 16M RAM, 122M free storage

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