Why does everyone seem to hate Norton Utilities?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Bhennies, May 15, 2004.

  1. Bhennies macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2004
    NYC & Baltimore
    Hi, I bought Norton Utilities a while back and have been using it on my dual 500 g4 for a few months. However, i just bought a powerbook, and have heard so many people on this site say to stay away from Norton. Why is this? I wish I'd bought diskwarrior or something of that sort, but can I continue to use Utilities? I know they've stopped making it, but it should continue to work on Panther. Is it really that bad?

    Thanks a lot!
  2. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Mar 2, 2002
    This used to be one of my pet peeves as well: When people flat out bashed Norton Utilities. But lately, I realized something: Of all the utilities I used to "fix" my computer, Norton, Disk First Aid (OS 9), Disk Utility (OS X)... I never noticed any improvements to the system. I feel that this is true for many people that tried Norton and never saw improvements, or had some problems trying to get it to launch into OS X. And since Norton seems to be "the name," it is targeted easily for blame/accusations for problems. So because those that did/didn't get Norton to work never actually saw the small improvements that actually were done to the system, people decided to blame Norton for whatever "reasons."

    I avoid using any utility software altogether. (Occasionally I may repair my permissions, but that hasn't seemed to affect my computer much.) The only "repair" program I recommend is this: Don't install any 3rd party alpha/beta software, don't hack into system files unless you know what you're doing, and do a file system check on your computer after every time your machine suddenly powers off (like, from a power outage). That also means: Don't install any utility programs to do your "dirty work" for you, because such repair programs have options that change your system configuration (speed disk), which can cause problems.

    But, if you're real panicky and want some utility software for, say, if you accidently delete an important document, then get either Norton, Disk Warrior, or both.
  3. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    Norton was amazing for me under OS9. The de-frag was awesone, and it did indeed fix everything I sent its way.
    Since I turned to OSX with 10.1, I have never used any utilities, and never have needed them as far as I can tell. The built in tools are fine, and most things are fixed with permissions. I occasionally do a fsck (and force it under jounalling) but it never really finds anything. Therefore, I use nothing and most probably never will. Oh, and stability on my 5 OSX machines is beyond incredible. I think I reboot my ALBook about once a month, and my Tower only goes down when I lose power or some game is acting up after going for two long with lots of proccesses in the background.
  4. melchior macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2002
    look, it's like this, for windows and for pre-darwin norton disk utilities provided acceptable tools. personally i remember years and years ago using 3.1 and that boot disk saved my ass day after day. but as soon as os x hit the scene norton is not your friend. apparently they didn't feel it was worth redesigning their entire suite just for a new operating system and so they made minor updates to their utilities would at least run, but here is the deal. In the event of file system corruption or minor hardware malfunction norton will only make it worse. in fact, it will do so making it much much harder to recover anything with a useful tool after you have used norton. norton does not respect your data. as a mainenance tool, sure, it does maintenace but nothing that a freeware or two doesn't do either. it was their disk recovery tools that were important and it was those tools that were evil.

    a couple of minor quips, these on a more personal basis whereas above is factual. norton exploited their market position that they had won on the windows platform with the mac by effectively discontinuing development and sucking dry any possible profit of a dead product. They knowingly promoted their product even though it did not help people but could instead make things worse, but did not warn them. (as then they would not buy anything) dodgy.
  5. Kevlar macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2004
    Great White North
    The only needed repair app (and the only one I see that makes a difference) is Disk Warrior. I run it once a month and keeps the system running smoothly.
  6. HumanJHawkins macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2001
    Hood River, OR
    Symantec Neglegence

    I directly experienced an example of this recently. We had a machine acting strange... Apple iApps wouldn't launch (actually, would launch invisibly and freeze). Disk First Aid fixed it once, but the problem returned and it didn't fix it again. So we tried Norton.

    We had Norton Systemworks 3.0... Since it was not yet Panther compatible, we booted into OS 9. We noticed that the version for OS 9 (on the SysWorks 3.0 CD) was over a year old, so did live update to make sure we would get any safety updates related to OS X disks (both HFS+, so the OS shouldn't matter, but we wanted to be safe.)

