Norton Utilities 2021 review

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Norton Utilities is a PC optimisation software that comes packed with features. 

It’s easy to use and navigate and most importantly it’s fast and unobtrusive.

You can set up Utilities to automatically optimise your PC or you can do everything yourself with 1-click optimisation options.   

You don’t have to be a personal commuting enthusiast to understand Norton Utilities. This is software intended for people who want to adopt a hands-off approach to keeping their Windows-based machine running smoothly.  And if you’re one of those people, you’ll definitely see some performance improvements.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Loads of features
  • Automatic optimisation
  • Increased performance of unhealthy PC

Cons

  • License limitations
  • Doesn’t support community-based features

Price

Norton Utilities costs $70/year.

Interface & Design

Norton Utilities has a minimalistic design that’s easy to navigate and simple to understand.

The interface is divided into four sections: Dashboard, Toolbox, Automatic Care and Real-Time boost. Each section has subsections that all have a variety of different features. 

If you’re not entirely computer-literate, you can turn on “detailed” mode, which explains what the function will do in more detail.

Norton Utilities’ basic look means only the most essential functions and options are viewable. It isn’t covered in distracting images and symbols that can be confusing. 

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Dashboard

The Dashboard section alerts you to your system status and gives you recommendations on what you can do to optimise how your computer runs. What I liked most about this feature was I could fix the issues directly from within the app.

As an example, on my PC, Utilities informed me that I had 14 programs that would start when I turned my computer on, potentially slowing it down.

I went directly to a list of these startup programs through the dashboard and turned them off as I saw fit. It made the process easy, and I did notice my startup time was faster. This is and has been a Windows feature for some time, however, I liked that it was all accessible through the app and presented well.

The dashboard will obviously recommend other optimisation options as well.

Toolbox

The Toolbox section is where most of the features you’ll want to use are located. There are tools designed to clean your PC, speed it up, protect it, make recoveries and manage it.

I didn’t have a need for all of these features, but the ones I used I found were fast and effective.

I would consistently use the All-in-One Cleanup tool to get rid of temporary junk files and remove broken shortcuts and unused internet files to make my PC faster. On my last scan, the software got rid of 382 Windows Junk Files and fixed 2 registry problems. I also repeatedly used the Process Scanner to view all the processes my PC was running and stop ones I didn’t need. 

There’s also a recovery tool where you can set recovery points for your PC if you’re making changes to it and may want to revert back to its original state, and you can use the Drive Scrubber to remove all the files on a hard drive quickly. In short, there’s a lot here. 

Every feature I used in the Toolbox was explained at a level that I could understand, so I always knew what I was doing, and it performed those tasks quickly. I didn’t have to leave my PC sitting for hours on end while my drives were defragged or my PC was cleaned up.

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Automatic Care

With the Automatic Care section, you can set up Norton Utilities to care for your PC at a set time. You can set it to every few days or even every few hours. 

It does this by automatically performing the main features found in the Toolbox section without your input. 

I liked this feature because it meant I didn’t have to go into the Utilities app to optimise my PC constantly.

I also noticed that this didn’t have any effect on my PCs speed when it was running. It didn’t slow it down or make it lag. Norton Utilities is lightweight and unobtrusive which is great.

Real-time boost

Norton Utilities also comes with a Real-Time boost feature that automatically tunes your PC’s CPU, RAM, and storage devices.

It uses a CPU optimiser combined with a power optimiser to optimise your processor for the task you’re performing. This means if you’re gaming or video editing, background services that could be using up valuable resources will be turned off. This will, in theory, make your gaming or video editing faster; however, I didn’t notice a massive improvement on my PC. 

There’s also a RAM Releaser that releases trapped memory from applications no longer using it. Again, this is designed to make your PC faster. However, my PC was relatively fast already, and I didn’t notice a massive increase in performance. 

Features

Norton Utilities aims to optimise your Windows PC, and it comes with features that allow you to do that yourself or automatically.

If you’re the type that needs to know every detail about what an optimisation feature is doing to your PC, then Norton Utilities allows you to do that. If you would rather have the software take care of your PC with minimal input from you, Norton Utilities can also accommodate that. 

While most optimisation software allows for this, I found it easy to manage with Norton Utilities. I could easily customise it to do what I wanted it to do, and then I made that an automatic process every three days. Once set up, I could forget about it knowing it would keep my PC optimised. 

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Verdict

Norton Utilities is a simple to use PC optimisation software that comes with a lot of features. 

It’s easily customised, you can fully control it yourself or you can leave it to optimise your PC on its own. 

You don’t have to be a computer-whizz to understand what it’s doing, it’s fast and unobtrusive, and I especially liked how it gave me recommendations on what I could do to make my PC run better. 

I’m fortunate enough to have a relatively-powerful PC, running an Nvidia 1080 Ti and an Intel Core i7-8700K CPU that I manage closely, so I didn’t see a significant increase in performance when using Norton Utilities. However, for someone who doesn’t keep a close eye on their PC, Norton Utilities provides plenty of tools to optimise your PC, and it’s incredibly easy to use. 

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