Is It Doing Anything?
I recently explained how the Smart Scheduler feature in Norton 360 works to stay out of your way in deciding when to run tasks. The scheduler is so effective that it's common for users to wonder if we're ever performing scans. Neil Rubenking even noted in his PC Magazine review of Norton 360 that "It's so quiet you might begin to wonder if it's doing anything at all."
We want to shed some light on this for anyone (myself included) who can't resist the urge to dig into how things work. We've created a small widget that shows you everything going on behind the scenes:
You can download it here (it's free) and it will work with any active copy of Norton 360 version 2.0. Windows XP users will need to install a copy of Microsoft's .NET Framework 2.0 if they don't already have it.
At the top you will notice a small icon of a person - that's you. Next to it is a timer that starts at 20 minutes and begins counting down after Norton 360 notices you're not moving the mouse or keyboard. Below this is a list of all your computer's resources (CPU usage, disk activity, network traffic, etc...). When the time is right and a scan is pending, you'll see it start up.
When you first run the tool, you might not see any "Pending" jobs. That's okay; it just means Norton 360 doesn't have anything to run right now. In this case, the timer doesn't tick down either. This is for performance - there's no point in the product monitoring user activity if it has nothing to do.
There's one other feature in the widget worth mentioning. In the top right corner, there's a green "play" button. This will make you appear inactive for 5 seconds. Say you're heading off to lunch and want Norton 360 to start its scan now instead of waiting 20 minutes. Click this button, walk away and any pending jobs will start immediately. If you come back before those jobs are done, they'll stop just like normal.
I hope this tool helps provide you with some transparency into the Smart Scheduler feature of Norton 360.
Message Edited by jgonzales on 02-11-2009 06:57 PM