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Norton PC Checkup Review

Friday, 25 March 2011 15:00:01 (US Mountain Standard Time, UTC-07:00)

    Norton PC Checkup is a new free program from Symantec that analyzes several areas of one’s PC.  The most ideal feature is the built in Norton virus scanning engine.  The program downloads the latest definitions from Symantec on every start and scans for viruses; even spyware.  I noticed that the software uses the same ccSvcHst.exe and OEMScanner.exe similar to other Norton versions, so expect similar detection rates.  In addition to excellent malware detection, the program provides over 150 different metrics ranging from performance suggestions to system protections and how to fix the problems.
    The installation of Norton PC Checkup was moderate.  The download is compact at only 13.3 megabytes in size.  I ran into a problem with the first test system which has Windows 7 64bit.  The installer would correctly install, however, the program simply wouldn’t launch.  I figured it may have had something to do with Norton Security being previously installed (had been uninstalled).  I was able to get it to successfully work on a 32bit Windows 7 computer.  The program with the latest updates appears to only take up 33 to 40 megabytes of hard drive space.  The installation and initial launch is completely unintended, all one has to do is click “agree and install”.


   Norton PC Checkup is an on demand scanner meaning that it doesn’t provide real time protection.  The scan auto starts and initially uses hsplayer.exe that detects if there is antivirus and does the performance check.  This process used approximately 15 megabytes of RAM and tested about 125 performance indicators.  After this completed, the program automatically downloaded virus definitions and ran the OEMScanner.exe process whose descriptions is “Norton Security Scan” and used 48 megabytes of RAM.  Therefore, expect similar detection rates.  The full scan took under 10 minutes to complete and found three threats (three tracking cookies).  What’s nice is that Norton PC Checkup displays the type of threats found and their names.


    In addition, to checking for viruses and spyware, Norton PC Checkup also checks for backups, whether one’s wireless security is enabled, proper power management settings, family safety, and more.  Each of these categories provides useful information about how to remedy these problems (via the program and a helpful website).  The explanations are in-depth and great for the novice user.   There is also the option to schedule scans which can be changed to every day or month and a specific time period.   

    Resource usage is about the same as the average on demand scanner.  In totality, the program used approximately 60 megabytes of RAM and about 14 percent CPU power on the test system.  What’s nice is that there isn’t persistent memory usage.  I didn’t have any problems running the antivirus on a netbook.