PROS / In our tests, the boot-up speed was 15 percent faster after optimization.
CONS / The graphics processing performance slowed 5.64 percent after optimization.
VERDICT / In our tests, Norton Utilities improved overall performance by 7 percent despite the significant drop in graphics processing.
Norton is a Symantec brand known more for its security and antivirus software than its PC system utilities software. While the features within this suite of Windows utility software are very limited, it did provide significant boot-up improvement, though the overall improvement was below average. If you use other Norton software, you'll find this application easy to use. Otherwise, it's a difficult product for novice users.
With every PC cleaner in our review, we tested how well the software's optimization tools improved PC performance using PCMark 8 to benchmark word and data processing, graphics processing, web-browsing speed and video chat quality. In addition, we timed the improvement to the boot-up speed using BootRacer. We also ran consistency tests to gauge how trustworthy the app was at detecting errors, as it's not uncommon for PC system utility software to exaggerate or bloat the scan results. Finally, we evaluated how easy the interface was to use.
The overall improvement to our test PC's performance was just 7 percent, which was 1.3 percent below average. It had the highest improvement with word and data processing, which improved by 6.65 percent. However, the graphics processing slowed down by 5.64 percent.
The best performance improvement to our test PC that resulted from Norton Utilities optimizations was the boot-up speed. The average boot-up speed was 15 percent faster than it was before the test PC was optimized. While the overall improvements were negligible, a computer that boots up 15 percent faster is definitely significant. So if your boot-up speed is your main concern, then Norton Utilities is a good option.
The user experience and interface received a C for both ease of use and ease of installation. If you routinely use Norton AntiVirus or other popular Norton software, then the interface is a natural extension of that experience. However, if you're a novice user, the user experience can present some complications.
The biggest downside to the user experience is the lack of convenience features. It lacks a software updater, driver stats, process manager, hard-drive monitor and memory monitors. The only convenience feature it has is a junk file cleaner, though it wasn't very effective, as it only recovered 350 MB of storage.
Norton Utilities has some features beyond the system utility optimizing tools. It comes with system backup and restore features, file recovery and registry repair. The backup tools are an essential part of protecting your data, and the file recovery tool is excellent for recovering accidentally deleted files.
Norton Utilities is fronted by a familiar brand many people trust. In our tests, the overall improvement to our test computer was just 7 percent, which was below average and pretty much unnoticeable unless you have benchmarking software, as we do. However, the boot-up speed experienced a 15 percent improvement, which is a significant improvement. If you already use Norton software, then this is an excellent choice.