Antivirus is a cut-throat market, and companies like Norton now feel obliged to add features that break away from their central role. But does this make Norton 360 Version 5.0 a better product?
Installation requires a couple of reboots, which is to be expected. However, the virus signatures aren't updated immediately. When LiveUpdate did run, it downloaded a whopping 98.16MB of updates.
The full scan also attempts to back up your files online, which gets in the way of the task in hand. Monitoring CPU use during a full scan shows peaks of well over 60 per cent, despite efficiency claims.
The scan caught our planted test viruses, but declared an industry standard password-cracker in the Recycle Bin to be an infection. It took a considerable amount of digging to find this information, because the scan report only said that it couldn't resolve a threat, without giving a name or a location.
The full scan also tries to optimise hard drives without being asked. By this, we assume it means defragmentation, leading us to wonder why an antivirus package is undertaking this task.
It's the assumption that you'll simply accept and enjoy all the facilities Norton 360 has to offer that turns us off most. It also added a toolbar to Firefox. Screen real estate is at a premium, and we were never asked whether we wanted it.
The pop-ups (ads explaining facilities offered by the toolbar) are as annoying as the nagware that infests new PCs.
Overall though, Norton 360 does what it claims. It provides excellent antivirus protection, protects your identity and much more to keep you safe online. The annoyances come from trying to be all things to all men, when perhaps it would be best to focus on what it's always excelled at.
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