Norton Utilities

Norton Utilities

Symantec Norton Utilities running on Windows Vista
Developer(s) Symantec
Stable release / August 26, 2012 (2012-08-26)
Operating system Windows, Classic Mac OS, Mac OS X, Unix
Type Utility software
License Trialware

Norton Utilities is a utility software suite designed to help analyze, configure, optimize and maintain a computer. The current version of Norton Utilities is Norton Utilities 16 for Windows XP/Vista/7/8 was released October 26, 2012.

Peter Norton published the first version for DOS, The Norton Utilities, Release 1, in 1982. Release 2 came out about a year later, subsequent to the first hard drives for the IBM PC line. Peter Norton's company was sold to Symantec in 1990. However his name remains as a "brand" for Symantec's range of utility and security software for home users. Peter Norton himself has no connection to the brand or company.

Norton Utilities for DOS and Windows 3.1


The initial 1982 release supported DOS 1.x and featured the UNERASE utility. This allowed files to be undeleted by restoring the first letter of the directory entry (a feature of the FAT file system used in MS-DOS, albeit one that was not originally documented). The UNERASE utility was what launched NU on its path to success. Quoting Peter Norton, "Why did The Norton Utilities become such popular software? Well, industry wisdom has it that software becomes standard either by providing superior capabilities or by solving problems that were previously unsolvable. In 1982, when I sat down at my PC to write Unerase, I was solving a common problem to which there was no readily available solution."[1]

14 programs were included, on three floppy disks, list price $80:[2][3]


The main feature of this version supporting DOS 2.x was FILEFIND, used for searching for files. This 1983 release added hard disk support, and the PRINT program was renamed LPRINT to avoid conflict with the DOS command introduced in MS-DOS 2.0 as PRINT.COM.[4] Following this release Norton became Utilities Editor of PC Magazine.[5]


This version, copyrighted 1984 but dated Monday, January 21, 1985, included Directory Sort, Disk Test, File Attributes, File Find, File Size, Line Print, List Directories, System Information, Text Search, Volume Label, Wipe Disk and Wipe File.


This 1986 version added the Quick UnErase (QU) and Unremove Directory (UD) programs.


Norton Utilities 4.0 for DOS

Release 4.0 (1987, list $99.95) added four new programs:[6]

v4.0 Advanced Edition

This version (list $150), released simultaneously with 4.0 standard edition, was dated Friday May 15, 1987. It added Speed Disk, a disk defragmenter, and Format Recover.

v4.5 Advanced Edition

Norton Integrator from Norton Utilities 4.5 for DOS

Norton Disk Doctor was the major addition in this 1988 release.[7] It also includes Wipedisk, Wipefile, Batch Enhancer and a sector level disk editor, a system information diagnostic utility, and a disk caching program (NCACHE), which was between 10 - 50% faster than Microsoft's SMARTDrive when properly configured.


Release 5.0 included more features, including a utility to perform low level formatting on hard disks, and changes such as password protection on the more "dangerous" utilities. It also included a licensed version of the 4DOS replacement for COMMAND.COM called NDOS. This version also allowed the choice of "classic" names (such as FF.EXE) or longer names (such as FINDFAST.EXE); these were configurable in the updated version of the Norton Integrator menu system.


Norton Utilities 6.0 for DOS

Norton Utilities 6.0 supports DOS 5 and Windows 3.1. It includes Windows Program Manager support, but the tools are still DOS-based, so a set of icons were supplied.

It includes Norton Disk Doctor, Disk Editor, Disk Tools, Speed Disk, Norton Cache, Disk Monitor, Diskreet, NDisk, System Information, NDOS.[8]

The speed of Speed Disk was faster than previous release.

Diskreet supports Data Encryption Standard.

System Information now includes more detailed information on installed system.

UnErase takes advantage of DOS 5.0's Delete Tracking and Mirror File features to recover data.[9] However, MS-DOS 5.0 added a new UNDELETE.exe program, licensed from Norton competitor Central Point Software,[10] which took advantage of the same Delete Sentry control and Deletion-tracking files. (The ERASE command is an alias for the DEL (Delete) command in the DOS command line.) Windows 95's Recycle Bin soon further reduced the value of UnErase.


