Security

Dinosaur Sighting: The Norton Utilities 8.0 for Windows/DOS

 

As you may remember, in 1990, Peter Norton sold his company and its award winning DOS-based products to Symantec. In 1994, after a couple of years of continuing to produce the DOS-based tools, Symantec took the Norton Utilities into realm of Windows with the Norton Utilities 8.0 for Windows/DOS. While the majority of the tools in version 8 were still DOS-based tools, a handful of them were designed to run in Windows. These included several new tools as well several standard tools that were converted from DOS to Windows. The latter included Norton Disk Doctor, the crown jewel of the utilities, and Speed Disk, the amazing disk defragmenter. The former included System Watch, a utility for monitoring system resources and a set of utilities for working with INI files—the Windows 3.x equivalent of the Registry.

Image created by Greg Shultz for TechRepublic.

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Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

9 comments
krisfr
krisfr

How about Norton's on steroids called Directory Freedom, that was a powerful tool at the command prompt.

ChrisHyche@AlabamaOne.Org
ChrisHyche@AlabamaOne.Org

In my option NU8 was the last good version of NU.The Win95 version followed and it was very dumbed down and added toolbars to Windows (simular to the MS Office bar if I remember). And a lot of the options were stripped away. Kinda wish I could still use 8 for some things but file systems have changed since then so it would be bad.

butkus
butkus

Somewhere in my collection of junk from my first IT job at a college I found my "miracle folder". It had two floppy disks (3 1/2 - 720K) with instructions to get on the web. In 1991 (?) the college had a internet connection via it's outdated main server. The first disk you needed was from a company's dial up service install program. Basically it added a TCP/IP program to Win 3.1 which it didn't have. The second disk was Netscape 1.1, yes it fit on a 720K floppy with some room to spare. If your department was not wired yet (only 3 buildings were), and you had a PC with a modem, these two disk allowed you to dial the main server and get a TCP/IP connection and get on the web. Most of the college was not wired as just a 8 port hub cost $1,200 back then. So if you needed to get on the web... I was the "go to" guy. If you did get setup.. then get that list of IP addresses because DNS was not available yet !

rdubrey
rdubrey

Yeah, I remember messing around with that software a lot. I don't remember being happy with Norton at all once I figured out it was bogging machines down. I am sure they have improved quite a bit but I did pick up a good habit of uninstalling loads of this stuff on new laptops and PCs out of the box. So I have Norton to thank for that. ;-) Still do it to this day. Seems like HP is the biggest crapware loader these days in consumer PCs.

phasys303
phasys303

I had a business in computer hardware and software from 1997 till 2000, and I can't say I was very happy with Norton utilities, or Norton anti-virus. Anti-virus used to be good, but with the early Windows 95 virus-tools it became a disaster. The reason for this was that the "rescue disk" from Norton would ALWAYS access the harddisk of a computer, even when you booted from the floppy. So any boot viruses would be loaded anyway. Norton utilities were a disaster on system performance and usually caused more problems then they solved.

Zwort
Zwort

I gave up on them a few years ago, having used Peter Norton's kit a lot (it also happened to be the name of a bloody good British motorcycle manufacturer). One of the things I found was that, as time passed, it became less competent and more error prone. One of the things that killed the product for me was a problem I found with speed disc, which eventually started splicing mp3s when a machine locked up. Thus I found myself listening to a quiet passage from Lodovico da Viadana, and suddenly a very loud track from AC/DC (quite a contrast, believe me) popped up in the middle. Because I was driving at the time this was something of a shock. Anyhow, I dropped Norton having first built up an armamentarium of different tools from a variety of software houses, commercial and free. Because Symantec are prone to bloatware, as are many other large and successful software houses, I distrust them immensely, and I regret their absorption of Sygate. Anyhow, the article had me reminiscing about command prompts, drive compression, DOS games, the woman I lived with who made a living using the Mac in a variety of illustration settings (including a porn company, who required her to stretch the male anatomy!), and used to sneer at PCs. How I miss DOS 3x, to my disbelief.

Zwort
Zwort

the days of TSR programmes. Meheh.

phasys303
phasys303

The good old days. QEMM, hacking your config files to get certain games or programs working, the magic of the first soundcards, text based BBS's with incredible ANSI art, Stacker. Then Windows 95 came and destroyed everything. I think I'm gonna cry now.

Zwort
Zwort

Indeed. I had different boot floppies for the demands of different configurations, especially Virgin's Alice in wonderland which was a hog for the UMB. Looking back the CD players for DOS were something of a unitasking non entity. Use your calculator or another machine whilst playing music on the PC? Hmm. If you look you can find the successor to DR DOS and run games from a USB drive set up as a floppy, and there's another legacy DOS suite you can use to run DOS games, first creating a virtual drive then running the game, ISTR. Doom 1 & 2 seem very lame now though.