Stop the Norton Nag by following prompts

Ask Jim

Plugged In

May 31, 2007|By Jim Coates | Jim Coates,Chicago Tribune

One persistent problem that I have is the annoying Symantec Norton Antivirus renewal pop-up. I am not sure which version it is, but it has a red background, versus the yellow on the version that I renewed online for 24 months. I have been hesitant to uninstall what looks like the right one (red color) for fear it would impact the updates. The same thing is occurring at work, and they are not sure how to get rid of it, either.

- John Jennings

It's easy to stop the Norton Nag, as I call it. All you need to do is float your mouse over the icon that the antivirus software puts in the system tray at the bottom right of the screen and press the right button.

Look for the Configure tool in the ensuing pop-up.

When you open the Configure item, you will find a distinctive black on yellow Symantec Corp. box with a row of items down the left side and then a pane on the right to let users check boxes to implement many different options. Look for the ones called Live Update and Miscellaneous.

In Live Update, remove the check from the option to be advised automatically if there are program changes.

Under Miscellaneous, remove the check from the option to remind users automatically that new virus definitions have been created that need to be downloaded.

This might sound dangerous, but the Norton software also is set by default to automatically acquire and install all new definitions.

The continual reminder that you need updates is little more than a sales prod to keep customers aware of the service they are getting that would be lost if they failed to renew.

Let me add my own Live Update here and note that Norton's basic software changed a bit in the version for Vista, but users of Vista will find it easy to follow the prompts to the automatic notification options under Live Update and Miscellaneous.

I allow Windows to upgrade on its own. I also have become accustomed to starting my computer and walking away for several minutes while it boots up. It used to do this without any input from me. Because I am the only user of the computer, I didn't need to enter any passwords. This was great. Now, after a recent upgrade, I need to enter a password. I would like to eliminate this but I can't find a way to do so.

- Roger Page

I've become something of an evangelist for the Windows XP Tweak UI PowerToy when asked this question.

Power toys are free tools from Microsoft that help advanced users get more out of their machines. The idea is to keep Windows as simple as possible but to add bells and whistles for those who want to get a bit deeper into their computers.

I'll cover other aspects of Tweak UI after I explain how it will get you back to where you can grab a cup of java and go back to your computer without being bugged to log on again.

When Tweak UI is installed among the programs on the Start menu, running it calls up a display with tools on one side and a box explaining how to use each of them alongside.

Get it at: http:--www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downl oads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx and then look toward the bottom for a heading called Logon.

Open it and you'll find an auto logon item that lets you enter your password so that it can be stored in encrypted form and used to handle the chore without your presence being required.

Fixing the logon is a pretty minor feat compared with some of the other things that Tweak UI can add. For example, you can use it to enlarge or shrink the thumbnail icons that appear when a folder holding pictures is opened in thumbnail view - something that many folks say they want and something that cannot be done otherwise by mere nonprogrammers.

Another jewel is a tool that will let you speed up or slow down how long each picture is shown when using the slide show feature in the Windows Fax and Photo Viewer, the default when one clicks an image icon.

Another tweak lets you add programs to the list of templates that appear under New when one right clicks in a blank spot in a folder or desktop so that it is possible to quickly create new documents without hunting down and running programs.

I've found that even folks with computer phobias have fun messing with this little-known gem.

We're still waiting for Vista power toys.

jcoates@tribune.com

Jim Coates writes for the Chicago Tribune.

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