    To make a long story short, we ended up calling Symantec to find out what an error message we got meant. They said basically, "Oh, you didn't try to run that on an OS X partition did you! It can damage OS X partitions."

    So I am left wondering, what kind of company would let a data-risk type problem in their Disk Repair product go unrepared and intentionally hidden from users for over a year?

    And it brought up a second question: What the hell is Live Update for, if not for fixing this kind of thing?

    And, why the hell wasn't there a warning on the box in big red letters?
  7. atari1356 macrumors 68000


    Feb 27, 2004
    I bash Norton Utilities because it trashed a hard drive I tried to defrag on an earlier version of OS X. Luckily I had everything backed up and I could reinstall everything. I don't trust Norton Utilities any more because of that experience. It's too bad, because it used to be a great product under OS 8/9.
  8. Benjamin macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2003
    Portland, OR
    because frankly you don't need it and it is a waste of money. You don't need to defrag so-to-speak in os x and AV? ha whatever.

    HumanJHawkins- that is the saddest quote from a tech on a phone that i have ever heard btw.
  9. LimeiBook86 macrumors 604


    May 4, 2002
    Go Vegan
    Why does everyone seem to hate Norton Utilities?

    I'll tell you why! <makes fist> It trashed my hard drive too! But, I didn't backup. I told my dad Disk-Warrior was better, but no because Norton had a $10 rebate we got it...I hate that program so much...

    <G3 MiniTower explodes in the backround>
  10. Fender2112 macrumors 65816


    Aug 11, 2002
    Charlotte, NC
    To put in my two cents ...

    I ditched Norton because it interfered with Final Cut Express. I think it was the FileSaver utility. With it turned on, FCE would not capture video. It would start the capture and then freeze up everthing causing me to restart my computer.

    I always liked the Speed Disk utility . But many folks say defragging is done automaticly by OS X. So Speed Disk is not necessary.

    Disk Doctor? I not sure what the heck this quack does. Someone once gave me a tip that you should run Disk Doctor several times, until all problems were fixed and you got a "clean" bill of health. The problem I had was that it kept finding the problems i just fixed on the previous scan.

    My feelings are much like other folks. Norton made a half hearted effort for OS X. SystemWorks 3 has not been updated in over a year. Even uninstalling the software requires an update of some sort, for Panther I think.
  11. Savage Henry macrumors 65816

    Savage Henry

    Feb 20, 2004
    in a one horse, two house, three pub town.
    I'm begining to wonder whether any of them do much.

    For the last 2 hours Onyx has been "Opimiszing the System" on my mid range iMac. Now I'm pretty sure that's not right.

    Nortons was one my Dad thought he needed when I told him to get his eMac. His old WinPC was riddled with these kinds of boosting software that I honestly believe he spent more time optimising his PC than using it.

    In the meantime Onyx is heading for the trash can, whilst Norton will not even tickle my curiosity.
  12. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    Norton Speed Disk trashed my Virtual PC drive images on my Mac disk volume.
  13. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2003
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    It's because Peter Norton licks hemmorhoidal rectums.
    Most half-assed "Utility" program ever foisted on the Mac platform.
  14. dornball macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Denver, CO.
    booooo norton

    norton's optimize tool crashed while defragging my hard drive. i tried to reboot, and nothing. mty machine wouldn't boot up, just the folder with a question mark showed up.
    i bought techtool pro 4 and it repaired my hard drive without the loss of any data.

    yeah techtool pro 4
    booo norton systemworks 3

  15. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Yes, actually, it is. In the Classic days, I had one drive eaten by Norton (which NOTHING would fix, other than the life-saving Data Rescue to extract the data), but in general it was actually a very useful utility--it would fix things, and the defrag was quite useful as well. I've used every version from 3 through Systemworks, and back in the System 7 days, Norton was the only thing that would keep the Macs I administer running smoothly.

    As of OSX, though, things have gotten progressively worse. Initially, it just took them a really long time to release a compatible version for OSX, and when they did it didn't work all that well anyway.

    But to start with, all their add-on tools cause FAR more problems than they help--Norton Systemworks (particularly their firewall stuff) consistantly caused instability and kernel panics on every system I've seen them installed on, and at some point I just stopped using them.