It supports MS-DOS 6.0, DoubleSpace, Stacker, and SuperStor disk compression tools.

It includes Norton Disk Doctor, Disk Editor, Undelete, SmartCan, NDOS, System Information, File Find, Norton Change Directory.[11]

Speed Disk remained as well, although SPEEDISK.exe was licensed by Microsoft and incorporated into MS-DOS as DEFRAG.exe in MS-DOS 6 onward.[12]

Release 7.0 had revised user interfaces for the utilities that feature a menu-driven user interface. Also some of these tools now did not need to run in full-screen-mode but just displayed a window in the center of the screen, like the disk formatter or the disk duplicator utility.

Disk Editor now includes Advanced Recovery Mode.

v8.0 for DOS/Windows 3.x

Release 8.0 was nearly the same as 7.0, but added Windows 3.1 utilities.

DOS Utilities include Norton Disk Doctor, System Information, Change Directory, FileFind, Diskreet, DUPDISK, File Fix, NDOS, Batch Enhancer, Norton Integrator, Speed Disk.[13]

Windows utilities include Norton Disk Doctor, Speed Disk, System Watch, File Compare, INI Tracker, INI Tuner, INI editor, INI Advisor

Norton Utilities for Windows 95 and later

v1.0 for Windows 95

The original Windows 95 version was released on August 1995.

As a native Windows 95 tool, it supports VFAT file system used by Windows 95.

It includes Norton Image, Norton System Doctor, Norton Protection, Rescue Disk, System Information, Norton Disk Doctor, Norton UnErase, Space Wizard, Speed Disk, System Information.[14] DOS tools include Disk Editor, Disk Doctor, Pre-Installation TuneUp.[15]

CD-ROM version was announced on 1996-01-15.[16] It adds Disk Companion, Memory Companion, and Norton Utilities Companion over floppy disk version.

Disk tools included with this release are not compatible with FAT32.

The Windows version of 'Speed Disk' works with much greater speed than Microsoft's supplied defrag program, as it moved groups of clusters, not single clusters as Microsoft's Windows Disk Defragmenter. Changes in the way Windows operates meant that many of the old utilities were either dropped completely or replaced with GUI based versions. However, with the advent of Windows XP onwards, Norton's 'Speed Disk' reverted to single-cluster defragmentation.

v2.0 for Windows 95

It was announced on 1996-10-07.[17]

It supports Windows 95.

It includes Norton CrashGuard with Anti-Freeze, Norton System Genie, Norton AntiVirus, LiveUpdate, System Genie, Registry Editor, System Doctor, System Benchmark, Disk Benchmark, Multimedia Benchmark, Speed Disk, Space Wizard.[18]

Disk utilities now support FAT32.[19]

A LiveUpdate fix was released for Norton Utilities 2.0 for Windows 95.[20]

v2.0 for Windows NT 4.0

Originally called Norton Utilities 2.0 for Windows NT during prerelease,[21] it was announced on 1997-01-27.[22]

It includes Norton Disk Doctor, Norton Speed Disk, Norton System Information, Norton System Doctor, Norton Protection/UnErase, Live Update.

Norton Disk Doctor, Speed Disk support FAT16 and NTFS file systems.

It does not include DOS Unerase, so files deleted from FAT partition needs to be handled by Norton Utilities for Windows 95/98.[23]

v3.0 for Windows 95

It was announced on 1997-11-10.[24]

It includes Norton WinDoctor, Norton Web Services, LiveUpdate Pro, Norton CrashGuard 3.0, Norton Zip Rescue, Norton System Doctor, Norton SpeedStart, Norton Optimization Wizard, Speed Disk.

Via the use of LiveUpdate, a Speed Disk patch is available to take advantage of Windows 98's application launch enhancements.[25]


Symantec announced it had sponsored a bug-a-thon between USC and UCLA during the final development stages of the latest product release of Norton Utilities 3.0. The software began shipping on November 21, 1997.[26]


It was announced on 1999-02-16.[27]

Although the 'for Windows' name was dropped from the products, it still appears in support sites.[28]

It supports Windows 95 and 98.

