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"A major error was found in the Volume Header Block,"
But my heart is in the right place:
A Review of Norton Utilities Version 4.0
On March 1, 1999, the "Plugged In" section of the Baltimore Sun published a comparison of three Mac disk repair utilities and gave Symantec’s newest version of Norton Utilities (NU) for the Macintosh a big thumbs up. I fired off an e-mail to my user group contact at Symantec along with the Sunspot URL and asked for some hand outs/discounts for my fellow members.  No luck, but I could review it. OK. I had to fill out the request form, send a copy of Seeds and Stems, get the review published promptly, yada yada yada. 

OK, I’ve used Symantec’s products for years. I upgraded to Norton Utilities 3.5 in the fall of 1997, after purchasing a Power Macintosh 6500/250 with the curse of the IDE hard disk drivers1.  Apple support recommended NU 3.5 or re initializing the hard disk when I called—duh. Let’s say it came very highly recommended. It worked. Life is good. At least until OS 8.1 and HFS+ came along.

I ordered the CD version of 8.1 in Feb of 1998. When the OS 8.1 CD arrived it still said 8.0 on the label. Repeatedly warned about NU 3.5’s (and others) inability to cope with HFS+ formatted drives. I waited and waited. Gun shy about the non-booting hard disk problem, I waited. Norton Utilities had bailed me out for months, but I had the CD version of 8.1—not the free download. On March 22, 1998, I threw caution to the wind, crossed my fingers, partitioned my hard drive, upgraded to 8.1 and took advantage of HFS+ disk formatting.

March 26, 1999, a package arrived from Symantec. Boot from CD. 7:00 PM call on Norton’s Disk Doctor. The Doctor is in. Tsk tsk tsk, Major errors were found. That’s what the doctor told me but he was kind enough to fix nearly all of them while I watch. The doctor shakes my "Catalog B-tree" repeatedly—it seems I waste a lot of space and he fixes these easily before tweaking bits off and on on dozens of files he determines need to be tweaked. Always the gentleman, the Doctor asks before tweaking. A major error was found in my Preferences Folder, it seems that my Finder Preferences have damaged resource forks and Norton Disk Doctor is unable to fix this problem. Simply deleting the file does however. That was painless.

Now turn on "Speed Disk" the NU to check the fragmentation on my hard drive. Not bad—my largest partition (2.7 gigabytes) shows only light fragmentation. Rickety tickety, check it and optimize it. 

8:30 PM my two hard disks and 2 partitions have been checked by the doctor and my largest partition has been optimized. These are, in my opinion, the two major features of Norton Utilities but there are more. UnErase, Volume Recover, FileSaver, CrashGuard, System Info, Fast Find, DiskLight, Wipe Info, and DiskEditor along with 210 page User’s Guide in Acrobat (with Acrobat Reader 3.0).

The 11 Utilities are all on the 3.5 version although they have been tweaked along the way. Mostly, if you use HFS+ —and you really should if you want to get the most efficiency from your disk resources—you need to upgrade to 4.0.

CrashGuard and FileSaver keep track of things if you need to use FileRecover and Volume Recover. CrashGuard pops up too frequently for my taste and FileSaver takes an inventory of your active disks on shut down so that you have information available for the Doctor if he ever feels VolumeRecover is needed. I used it once in version 3.5 and it worked—only the files modified since the last "FileSaver" scan did not recover. Kind of insurance if you‘re prone to "inadvertent initialization syndrome."

DiskLight is an extension that shows a blinking disk image to the left of the "* Menu" on the menu bar. When flashing it indicates disk activity—a "W" under it shows writing. Now you can tell when things are going on (and off) without having to rely on a noisy disk drive. Others—Fast Find and System Info—are heavy-duty utilities that are similar to Apple’ Find File and Apple System Profiler. There is also include a 30 day time-out version of Norton AntiVirus 5.0.

System requirements are Power PC (Version 3.5 recommends PPC but will work on 68020 or faster), OS 7.5 or higher (7.1 for 3.5), 16 Megs of Ram, and 25 Megabytes of hard disk space (3.5 recommends 8 MB Ram). Both MacConnection and Symantec were offering NU 4.0 for $99.95 with a $50.00 Rebate. MacWarehouse was advertising it for $79.95 with the same rebate offer. It looks like it pays to shop around. By the way, do check out the Symantec web site ( they offer "Trialware" which is a demo/shareware program. The Mac offerings were limited however.

1 Your computer wouldn’t boot from the hard drive and you needed Norton 3.5 to  temporarily fix the problem until you could update the disk drivers using drive setup 1.3.1. Unfortunately this wasn’t available until November 1997.
Steve Webber 4/7/1999
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