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NortonLive Rescue Me

At a Glance
Product NortonLive Rescue Me [Website]
Summary Slightly defeatured and skinned version of’s free PC Health Check
Pros • Extremely easy to set up
• MacOS version gets you a live tech for $5
Cons • You pay $5 for something you can get for free
• Windows scan is not very deep
• No details given for malware found

Whether you’re new to personal computing, or have been involved with computers as long as I have, undoubtedly you’re familiar with the Norton brand.  Most likely, you think of Norton as an antivirus company.  But long before the Norton brand was attached to antivirus products, the name was synonymous with PC Utilities. Back in the day, Norton Utilities was the “go to” product to fix all of your PC problems. 

Now, Norton (actually Symantec) is offering a suite of cloud-based services to help you solve not only your Windows or MacOS problems, but virtually all of your personal tech-related problems including: initial setup; virus, spyware and malware removal; smartphone setup and more. Table 1 summarizes the products under the NortonLive brand.

Service Cost Description
Rescue Me $4.99 Basic diagnostics to identify problems and perform minor tuneup
PC Quick Start $69.99 Setup and register computer, transfer files from old computer, install software, connect to your wireless network
Smartphone quick start $39.99 Basic phone setup for email, chat, social networking; synchs media content; setup network connections
Expert Installation $39.99 Remove old software, install and configure your new Norton software
Spyware and Virus removal $99.99 Detect and remove spyware and viruses; stop popups; fix security problems
PC Power Boost $69.99 Fine tunes Windows settings, improves speed, frees up memory and hard disk space
PC Jump Start $109.99 Installs and configures your Norton software; removes clutter; improves speed
Ultimate Help Desk $19.99/month + $49.99 one time setup fee or $199.99/year Unlimited expert help with your computer and peripherals including mobile device setup, printer setup, network setup, and help with your MP3 player, digital camera and DV camera
Table 1: NortonLive Services

Each of the services works the same way.  First, you call into the NortonLive Service center and purchase the service.  Next, either you will receive a link and instructions to download and run software to perform your purchased service or a technician will remotely connect to your computer and perform the service as you watch.  For this review, we decided to try out the “Rescue Me” service for both Windows and MacOS.  We purchased the service just as any consumer would in order to evaluate an unbiased customer experience. 

Rescue Me - Mac

My first “Rescue Me”experience was on my Mac.  I wasn’t having any particular problems with it, but I was curious to see what NortonLive would find.  After taking my credit card information, the NortonLive agent connected me with a technician.  I was than instructed to download a small program that would provide the tech with remote control of my Mac. 

Once connected, the technician explained that there wasn’t any software for the Mac that would run diagnostics.  Instead, he would manually check out my Mac.  The only utilities that he used were utilities that are provided as part of MacOS.  For reference, my Mac is running 10.7.2 (Lion).

First, from the Application\Utilities folder, the technician launched the Disk utility and verified that there were no issues with the boot disk (Figure 1). Next, he checked System Info and Users and Groups

MacOS Disk Utility

Figure 1: The first step in the diagnostic used the Mac OS built-in disk utility

While checking Users and Groups, we reviewed Login Items (Figure 2) and together decided which ones could be eliminated to improve boot time.

Login Items in System Preferences

Figure 2: Login Items in System Preferences – Users and Groups

Next, in the Library folder, the tech checked LaunchAgents, LaunchDaemons (Figure 3) and StartupItems.  In each folder, we decided which, if any items could be deleted.

Check for unnecessary items

Figure 3: Check for unnecessary items in the Launch area of the Library folder

After tweaking all of the startup locations, he launched Safari and emptied the cache.  For the final step of my Rescue Me MacOS session, the techn returned to the Disk Utility and erased the empty space on my boot drive.  With the empty space process running, the technician said that my Mac appeared to be in good shape and ended the remote support session. 

The cynic in me had fully expected an upsell to one of the other services, but that didn’t happen.  To me, it seemed like the Mac Rescue Me was a pretty good bargain, mainly due to the live tech interaction.  I’m not sure how Norton made any money on that session, as the technician was connected to my computer for about 20 minutes or so.

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