What's the lowdown on Norton Filesaver?

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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Joined: Jan 20 2005
Posts: 1434

I'm wondering if Norton Filesaver is a problem program? On another forum site there's a guy who rails against it, says it screws things up, uses up huge amounts of disk space in an invisible fashion. Is there any truth to this?

I always install Norton Utilities on my harddrives so I can check and optimize data before I burn it and stuff like that (I create a separate 700mb partition when I format my main harddrive to copy data into first before I burn it to CD). I've been in the habit of turning off Filesaver after installing it, but I just noticed that I forgot to turn it off the last time I installed Utilities. I'm moving to a new harddrive, and am using Carbon Copy Cloner to clone my system to the new harddrive. I noticed that in the list of items to be cloned there are four Filesaver items: Filesaver Data, Filesaver Index, Filesaver Volume, Filesaver Volume2. These must be the "notorious" invisible Filesaver volumes. I"m thinking I'll just delete these from the list of items to be cloned, and make sure Filesaver is turned off on the new harddrive system clone. The guy on the other website says Filesaver shouldn't even be installed and that it's up to nasty things even if it's turned off. Anyone got any opinions? thanks

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dankephoto's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
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OS9 Norton OK, OS X Norton no way

I've only ever had decent results with Norton Utilities versions 2 through 5 under pre-OS X systems (but only v4 or v5 for HFS+ volumes), but never never never never never never never never never under any circumstances use any version of any Norton product under OS X or on any volume which OS X has touched or will touch in the future. In my experience Norton products have a serious knack for causing real havoc with OS X volumes.

If you need to check and/or repair a volume used under OS X, please use Disk Utility and/or Disk Warrior. Both are proven and safe.

just my humble $.02,

dan k

ps: yeah, go ahead and delete the FileSaver files, they are useless garbage.

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coius's picture
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Joined: Aug 25 2004
Posts: 1975
I agree

that stuff screws up more of my Mac customer's drives than any OTHER app. Most likely, when i am dealing with systems not starting and missing data, i will find the app on it. I end up telling people to get rid of norton, because it is not only filesaver that screws it up, but the rest of norton's suite does it too. I learned that a loooonnnggg time ago.
I generally tell them to get TechTool pro. It does a better job than norton will do in it's life...

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dvsjr's picture
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Re: What's the lowdown on Norton Filesaver?

I have the 9 version installed on several clients still using OS 9. The utility scans at shutdown, and honestly for 4+ years these clients havent had issues. It does a fine job.
Having said that, yes, it does "hide" invisible info on the drives, and yes, it can take up space. But take it away and you would need a manual maintenance regimen, which isn't practical.

I uninstalled it from my OS X macs on my own computers and on clients. Why? They have dropped the ball *so many times*. If you run your business like life, which I try to do, after someone screws up royally, even screws up again after being given a second chance, you move on.

I had a problem with norton disk doctor back in 95(ish?) when I used it to repair an OS 8.1 drive that had been formatted with the new HFS+ format. Norton DD ate the directory, destroying the disk. They hadn't upgraded their utilities, and hadn't bothered to report this until reports started coming in complaining. Granted they scrambled to release a repair utility to help undo the damage, but w t f??
Then about a year or two ago, my powerbook running OS X had a shutdown problem, always going to blue screen and hanging until force quit. After a looong search and much troubleshooting, sure enough, Norton was the problem. So no thanks.

OS 9 yes, as dankephoto said but carefully and with research.
Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....

thanks for letting me vent.

dvsjr

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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Norton without Filesaver

I now have a clean new OS 10.3.9 harddrive with Norton Utilities installed and Filesaver "removed," or I might say it's emasculated--I'm not sure which--and no hidden Filesaver files.

There is no Filesaver program to remove in the Norton Utilities application folder, and what I found out by trial and error is that simply removing the Filesaver control panel in the System Preferences and all other Filesaver labelled items does not remove the Filesaver function from the system, which leads me to assume that Filesaver is not a seperate program, but rather a routine somehow incorporated some other way into the Norton Utilities suite.

