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Take This Rx for Your PC Ailments
-- by James Alan Miller
Symantec's Healthy PC is more an intern than a full-fledged doctor, but this inexpensive and easy-to-use application provides sound preventive maintenance for your PC. Serious problems like viruses or an ailing hard disk are better left to more complex programs.
After installing the two-disk program and restarting Windows 95, you're ready to go. The simple oval interface presents four options: a large green central button labeled Start, and three other buttons marked LiveUpdate, Help and Exit.
When you select the Start button to check the system, the oval presents a list of diagnostic procedures, including Check for Viruses, Check Hard Disk and Repair Hard Disk. As Healthy PC moves through the list, it checks off each completed task and, finally, optimizes the hard drive using Symantec's Speed Disk technology. Scanning and defragmenting your drive is maintenance you should perform monthly, and Healthy PC's one-button approach makes it easy for novices to adopt good habits.
But Healthy PC is more of a preventive application, so it can't fix everything. Though it scans for all types of viruses, it removes only file viruses. Tested on a system with the Stealth C: boot virus, it recommended that I install software such as Symantec's Norton AntiVirus to remove it. It made a similar recommendation when tested on a system with a faulty hard disk that it couldn't repair. To its credit, Healthy PC did find the problems and recommend solutions.
Healthy PC's LiveUpdate feature, shared by all new Symantec products, lets you use your modem or an Internet connection to update the program, essential for the antivirus component and to ensure proper configuration for newer versions of Windows 95 running FAT32. Select Internet, Modem or Find Device Automatically to connect with Symantec. When I ran LiveUpdate, it used my Internet connection and tracked its progress automatically. Symantec recommends running LiveUpdate monthly, good advice since the company will post regular virus protection updates.
Power users will want to rely on more sophisticated tools, such as Quarterdeck's CleanSweep and our recommended Norton AntiVirus. Although Healthy PC makes a stab at protecting your system, in the event of real trouble you'll need a tougher cure.