Product: Norton Security
Category: Anti-Virus Suite
One would expect a quality product from a notorious company such as Symantec. Since PCs are attacked by threats within the first 15 seconds of being connected to the internet, it seems as though it would be a great idea to buy a protection suite from a larger company. For the purpose of preventing, detecting, and removing threats, Norton Security 2006 does its job very well. Nonetheless, I advise avoiding this product at all costs.
I compared Norton Security to the freeware virus protection program Avast! and was impressed by the improvement. Norton removed threats that were not touched with Avast!, and I have not had a virus contaminate my machine for more than a few seconds, for Norton eradicates threats almost instantaneously with its active scan feature, which allows Norton to run in the background. The interface is easy enough to navigate; it is simple, yet effectively organized, as well as easy on the eyes. However, there are some things that are terribly wrong with this product.
Thus far the product has sounded like an excellent source of protection. What could be so terrible about it? The suite is so buggy, I often wonder if Symantec completely forgot to check for bugs and released it after its initial development. First of all, about 70% of the time when you attempt to access Norton's main menu, it does absolutely nothing. No response. However, click it again, and it may work the second time, although usually incorrectly. Take a look at the screen shots below and see how Norton showed up on my screen when I attempted to launch it. Often times, Norton will launch the outline of the menu, with the middle (all of the important stuff) being blank. The solution? Reboot. Often times, reboot more than once – if you are lucky, Norton may just allow to you access its menus.
Oh, but there are more Norton annoyances than a menu that refuses to appear. Many people these days have a Google Mail account. Unfortunately for those who do, Norton interferes with Gmail operations, leading to messages being blocked and message content disappearing. Solution? Attempt to access your firewall settings through Norton's menu (good luck with that) and reconfigure.
Yet one more annoyance keeps me from liking this suite. One would expect an security program to ask the user if a certain program is allowed to access the internet or not. For example, for someone who wants to play poker online, Norton should ask if that program is allowed to access the internet, just to confirm that it is not spyware that you inherited from somewhere. But the programmers at Symantec had the idea that this process should be automated! That's great, in theory. However, often times, Norton just takes initiative and decides to block certain programs' connection to the internet without your consent. Since Norton has decided to block your favorite online poker program from the internet, it looks like you will have to do a bit of work to undermine it. Once again, you will have to attempt the unthinkable – access Norton's menus. From the firewall settings, you can have Norton scan for programs that can access the internet and compile a list for you to manually change the connection settings for. So, after about 7 or more minutes of waiting for Norton to scan your entire drive, you can manually explain to Norton that online poker is not spyware or some other intruder, and – if you are lucky – Norton will comply and let you play.
As you compare the short paragraph containing the positives to the essay of compiled negatives, you can see that Norton Security 2006 just is not worth the hassle – or the $70 price tag. Although it does have a good set of features, so does practically any other anti-virus program that is not freeware. Do yourself a favor and walk past this program at your local electronics store.
When you are able to access it, it's actually quite nice.
For the purpose of finding and eliminating threats, Norton does its job very well, but the abysmal functionality and inconsistency makes you want to rip your hair out.
Straight forward to install, but Live Update often times causes some problems.
Value for money: 2/10
For $70, you could buy an anti-virus program better than Norton and a good PS2 game.
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