Norton's ready for Windows 95
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1995. First
published in Our Computer Player, September 1995
previews of Symantec Norton Navigator and Norton
One sign of how awkward and limited many people have
found the standard
Windows 3 interface has been the number of replacements or additions to
it that have made it to market over the past five years.
These have ranged from shareware, such as Planet
Crafters' $25 Plug-In
which added nested groups to Program Manager and let users add sounds
change cursors, to one of my old standbys, the British free BackMenu,
popped up a menu whenever the user right-clicked anywhere on the
Then there have been probably dozens of commercial programs, such as
Dashboard. But probably the most widely known has been Symantec's
Desktop for Windows.
This program completely replaced the standard Windows
with a much more sophisticated version, and even though it took up a
hunk of disk space and resources (at least for its era-- several years
ago), it found its way onto the desktops and hearts of many users, who
couldn't imagine running Windows without it.
But Windows 95 spells the end to all those products,
for at least two
reasons. First of all, the Win95 interface is much slicker and capable
than the old Program Manager. The Start button is always available-- no
more busy-work minimizing and maximizing icons to get to Program
And (like my old fave BackMenu), programs are quickly available in
menus, that can be easily customized and rearranged to suit each user.
Shortcuts to frequently used programs or documents can be left on the
for quicker access.
Even more basic for all those Windows 3 shell
replacements-- they simply
won't work under Windows 95. Don't bother trying.
Never one to let a good market die, Symantec spent the
Windows 95 beta
period critically looking at the Win95 default Explorer interface
can also install the old Program Manager interface if they prefer),
rather than totally replacing it, as they did with Windows 3, instead
enhance it. The result is three programs-- Norton Utilities 95 (which
reviewed in the July issue), Norton Anti-Virus 95, and the all new
We took a look at pre-release beta copies of Norton
Navigator and Norton
NORTON NAVIGATOR 95
When you install Norton Navigator, at first, nothing
much has changed.
There are a few new icons on the TaskBar, but that's about it. A few
will show what they are-- there's a small QuickLaunch area near the
end of the TaskBar, for example, where you can drag icons for instant
To the left of that, you'll find miniature pictures of desktops--
Navigator supports multiple desktops, accessed through the MultiDesk
Personally, I've never seen much need for multiple
desktops, but some
users seem to find them quite useful-- here, a quick click on the icon
on the Taskbar, or a keyboard shortcut zips you to an alternative
By default, a second desktop is set up with the Norton Navigator
installed as shortcut icons on the desktop... users could conceivably
up desktops for particular projects, or a games desktop and a work
or... well, whatever they desire.
All Navigator's options are set up from the Control
quick configuration of Navigator's Taskbar add-ons and other options.
well, you can choose to set up Quick Menus. These add on to the
Start Menu Documents and Control Panel and Run menus.
Left to its own devices, Win95's Start Menu provides
quick access to
the Control Panel, through the Settings item, a Run dialogue for typing
a command (similar to the Run item in the Win 3 Program Manager File
and a Documents menu, that lists the last dozen or so documents
by any (Win 95) application. Navigator adds to these... the Control
item now includes individual items for the various Control Panel
The Run item now includes a history listing the last dozen or so Run
And the Documents menu now sorts the recently-accessed files by type--
Text files or Word (*.Doc) files, and so forth.
Fast Find similarly enhances the Start Menus Find
command. The default
Find is pretty good, allowing searches by name, but also by date, by
or containing specified text strings. Navigator adds searches by
or by last modification date, and can even search deleted files. As
like Lotus Magellan, a well-regarded DOS program abandoned by its
Navigator can create an index of the contents of your files, enabling
faster searches by content.
File Assist adds File Management features to standard
Win 95 Open, Browse,
and Save As dialogues. Now, these dialogue boxes also will let the user
move, copy, delete, rename, compress (with ZIP, etc.), expand, view,
UUEncode (an Internet mail standard). Win95 had already added Create
(well, Folder in Win95-speak) to these dialogues, so together with the
Navigator functions, powerful file management will be available any
these standard dialogue boxes are used.
There's also a Long File Name Enabler. At first glance
this seems to
perform an act of magic-- enabling old Windows programs to use long
names. Unfortunately, it only works with programs that used the Windows
3 common dialogue boxes for Open and Save As. While it does work--
programs can now save and open files using long file names, most of the
common major applications-- even from Microsoft, used custom dialogue
that don't respond to this neat trick.
Win95's Explorer file manager gains an Undo command,
levels of undo for file and folder commands, as well as quicker ways to
navigate through deeply nested folders. An Archive Wizard checks how
you're using applications and documents, and makes recommendations for
files that you might consider archiving or even deleting.