It includes Norton SystemCheck, Registry Doctor Scan, Norton WinDoctor, Connection Doctor, Norton WipeInfo, Norton CrashGuard 4.0, Norton Zip Rescue, Norton Disk Doctor, Norton UnErase, a six-month subscription to Norton Web Services for only $6.95.


On 1999-05-13, Symantec offered price reduction and rebates on Norton SystemWorks 2.0 and Norton Utilities 4.0.[29]

Early order includes Net Nanny Internet filter software.[30]

2000 (v4.5)

It was announced on 1999-08-23.[31]

It supports Windows 95 and 98.

It includes Norton SpeedDisk, Norton System Check, Norton Disk Doctor, Norton Zip Rescue, free 3-month subscription to Norton Web Services.

2001 (v5.0)

It was announced on 2000-08-29.[32]

It supports Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000.

It includes Norton SpeedDisk, Norton Optimization Wizard, Norton Disk Doctor, Norton WinDoctor, Norton System Doctor, and Norton System Check.

Disk tools now support USB and FireWire drives via Windows.[33]

2002 (v6.0)

This product was not announced.

It supports Windows 98 and higher, up to Windows 2000 and XP.

It includes Norton SpeedDisk, Norton System Doctor, Norton UnErase, Norton DiskDoctor, Norton WinDoctor, System Information, Wipe Info.


It was only included with Norton SystemWorks 2003.


It was only included with Norton SystemWorks 2004.


It was only included with Norton SystemWorks 2005.

It supports Windows 98 or higher.

It includes Norton Protection, Speed Disk, Norton Optimization Wizard, Norton System Doctor, UnErase Wizard, Norton Disk Doctor, Norton WinDoctor, System Information, Wipe Info, Image, Norton File Compare, Norton Registry Editor, Norton Registry Tracker, and Explorer Shell Extension.[34]


It was only included with Norton SystemWorks 2007.


Norton Utilities 14 for Windows

The revival of Norton Utilities as standalone software was announced on 2009-02-03.[35]

The program supports Windows XP, Vista (32/64-bit).

It includes Registry Defragmenter, Registry Cleaners, Disk Cleaner, Disk Defragmenter, Startup Manager, Service Manager, Restore Center, System Optimizer, Process Viewer, and Performance Test.

The product licence was changed to allow it to be used on up to 3 household PCs.

Critical Receptions

PC Pro rated Norton Utilities 14 with 1 star (out of 6) for "an overpriced collection of optimization tools that falls far short of its promise".[36] IT Reviews called the package "light on features compared to rivals" and it questioned the "usefulness of some of the monitoring utilities".[37]

PC Advisor criticised Norton Utilities 14 for delivering "little that you can't already do with Windows," although it did acknowledge that it brought two things to the table: "The registry tools, which are useful, and the performance monitor, which is interesting but not always useful".[38]

Premier edition

Symantec has released a version of Norton Utilities which is called Norton Utilities Premier Edition. It also Includes the features of the Norton Utilities plus the Norton Online Backup. It is also compatible with Windows 7. It was released on October 14, 2009.


Norton Utilities 15.0 includes features from Norton Systemworks. It includes Norton Speed Disk, Norton Disk Doctor, Norton UnErase, Registry Restore, Registry Defragmenter, Registry Cleaner, Disk Cleaner, Disk Defragmenter, Startup Manager, Service Manager, Restore Center, System Optimizer, Process Viewer, and Performance Test. This version also includes a new GUI.


Norton Utilities 16.0 includes features from Norton Systemworks. It includes Application Uninstaller, Norton Speed Disk, Norton Disk Doctor, Norton UnErase, Registry Restore, Registry Defragmenter, Registry Cleaner, Disk Cleaner, Duplicate File Finder, Disk Defragmenter, Startup Manager, Service Manager, Restore Center, System Optimizer, System Dashboard, Process Viewer, Performance Test and Smart Updates.

