Network Associates – McAfee Office 3.0 review

a software Swiss Army knife
Photo of Network Associates – McAfee Office 3.0
£69.95

Software utility packages are very popular in the consumer market, providing as they do a wealth of additional tools and features that could collectively be grouped under the heading ‘the features that Windows forgot’.

McAfee Office 3.0 is just about as integrated a utility package as you could wish for, and will set the hearts of what should probably be described as ‘consumer power users’ racing. The sheer number of tools is overwhelming, and ranges from personal firewall tools (a sector that’s becoming increasingly high-profile) to the obligatory VirusScan anti-virus package and a software Uninstaller that’s designed to take up where the built-in Windows version left off.

Also included is McAfee’s PGP data encryption tool, which scrambles e-mails and other data using the popular and fairly efficient Pretty Good Privacy algorithm. This feature is particularly relevant, given last year’s RIP 2000 anti-privacy bill. Disk checkers, defragmenters, registry tuners, file shredders, Zip/unzip tools and more are included here, and while some of them are effectively fillers, others are potentially very useful.

There’s no doubt that the wealth of utilities available in this package is pretty astounding, given the price. But what becomes apparent with further use is that there are quite a few duplicates, since Office 3.0′s legacy is the older Nuts & Bolts package – which we found to be rather less than stable – plus the rather simpler First Aid bundle. This does at least give the user a choice, but we’d have preferred to see the best of each category included, rather than all of them. At the very least, this would make it a lot easier to use.

Company: Network Associates

Contact: 0800 0927160


Verdict
No systems administrator worth his or her salt would let a utilities package such as this near their users' systems, but for the consumer, this is the Swiss Army knife in software form. It offers so much in one box, even allowing for the duplicates, that it's a bargain at this price.