First Look: Symantec's Norton Systemworks 2003

By SmallBusinessComputing Staff | Posted September 04, 2002
Wayne N. Kawamoto
Managing Editor, www.smallbusinesscomputing.com

Symantec Corp., a provider of Internet security, announced Norton SystemWorks 2003, the company's new, problem-solving suite that offers a comprehensive, integrated solution to help keep PCs running at optimal performance levels.

Available for purchase in late-September, Norton SystemWorks 2003 will feature new Web optimization tools and improved antivirus protection. The suite's new Web Tools feature may help users get more out of their online activities by integrating tools that maximize hard drive space and maintain dial-up connections while online. Norton SystemWorks 2003 also includes enhanced antivirus protection through Norton AntiVirus 2003, which offers new, state-of-the-art Instant Message scanning, worm blocking, and automatic removal of Trojans and worms. Symantec also offers Norton SystemWorks 2003 Professional Edition, designed especially for small business and advanced users. This edition includes all of the features in Norton SystemWorks, and adds three additional tools - Norton Ghost 2003, Process Viewer and new PerformanceTest.

Surfing the Web often takes its toll on PCs in the form of Internet clutter - temporary cache files, history items and cookies - that get written onto the hard drive each time a user goes online. The Web Cleanup feature inside Norton SystemWorks 2003 should provide an intuitive method of removing these cumbersome files with simplicity and ease. Users also have the flexibility to remove some Internet files and keep other files that might be beneficial, such as cookies from e-commerce sites that may enhance the shopping experience.

Users who access the Internet via dial-up connections often experience special challenges because their service provider may terminate the connection when a period of inactivity is detected. Connection Keep Alive remedies this issue by simulating user activity when Norton SystemWorks 2003 senses a drop in online activity. If the period of inactivity continues beyond a specified limit, users are prompted before Connection Keep Alive allows the connection to be dropped.

Norton AntiVirus 2003 is designed to remove malicious code automatically, protect email and Instant Message attachments and keep virus definitions up-to-date without user intervention. With the latest version, Symantec says that it is introducing exclusive technologies that protect systems out-of-the-box at multiple entry points while proactively solving virus problems.

Norton AntiVirus 2003 offers new protection from virus threats that spread through Instant Message services by automatically scanning incoming Instant Message attachments. This feature supports Yahoo! Instant Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, and Windows Messenger.

Norton AntiVirus 2003 also features heuristics-based Worm Blocking technology that should detect SMTP worms such as Nimda and Badtrans, stopping them before they spread through outgoing email. Complemented by the powerful Script-Blocking technology that detects fast-moving script-based viruses, Norton AntiVirus 2003 promises to keep users protected from known and unknown threats, even before new virus definitions are created.

Norton SystemWorks 2003 has improved upon its One Button Checkup feature by allowing users to select which system scans to run, and to schedule these customized scans for regular deployment. A history file now logs One Button Checkup's activity so users may share the information with technical support or just keep a record. Norton SystemWorks 2003 also provides an undo capability within One Button Checkup so that any change made can be undone, even days later.

Symantec also offers Norton SystemWorks 2003 Professional Edition, designed especially for small business and advanced users. This edition includes all of the features in Norton SystemWorks, and adds three additional tools - new Norton Ghost 2003, Process Viewer and new PerformanceTest.

Norton Ghost 2003, now with a Windows-based user interface, is designed to protect data from computer disasters by allowing users to create regular backups easily and recover files quickly and safely. Process Viewer lets users see information on each program that is running on their systems, and the new PerformanceTest feature should let users execute diagnostic and benchmarking functions to evaluate their PC's performance.

Pricing and Availability Norton SystemWorks 2003 and Norton SystemWorks 2003 Professional Edition are available now for pre-order at www.SymantecStore.com at an estimated retail price of $69.95 and $99.95, respectively. Current users of Symantec products and select competitive products can take advantage of a $30 mail-in rebate when they upgrade to Norton SystemWorks 2003 or Norton SystemWorks 2003 Professional Edition. For more information, please visit www.symantec.com.

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