New features include Duplicate File Finder, System Dashboard, Application Uninstaller, Windows 8 Compatibility.[39]

Norton Utilities for Macintosh

Norton Utilities 3.5 for Macintosh.

Norton Utilities for Macintosh was a separate utility suite for the Mac OS, providing much of the same features as the equivalent Windows version.


Originally released in 1990, requiring a Mac Plus with 1MiB system memory.

The included disk tools support the HFS file system only. Support for the Apple Hard Disk 20 was not explicitly mentioned.

When Apple released System 7, Norton Utilities for the Macintosh needed to be updated in order to run safely. This proved to be a recurring story in the history of the utility; early versions were highly regarded for a while, but proved to be hazardous when used with newer disk structures and operating systems before being updated.


Originally released in 1992.

It includes Disk Editor, Norton Backup for Macintosh.[40] It also added features in Symantec Utilities for Macintosh II.[41]


3.0 was originally released in August 1994. It supports PowerPC but Speed Disk 3.0 can cause data loss.


It was released in October 1995, which supports larger than 4 GiB.

This version was bundled with Small Business Macintosh 6500/250 and 4400/200.[42]


It was announced on 1997-05-12.[43]

It runs on Mac with Motorola 68020-68040 CPUs and Power Mac G3 using Mac OS 7.1-8.6.

It includes Norton Crashguard, Speed Disk, Norton Disk Doctor, Disk Editor, FileSaver, UnErase, Volume Recover, Wipe Info, System Info, DiskLight, FastFind.

Norton CrashGuard replaced Norton Fastback and Floppier.


It was announced on 1998-09-14.[44] For the first time, the tools are now run on native PowerPC Macintosh computers. It adds support of Mac OS Extended Format and HFS+ file system.

It supports PowerPC Mac (up to G3) using Mac OS 7.5 and above (up to 8.6).

It includes Norton Disk Doctor, File Saver, Unerase, and Volume Recover, Norton CrashGuard.


It was announced on 1999-07-21.[45]

It supports PowerPC Mac G3 and G4 using Mac OS 8.0-9.1.

Update was available to make the tools compatible with Mac OS 9.[46]


It was announced on 2000-10-25.[47]

It supports PowerPC Mac using Mac OS 8.1 and above.

It includes Norton FileSaver, Speed Disk.


The product was not announced.

It runs on Mac OS 8 and 9, and added Mac OS X support. Mac OS X tools run on PowerPC G3 Mac (except Beige G3). However, the Mac OS X tools have not been tested on Mac OS X later than 10.2.6, and is known to be incompatible with Mac OS X v10.3 (Panther).[48]

It includes Norton Utilities 6.0, Norton Disk Doctor, Speed Disk, FileSaver, UnErase, Volume Recover, LiveUpdate.

Speed Disk does not run on Mac OS X, except by booting with Norton Utilities 7.0 CD.


The product was not announced. The package itself was simply label 'Norton Utilities 8.0', but it was called Norton Utilities for Macintosh 8.0 in support pages.

All Mac OS X tools are now native Mac OS X-based, but it can still boot CD that can boot into Mac OS 9.

It includes Wipe Info, Speed Disk, Volume Recover, Norton FileSaver, UnErase, LiveUpdate.

8.0.1 added support of Mac OS X 10.3.[49]

8.0.2 added support of G5 model Macintosh released before December 2004, 1.25 GHz eMac, and various Mac G4 notebooks.[50] However, some tools may present errors when running Mac OS X 10.4.[51]

End of life

In 2004, Symantec confirmed it had stopped developing Norton Utilities for Macintosh and Norton SystemWorks for Macintosh, and concentrate its efforts solely on Internet security products for the Mac.[52]

Symantec Utilities for Macintosh

Symantec Utilities for Macintosh (SUM) was a set of system utilities from Symantec, developed before Symantec had acquired Peter Norton Computing. Later SUM tools may have shared code with Norton Utilities for Macintosh.


It was published in 1988.

It supports non-SCSI drives (HD20, MacBottom, HyperDrive are explicitly listed) and also supports MFS floppy disks in a limited way.