    As for their repari tools, most were geared to OS9 problems anyway, and don't do much good under X. Worse, their more recent releases seem to be more likely to cause problems when "repairing" a disk than they cause good--this is from experience, not predjudice.

    Besides, the fact is, if you're running Panther, it's barely necessary. Between Journaling and the built-in defragmentation, I have yet to even see a single disk problem that wasn't dealt with automatically on restart, even on a system that (due to a Java bug I was experimenting with) went through dozens of Kernel Panics and a lot of beta software.

    I hear good things about Disk Warrior, and the last version (under OS9) I used worked pretty well, but so far I've just never had a situation where it seemed necessary. The version of TechTool that comes with Applecare also seems to work pretty well on the few machines I've tried it on, clearing up a directory problem on a Jaguar-era Mac (with no Journaling, I might add) that fsck couldn't fix and was preventing the thing from booting.

    I think the fact that they've discontinued it completely pretty much illustrates how useful of a tool it actually is.
  16. Roger1 macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2002
    My own experience. Under 9 Nortons utilities seemed to be ok. When we bought our 1st Xserv 2 years ago (one of the first ones) I but Norton Systemworks for X on it. We had constant crashes, kernal panics, etc. I had to wipe the hard drive and start over (without Norton).
  17. bryanc macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2003
    Fredericton, NB Canada
    I concurr...Norton Sucks!

    Coming from the PC world, where Norton not only works, it's almost essential (because windows will lobotomize itself if left to its own devices), I bought Norton for my Mac and installed it without a second thought.

    When I started having trouble with serious system slowdowns, I did some web searching, and found that NU was known to cause this (and many other undesirable effects) under OS X. So I checked, and sure enough, Norton was hogging my CPU. Having read a lot of other good reasons to be concerned that Norton might not be the ideal utility for a Mac, I decided to uninstall it, and found that I couldn't. Even after consulting with Symantec, I couldn't erase their CPU-hogging software from my machine. Eventually, I had to do a clean install of OS X to get rid of all traces of Norton, and my system has run flawlessly since (over two years).

    But the story doesn't end there. I made the error of failing to destroy the Norton Utilities CD, and someone borrowed it to run speed disk on another Mac we have, and it killed a machine that was functioning perfectly (they just thought Speed Disk was a good thing to do now and then).

    My recommendation is not only to avoid installing Norton on your machine, but to destroy any Norton Utilities disks you might have lying around...they're dangerous.

    <conspiracy mode>
    I think Symantec is trying to sabotage macs running OS X, because they don't need constant maintenance requiring 3rd party utility software. So as OS X becomes more popular, their market is drying up.
    </conspiracy mode>

  18. FuzzyBallz macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2003
    Home of Al-Qaida
    Interesting... you must really be mistreating your PCs if they wanna suicide. I use my PCs more than my Macs (work related), and the last time I install Norton Utilities on my PCs is back when MS introduced Win95 to replace the aging Win 3.11. What a resource hogging NU was. Never did install anything made by Norton since, except Ghost for DOS. I really don't see the point of having NU when you know what you're doing and what to do w/ a computer.
  19. Timelessblur macrumors 65816


    Jun 26, 2004
    I have come to releay on nortain for my PC mainly for antivirus. It defraging for PC is nice. Macs dont know about.

    As for defraging a Hard drive all computer need to do that from time to time. Hard drive do not become fragmented due to the OS. the fragimetion is cause by the hard drive it self. Hard drive are just starting to hit the market the help prevent fragmention. The problem with HD becoming fragmented is just how data is writen to them. Moden day OS are not really heavy effect by fragment HD for stabilty but they computer is slowed down more while waiting for the HD to find and access the data they need. So defraging once a month is general a good idea
  20. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    i installed norton utilities on a g3/266 running os9. the system regularly crashed every 30 mins. or so. until i removed norton, then it was great.

    i had a service call on a brand new g4/800 (iirc) running osx. it was running dog-assed slow (e.g. safari would take > 1 min. to launch). i removed norton utilities and it worked great. i told them never to reinstall it. w/in a few months, someone had, so i had to come back in to remove it.
  21. <-new_media-> macrumors newbie


    Aug 1, 2004
    So if your experiencing problems after installing norton

    So what do you do when your experiencing moderate problems as a result of installing norton related products (like an idiot-before venturing to these forums) oh the products, Norton AV, and utilities on an osX drive... G4 powerbook running os X 10.2.8?