In order to create a harddrive with Norton Utilities installed, but with Filesaver apparently nullified and all traces removed, I actually had to create a new harddrive using Carbon Copy Cloner.

These are the steps I've figured out to successfully geld Filesaver:

Before cloning, have Norton Utilities installed on the OS harddrive which is to be cloned. The installation process itself of Norton will create those ugly FS hidden files, and there's no option to not install Filesaver, so you have to go ahead with a full updated installation and allow the creation of those hidden files.

After successful installation, go into the System Preferences, open up the Filesaver Control panel, and click Filesaver off, and importantly, also click off all the other checked boxes in the Filesaver panel as well, all those ones about what it's going to do to your volumes. Close the panel, and then I restart. I don't know if you have to restart, but I do just to be safe. You have to do this checking off process. If you don't, then even after you have deleted the Filesaver Preference Pane, Norton somehow still does the Filesaver thing, and without the preference pane, you won't have any way to control it.

After clicking off Filesaver and restarting, I then go to File>Find and do a search for all files labelled "Filesaver." The Filesaver system preferences pane will be where most of them are located, and I move all Filesaver labelled items to the trash and kiss them goodbye. After emptying the trash, I restart. Again, I don't know if you have to restart, but I do it anyway.

Now, having clicked off the Filesaver preferences first, and then deleting the visible Filesaver files, Filesaver, from what I can tell, has successfully been emasculated.

But at this point, when you run Carbon Copy Cloner, you'll see that those four ugly Filesaver hidden files are still on your harddrive, as well as FS hidden files on any other volume you have mounted in your computer. I wanted to get rid of these too. I suppose you could live well enough with them, but I wanted no trace, and no hint of a chance for a FS resurrection.

The way I got rid of these hidden files was by cloning. If there's another way, please let me know.

So with Carbon Copy Cloner, I selected my harrdrive as the source disk, and then deleted the four FS files from the list of items to be cloned. I also deleted the .DS store file at the top of the list. I don't know if that's necessary, but I do that anyway. Everything else on the list I cloned to the new harddrive. After the cloning was complete, and still in the original harddrive, I immediately opened up Disk Utility and repaired the permissions of the new harddrive. I also repaired the permissions on the original harddrive just to be safe again. Then I go to Startup Disk and select the new harddrive, restart, and boot into the new harddrive. As soon as I'm in the new cloned system, I run Disk Utility again and repair permissions of the new system again--don't know if I have to, but I do anyway.

So I cloned to a whole new harddrive and the cloning seems to have gone flawlessly. I've encountered no problems with permissions, and even iTunes opens and runs without a hitch. When I open Carbon Copy Cloner I see that there are no FS hidden files on the new harddrive. I can now clone my other old partitions' contents from the old harddrive to partitions I had created on the new harddrive, deleting the respective FS hidden files in the cloning process. If I simply copy these other files to the new partitions using drag and drop, they won't bring the FS files with them, I assume, but I copy using the cloning process instead--guess I'm superstitious at this point.

Now that I've moved everything to the new harddrive, I shutdown the computer, disconnect the old harddrive, turn the computer back on, and restart into the new harddrive. I then used CCC to double-check that there are no FS hidden files anywhere on the new harddrive on any partition, and then run Norton Disk Doctor and Norton Speed Disk against one of my partitions just to check if the coast is now clear and FS free. After running both programs, I use CCC again to see if there are any FS hidden files created by simply running Norton. Nope, no FS hidden files! Success! A clean harddrive with an updated usable Norton Utilities and apparently, no functioning Filesaver. Life is good again.

One of the great delights of having successfully removed Filesaver is that shutdown is so much faster. Before removing Filesaver, shutdown would take a minute or even two. I'd sit there twirling my thumbs along with the sprocket going round waiting for shutdown to finish so I could turn off my whole setup. All this time I had thought this long shutting down was just a peculiarity of OS X. No, it was Filesaver all this time keeping me waiting! Now it shuts down in about five seconds! Liberation.