It runs on Mac 512Ke, Plus, SE, Mac II (i.e. not 512K or 128K) with System v4.1 and Finder v5.3 or higher.[53]


It was released after Symantec had acquired Peter Norton Computing, in year 1990.

It runs on 1MB Macintosh with System 4.2 or higher.

It includes similar recovery tools, but lacked the high degree of file-recovery automation available with Norton Utilities for Macintosh.[54]

Norton Utilities has been discontinued for mac

Norton Utilities for Unix

In 1990, Peter Norton Computing developed a Unix version of Norton Utilities, in cooperation with Segue Software and INTERACTIVE Systems Corp.[55] This version of Norton Utilities was available up to 1992, when Interactive Systems stopped marketing the software.[56] In February 1994, AlmondSeed Software Inc. licensed the software and released it as "The Almond Utilities for UNIX".[56] AlmondSeed Software released the Utilities for SCO UNIX[56] and Sun Solaris.[57]



December 18, 2009 Darian Graham-Smith of PC Pro gave Norton Utilities 14 an overall rating of 2 of 6 stars. He concluded "There's simply no good reason to pay this much for such a flimsy collection of tools."[58]

January 4, 2011 PC World Magazine reviewed Norton Utilities 15 and concluded "Norton Utilities may have outlived its usefulness. If your system isn't running as fast as you think it should, uninstalling unnecessary software and pruning background applications using Windows' own tools or downloadable freebies are a more cost-effective first defense."[59]

August 28, 2012 PC Magazine gave Norton Utilities 15 a score 3 of 5 stars. They said "This PC tune-up utility can give an aged PC a new lease on life, but its lacks some of the features and performance found in competing software."[60]

August 31, 2012 gave Norton Utilities a rating of 6 out of 10. they concluded " Norton Utilities did a satisfactory job of de-gunking and increasing the overall performance of our test laptop, but it doesn’t stack up well against rival suite System Mechanic 11."[61]

January 13, 2014 gave Norton Utilities a 7.7 star rating out of 10 and said "Norton Utilities has good help and support features and is above average in terms of ease of use." [62]


2012 January source code hack

On January 17, 2012, Symantec admitted to their network getting hacked. A hacker known as "Yama Tough" obtained Symantec's source code by hacking an Indian Government server. Yama Tough has released parts of the source code, and has threatened to release more. According to Chris Paden, a Symantec spokesman, the source code that was taken was from enterprise products that were between 5 and 6 years old.[63]

2012 September source code hack

On September 25, 2012 an affiliate of the hacker group Anonymous published source code from Norton Utilities. Symantec has responded that this is from the same code leaked in January, 2012. They have confirmed that the leak included source code for 2006 versions of Norton Utilities, pcAnywhere, and Norton Antivirus.[64]