    Oh yeah so I installed norton **** and yeah it gave me some errors then i removed the programs, they wouldnt uninstall, so i threw them away (I know this was probably where i slit my own throat)

    Any way, If (as if potentially a result of the norton crap) I am not able to boot from my CD/DVD drive while holding "c" on restart.... What the hell do I do to enable myself to do a clean install? I have used the restore disk that came with my powerbook to restore the system but still nothing has changed. I have used the apple care disk as well....

    Some one Please Help.

  22. justinshiding macrumors member

    May 7, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Speaking from the pc side of things. I never could really tell if norton was doing anything good anyways. The norton "windows fixing" (forgive me I can't remember it's name) program would always come up with over 100 differet "fixes" it needed to preform, and even after it did there wasn't much difference. I've given up and decided that I'll just do a fresh install of windows every four months or so.

    One thing I really didnt like about a recent norton release....norton internet security 2004 (my parents were convinced they needed it for some reason) it hardly run on a p3 733 with 128 megs of ram (parents only do light webbrowsing, no need for a speed demon of a computer) and it slows the computer down to a crawl, yeah I'm sure you can run it on a p2 lists the miniumum system requirements as something like a p2 300 (if i recall) with 128 megs of ram. I think this was just a weeee bit off considering it will 300 ...but...why not give a "recommended" requirement (which they did not do) saying "this level of computer can run it without it taking 2 minutes to load norton.

    Annnnd that's the end of my rant :)
  23. rand() macrumors regular

    Jul 15, 2004
    Are you actually having this problem, or is it just a potential problem you'd like to know how to fix? For Norton to trash your comp to the point where it won't boot from CD with the 'c' key, it'd probably (I'm not sure, but I believe) have to hack either the BIOS (OpenBoot, or whatever it is) or the kernel. Norton may cause suicidal Macs, but I doubt they hack the BIOS or the Darwin Kernel.

    Should that actually happen, though, I'd try using the Startup Disk CP to select the CD to boot from. Or just pop in the disk, run OS X install, and let that program reboot you to your CD drive. But that's assuming you can even start up to 9 or X.

    As for my personal experiences with NU, if I had a volume with OS 9 ONLY on it, NU's speed disk could really give things a boost sometimes. And the other utilities had their uses. But under OS X, I leave the maintenance to BSD's / Apple's devices. In fact, I find that if I give the computer a few nights a week to just run, things stay extremely stable. That's because of OS X's Daily/Weekly/Monthly maintenance scripts, which it will run by itself if left on at night. This is on a Dual 500 G4, running Panther. I have no desire to install a third-party utility program on it at all, especially one that directly works at the block-level on my hard disk.

    Now I'll recount a NU-OSX horror story I got two weeks ago. I used to work at a Public Access TV station. They have a Dual 800, running 10.1 (why they don't upgrade to Panther is beyond me.) and Final Cut Pro 3. They also have two Jems external Firewire HD's 120GB, which they use as the FCP Scratch Disks. The setup worked flawlessly for over two years.

    Then one day (two weeks ago), the High School System Admin hands the station's Assistant Manager a Norton Utilities disk to run on the workstation. So he goes and runs Speed Disk on the Internals, then the Externals. Boom. Two dead external FW drives. Now, Jems aren't the greatest drives, hence the going out of buisiness, AFAIK. But essentially, these things were a FW-IDE bridge, with a 120GB IBM DeskStar drive in it. The Deskstars, at least of this model, are good drives and should be able to take a thrashing. One was reformattable, but we lost all its data (obviously). The other is simply dead. I can't get any computer to even recognize the drive, whether it's mounted internally or externally. A dead drive. I've ended up replacing the Deskstar with a Western Digital - the nice suckers with the 8MB Cache. They'll probably get slightly better performance, but that's $100 that they spent - and 240GB of lost data - pointing at Norton.

    So there you are. On 9, Norton can be a lifesaver. On X, I don't trust it as far as I can throw a dead 120GB Deskstar. And I throw like a girl.


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