Why does everything slow down as it gets older?
Me, for example. Every day, basic tasks become more arduous. Some mornings, even the distance between the bed and the floor seems insurmountable... and that's gravity assisted - well, apart from the actual standing-up bit obviously.
There was a time when I could remember every item on a list without having to actually look at the list. Now I'm lucky if I can remember there's a list at all.
As for sleep; why can't I ever seem to get enough? When did it become the most important thing in my life? Did I always need this much sleep to function?
The more I think about it, the more I'm like a PC. As time goes on, memory fails, I slow down, I can't think straight and a take forever to get started. In fact, if I was a computer, you'd definitely be looking to upgrade me by now. I don't even think you'd get much for a trade anymore.
Sadly, unlike a PC, I can't just download an app to get me going again...
Norton Utilities Ultimate is a suite of computer tuning tools packaged together by NortonLifeLock - the renowned cyber-security specialists. Utilities Ultimate is not really about security though - instead, it lets you access a wide selection of settings, tweaks and protocols that can keep your PC running more smoothly, more efficiently and above all else, faster.
I've used products like this in the past because, when you like to fiddle around your computer's setup the way I do, it's not unusual to end up making things worse rather than better. Adjusting the wrong start-up behaviour or installing a program that uses up more of your PC's resources than it should is easy to do, yet can be a real challenge to identify - let alone rectify.
That's why I've really appreciated the stripped-back, easy-on-the-eye Norton Utilities Ultimate interface. When you open the app, a simple dashboard appears, offering you the option to analyse your PC to see if there are any issues that need dealing with. This only takes a few seconds, after which you're presented with a list of things that can be fixed up. These vary from broken registry entries, to unnecessary startup items, to misconfigured internet settings.
It's a pretty comprehensive catalogue and the first time you run it, you might be alarmed to discover just how much junk is lurking around just below the surface, clogging both RAM and ROM, not to mention tanking your startup speeds and contaminating your browsing experience.
You can then elect to "fix" all these issues automatically, with the click of a button, or investigate each one more thoroughly before taking action.
A lot of this stuff is already available to you as part of Windows... if you know where to look. You can list all the programs that run automatically at startup, for instance. But that's a slightly complicated process and when you get that list, you certainly don't get any information about how necessary those programs are and whether other users consider them important. This gives you a lot more confidence when it comes to turning them off - again, a super straight-forward, one button process.
It turns out many programs are set to check for updates the moment you turn your computer on - this can really slow down startup and is often unnecessary given those programs can usually be set to update when you start them manually. Utilities Ultimate makes all this extremely easy to see and understand.
Junk files can be tossed secure in the knowledge there's also an option to recover deleted data if you were a bit hasty nuking it - although, I certainly haven't encountered any issues to date. If you're still using hard-drives instead of SSD, there are defragging tools at hand to reorganise your data in a more efficient way and there are several options to delete files and uninstall programs permanently, which is good news if you share your PC with other users.
As a reviewer, I've often had issues resetting computers back to their factory settings before returning them - Utilities Ultimate has an option to help you do that too.
Gamers, editors and other power users will be most interested in the Real Time Boost section - this is where you can free up memory and increase write speeds, again with a single click.
There's one feature missing though - I would've like to have seen the option to check for driver updates, as out-of-date device software is often responsible for system slowdowns, stutters and crashes. Admittedly, many new laptops and PC's come with the manufacturer's tool to do this preinstalled but often it's tricky to find all the drivers you need on older machines.
On the plus side, Norton Utilities Ultimate is currently just $39.99 for the first year which allows you to use it on up to ten devices. Yep, ten. This makes it a fantastic family solution compared to many other similar packages.
The question is; does it work? I think it's well worth the price tag for the simple management of your startup programs alone - this is often where unwanted malware and resource-hogging update services will hide. With Utilities Ultimate, you can deactivate these startup pests easily and without risk. I've also found the Performance Boost options have noticeably improved launch times for many of my apps across the board and swapping between different programs definitely seems snappier.
Best of all, it only takes a minute or two to run and you're done - you can even set it to analyze your system automatically on a schedule of your choosing.
Yes, you can probably achieve a lot of this stuff manually by fiddling around with a long list of hidden settings but it'll take you much longer and if you don't know what you're doing, you might even make things worse. Trust me; I've been that guy.
If your PC or laptop is starting to feel like it's struggling to get out of bed in the morning, Norton Utilities Ultimate might just be the tonic to give it a new lease on life.