  1. Krumm, R. 1990. Inside the Norton Utilities, Revised and Expanded, Introduction by Peter Norton, p. xiv. Brady (Prentice Hall) ISBN 0-13-468406-0.
  2. Norton, P. 1983. Inside the IBM PC, unnumbered page following the index. Robert J. Brady Co. (Prentice-Hall) ISBN 0-89303-556-4.
  3. Ad in InfoWorld magazine, Oct. 4, 1982, p. 8
  4. Norton Utilities ad, PC Magazine, July 1983
  5. Introducing ... The Norton Chronicles, PC Magazine, September 1983
  6. InfoWorld, March 23, 1987, p. 11
  7. PERSONAL COMPUTERS; A Remarkable Disk Doctor, New York Times, November 08, 1988
  8. Idol, Charles. "The Norton Utilities 6.0".
  9. InfoWorld, June 10, 1991, p. 117
  10. Upon executing the UNDELETE command in MS-DOS 6.22, the message: "UNDELETE - A delete protection facility Copyright (C) 1987-1993 Central Point Software, Inc." is displayed.
  11. Karnes, Clifton. "The Norton Utilities 7.0".
  12. Upon executing the DEFRAG command in MS-DOS 6.22, the message: "Microsoft Defrag for MS-DOS Copyright 1988-1993 Symantec Corporation" is displayed. "About MS-DOS Defragmenter" also states, "Technology from the Norton Utilities"
  13. Campbell, Tom. "The Norton Utilities 8.0".
  14. Cratty, J. P. (1 March 1996). "A new version of an old friend [Product Review Norton Utilities for Windows 95]" (PDF). 29 (3): 106–. doi:10.1109/MC.1996.485901 via IEEE Xplore.
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  19. New and Newer
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  21. "Newsroom - Symantec".
  22. "Newsroom - Symantec".
  23. How to use Norton Utilities on a home network
  24. Symantec Announces Norton Utilities 3.0 for Windows 95
  25. "Windows 98 Tips and Tricks By Ed Ellers".
  26. Symantec Hosts Norton Utilities 'Bug-A-Thon' Showdown Between USC and UCLA
  27. New Norton Utilities 4.0 the Most Effective, Intelligent Problem-Solving Tool Yet
  28. Technical support for old versions of Norton Utilities is expired
  29. Symantec Makes Safe Migration to MS Office 2000 Affordable through Special Promotion on Norton SystemWorks, Norton Utilities
  30. Free Net Nanny Filtering Software Offered with Norton Utilities 4.0 During Six Week On-line Retail Promotion
  31. Norton Utilities 2000 Makes Computer Maintenance and Repair Easy and Fast
  32. Norton AntiVirus 2001, Norton Utilities 2001, Norton CleanSweep 2001 Ensure High Performance Across All Windows Based Systems
  33. Norton Utilities compatibility with various drive technologies
  34. "SystemWorks 2005 Premier: PC health care. - Read expert review at".
  35. "Newsroom - Symantec".
  36. "Norton Utilities 14 review".
  37. IT Reviews
  38. PC Advisor
  39. "Norton Utilities 16.0 Unleashed".
  40. "Industry Figure Tom Chappell".
  41. "Apps - Access My Library - Gale".
  42. "Newsroom - Symantec".
  43. "Newsroom - Symantec".
  44. Norton Utilities for Macintosh Now PowerPC Native, HFS+ Compatible
  45. New Norton Utilities for Macintosh v5.0 Keeps Macs Running at Peak Performance Levels
  46. Norton Utilities for Macintosh 5.0, Norton AntiVirus for Macintosh 6.0 Compatible with Mac OS 9
  47. Symantec Announces New Versions Of Norton Utilities And Norton AntiVirus For Macintosh
  48. "The document that you are looking for is unavailable".
  49. What's new in Norton Utilities for Macintosh 8.0.x after running LiveUpdate
  50. Cannot boot from the Norton Utilities for Macintosh 8.0 or Norton SystemWorks for Macintosh 3.0 CD on a new Macintosh
  51. Symantec product compatibility with Mac OS X 10.4 (code-named Tiger)
  52. "TMO Scoop - Symantec Confirms Norton Utilities & SystemWorks' Demise [Updated] -- The Mac Observer".
  53. "Notes on the Hard Disk 20 (HD20)".
  54. " - CBSi".
  55. "Peter Norton entered Unix computer software market". The Los Angeles Business Journal. 1990-05-07. Archived from the original on 2008-03-06. Retrieved 2008-03-12.
  56. 1 2 3 "AlmondSeed Software Announces The Almond Utilities for UNIX" (Press release). AlmondSeed Software, Inc. 1994-02-14. Retrieved 2008-03-12.
  57. "AlmondSeed Software Announces Shipment of The Almond Utilities for UNIX for Solaris 2.4" (Press release). AlmondSeed Software, Inc. 1995-04-21. Retrieved 2008-03-12.
  58. "Norton Utilities review".
  59. "Symantec Norton Utilities 15: Disk Utilities Under One Roof".
  60. Wilson, Jeffrey L. "Norton Utilities". PC Magazine.
  61. "Norton Utilities 15 review".
  62. "Norton Utilities Review 2016 - Best Utility Software".
  63. Gregg Keizer (2012-01-17). "Symantec backtracks, admits own network hacked". Computerworld. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  64. "Claims by Anonymous about Symantec Source Code". Symantec. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
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