In addition to all these enhancements, there's a File
comes with a bit of a history. Way, way back in PC history, there was a
DOS utility called XTree... initially a visual directory tree, with
shortcuts for common DOS file and directory management commands. Over
years, it grew into the very powerful XTree Gold, and spawned a Windows
version that included a large number of file viewers and very slick,
Xtree was purchased by Central Point, makers of PC
Tools, and last Fall,
Xtree Gold for Windows 4.0 and PC Tools File Manager for Window,
3.0 were released simultaneously-- in fact, they were virtually
programs, bringing XTree's viewers and archiving to PC Tools.
As part of the merger-mania that seems to be sweeping
the software industry,
Symantec then purchased Central Point. So Norton Navigator's File
is effectively, the descendent of PC Tools' and XTree's products-- in
its icon is identical to the PC Tools' File Manager's.
Like the last version of XTree Gold (or PC Tools), it
tabbed views... one page, for example, could show deleted files, just a
click away from the normal view. Files can be compressed or
right from the file manager, using ZIP, ARC, or LHA formats. Encryption
and Wipe Delete security options are available, as is the viewing and
of deleted files. Like Win95 Explorer, Quick Views of files are just a
right click away, but like its predecessors, the program can also be
to AutoView document contents, in the lower pane.
New in this version is Internet support... directory
trees on an FTP
server can be added to the user's main Tree. Clicking on one of those
folders automatically connects to the FTP site, right at the folder. As
well, files can be UUENCODED or UUDECODED right from the menus or
The program is very configurable-- users can select
what items to put
on the menus, and there are icons to add any menu item to the Toolbar.
Finally, all the file management commands (Copy, Move, Delete,
etc.) can be run as standalone programs, so they can be easily accessed
at any time.
NORTON ANTI-VIRUS 95
Along with the Norton Utilities and Norton Navigator
products for Windows
95, Symantec is also releasing Norton Anti-Virus (NAV) 95. And while
other two programs enhance capabilities that (for the most part) are
available to Win95 users, Norton Anti-Virus fills a vital need that
hasn't been addressed by Microsoft.
But hold it, I hear you cry-- Microsoft provided basic
viruses in the last few version of DOS... both DOS and Windows versions
of a so-called Microsoft Anti-Virus, in fact licensed from Central
True, true. Nevertheless, those utilities have been
dropped from Windows
95; no virus protection is packaged with the operating system. And
DOS virus-scanning programs, such as F-Prot or McAffee Scan continue to
work under Win95, their virus-removal components may not function
And because Win95 starts out booting to DOS and runs DOS executables,
still vulnerable to DOS boot sector and other viruses.
Because of this, Win95 users are particularly
vulnerable to virus attack,
especially if they engage in 'high-risk computing', such as sharing
or swapping floppies.
NAV 95 safely installs itself, checking for viruses
It installs three components-- a DOS portion, installed at the top of
which checks the system near the beginning of bootup and at system
A Windows component makes further checks when the Win95 interface is
Finally, a scheduler appears on the end of the TaskBar, letting the
schedule full system scans regularly, when the system is unused.
As a Win95 application, virus scans can be premptorily
running happily in the background while the user works with other
It can scan inside compressed ZIP and LHA/LZH files. Installation can
a rescue disk, to be used to boot with, in the event of infection. As
NAV keeps track of the state of your hard drive's boot sector and
any major changes (such as the multiple updates of Win95 made by beta
over the past months) make it suspicious-- as well it should be! But
it works well in the background, keeping watch for suspicious
THE END OF PC TOOLS ?
For years, the rivalry between Symantec (Norton) and
Central Point (PC
Tools) kept both companies on their toes, ultimately benefiting
While the Norton product line featured separate packages of utilities,
backup and virus checkers, and Windows desktops, Central Point combined
all these features into PC Tools, making it the Swiss Army Knife of
Again, consumers had a choice.
The new, Windows 95 generation of Symantec Norton
products-- the two
described in this article, along with Norton Utilities 95, described in
July's issue, have gained from Symantec's acquisition of Central
product line, including both PC Tools and XTree.
It remains to be seen whether the other product lines
to be offered-- and if they are, whether they will be anything other
repackaging of the Norton products.
Still, with this trio of Win95 utilities, Symantec has
again met Microsoft's
challenge: even though the new Windows 95 interface is much improved
the previous version, there is still room for 3rd party enhancements
as those offered by the Norton Utilities 95 and Norton Navigator 95.
And with no protection from viruses at all in Windows
95, many users
will find the Norton Anti-Virus 95 a must have product.