Norton Utilities brand revived for Windows XP, Vista

Symantec brings cleanup tools back to life.

Symantec Tuesday announced it has revived the Norton Utilities optimization and cleanup tools for Windows that it folded years ago into a broader package after acquiring Norton.

Symantec product manager Robert Reynolds recalls the early days of DOS computers in the 1980s when Peter Norton first came up with his computer tune-up toolkit, and notes that the world is far more complex now in terms of applications that consumers enjoy, whether it be instant messaging, Skype, Twitter or YouTube.

The release of Norton Utilities for Windows XP and Vista is intended to address the "clutter" on PCs that slows down performance, Reynolds says.

"Multiple tabs in the browser, Twitter, you name it," Reynolds says. "At boot time, when you first turn it on, there's a period of time before it's functional when third-party applications are loading services into memory." Sometimes this clutter can also impact general stability of the PC.

Norton Utilities, which was bundled into Norton SystemWorks following Symantec's buyout of Norton, has two tools for reducing start-up time by reducing memory use through an optimization screen and cleanup features for popular browser applications. The Start-Up Manager, for example, "gives you the opportunity to turn off services from Microsoft you don't use," Reynolds says. Norton Utilities will suggest a few of "the safe ones," Reynolds adds.

Norton Utilities also has a registry cleaner and a process for de-fragmentation. "Files are spread across the hard disk over time," Reynolds says. "We'll group the files so they're all in one spot." Norton Utilities also includes a tool from PassMark to look at CPU and graphics to carry out performance tests to benchmark the system.

These types of cleanup and system optimization utilities help extend the life of computers, Reynolds says.

Norton Utilities, priced at AUD$69.95, is available from Symantec and in retail stores late February.

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