We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Disk tools/Optimisation software Reviews
15,610 Reviews

Symantec Norton Utilities 14 review

£29.53 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Symantec

Our Rating: We rate this 3 out of 5

Symantec bills Norton Utilities as a way to keep Windows PCs running longer by sprucing up their performance.

Symantec bills Norton Utilities as a way to keep Windows PCs running longer by sprucing up their performance.

Gone are the file-recovery tools of yore. In this iteration, Norton Utilities 14 includes tools for managing which programs get loaded when your computer starts and which services run at start-up.

Beyond the need to enter a long random character key and the requirement to activate the product, Norton Utilities 14 is quick and easy to install.

When Norton Utilities 14 starts up, you have four areas in which you can take action. Under the "Optimize" tab, you perform those cleaning functions for which the package is intended. In some cases, such as Registry cleaning, you're presented with a list of problems the product has identified, and asked for approval to proceed.

In others, such as disk defragmentation, you simply click a button, and the process happens with little feedback or indication of progress. Norton Utilities 14 is actually running Windows' built-in defragmentation utility.

The "Monitor" tab lets you check your system performance (via a PassMark rating) and offers a baseline of computers to compare against. You can also monitor changes to your registry, keep track of changes to your system and view which processes are running at any given time.

While performance monitoring is extensive, Norton Utilities 14 doesn't do much to provide context, so unless you run before-and-after performance tests, the number may not tell you a great deal.

The Windows Tools launches tools included with Windows such as a disk defragmenter, start-up manager, disk cleaner, internet file and cookie cleanup, and browser cache cleanup. You can do all this yourself if you look in the Accessories section of the Start menu - basically, Norton Utilities 14 is a slightly more convenient method of running existing tools.

With an administration tab you can create a System Restore Point (something else already in Windows), customise the paths that Norton Utilities 14 should use when scanning, view activity logs and set your level of privacy.

Two of Norton Utilities 14's functions - registry tools and performance monitor - are tasks you can't do with Windows.

On the test machine, Norton Utilities 14 found over 1,200 Registry entries referred as problems. These included software that no longer existed or entries that had been superseded by software upgrades. The registry defragmentation also found plenty to do in the test machine, and it did appear to improve performance.

The PassMark performance monitor was potentially useful, if only to validate that changes made a difference. However, much of the performance total is devoted to video performance, and there's nothing Norton Utilities 14 can do about that. Likewise, the CPU performance numbers are characteristics of the computer's hardware, and since Norton Utilities can't speed up your processor or make the cache or memory access faster, you're stuck with those numbers unless you upgrade hardware.

NEXT PAGE: our expert verdict >>

PC Performance Monitor

Monitor your PC today >>

Norton Utilities 14 Expert Verdict »

There are currently no technical specifications recorded for this product.

  • Ease of Use: We give this item 8 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 7 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 6 of 10 overall

Norton Utilities 14 is a means of keeping all of your system maintenance links in one place, but it delivers little that you can't already do with Windows. Two things it does bring to the table are the registry tools, which are useful, and the performance monitor, which is interesting but not always useful.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • Symantec Norton Utilities 15 review

    Symantec Norton Utilities 15

    These days, the real question with paid-for optimisation software such as Symantec Norton Utilities 15 is not whether it works or how well, but whether you actually need it.

  • Symantec Norton 360 4.0 review

    Symantec Norton 360 4.0

    Symantec Norton 360 Version 4.0 adds Norton Insight to speed up quick scans for this comprehensive Windows security package.

  • TuneUp Utilities 2009 review

    TuneUp Utilities 2009

    TuneUp Utilities 2009 does a comprehensive job of cleaning up your system - more so than most programs of its kind.

  • PC Tools Registry Mechanic 7.0 review

    PC Tools Registry Mechanic 7.0

    Users of ageing PCs will know all too well that system performance can deteriorate over time – and Windows is often the focus of their irritation.

  • Iolo System Mechanic 8.5 review

    Iolo System Mechanic 8.5

    System Mechanic 8.5 is more than just a disk and registry cleanup tool. It aims to tune your entire system for peak performance. It will let you optimise just about everything else on your system.


IDG UK Sites

45 Best Android games: top Android games for your smartphone or tablet in 2014 (24 are free!)

IDG UK Sites

How Apple, Adobe, Microsoft and others have let us down over UltraHD and hiDPI screens

IDG UK Sites

Do you have the X-Factor too? Mix Off app puts fans in the frame

IDG UK Sites

iPad Pro release date, rumours and leaked images - 12.9 screen 'coming in 2015'