Computers are funny things, one minute they work, the next you’ve got them in pieces on the floor pulling your hair out. While SystemWorks can’t profess you being able to solve hardware malfunctions, it does help a whole host of software problems that affect the performance of your PC on a daily basis.

The SystemWorks Suite is actually made up from four main programs and a host of utilities and tools, but put simply it contains the following: Norton Antivirus, Norton Utilities, Norton CleanSweep and GoBack Personal Edition by Roxio.

Killer bugs beware
The Antivirus software is, as you would expect, there to protect you from viruses floating around the web. Its simple to use and if you have connection to the web you can keep up to date with latest virus definitions. Depending on the state of the world these definitions can update either on a daily or weekly basis and the whole process is unobtrusive to your every day computer use.

On install the system will automatically protect everything as well as offering support for your emails - both send and receive - as well as protecting Instant Messaging services from AOL, MSN and Yahoo! After the initial scan anything that is found is quarantined for you to evaluate and from here you can either chose to repair or delete accordingly.

Scanning a hard drive is fairly dependent on the amount of information and size of hard drive. We tested it on system with over 30Gb of hard disk and with plenty of files on it and it took about 20 minutes to get through the whole process.

Pass me that hammer
Norton Utilities is the age old program that Symantec has been bashing out for years and it’s nice to see they’ve finally gotten rid of the smug Peter Norton on the front of the box. For those familiar with the Norton products it’s the same old same old, however these programmes have developed and been fine tuned so much over the last 10 years that they are very good at routing out problems and optimising hard disks with the simplest of ease.

Obviously someone at Norton however doesn’t feel that the chaps at Microsoft are doing there job and opting for the “One Button Check Up” option on a brand new machine running nothing but Windows XP finds over 40 errors to fix straight away. Hmmm.

Still the program offers: Norton WinDoctor to fix software problems, Norton Disk Doctor to make sure your Hard disk is running effectively, an UnErase Wizard to do just that, and the system doctor to constantly check and monitor system performance.

Under the rug swept
Norton SystemWorks also boasts CleanSweep as well and for the disk conscious this program gives users to the chance to keep all unwanted files off their PC, though it’s a program that works best from the outset of a fresh Windows Installation. The main application will be the Fast and Safe cleanup solution, which scans your computer for everything from internet cache to lost clusters on your drive. This program also has the option to do a more effective uninstall than Microsoft as well as offering you the chance to restore if you’ve realised you made a mistake.

Back to the Future?
While users of XP will benefit from the free System Restore solution that Microsoft provides with the operating system, those with 98 won’t have the same choice. GoBack Personal Edition allows you to restore you machine to a previous time when all was working well.

Price when reviewed:

Overall through years of development this has become a benchmark product that will make sure you hard disk and operating system are running both effectively and securely free from viruses. Yes you can buy the elements separately if you are looking for only one element, but joining the four elements does offer you a chance to do a lot of fixing and protecting for not a lot of cash outlay.