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I have been very critical of Norton in the past but recently i have decided to give them another go.
In June i brought a new Dell laptop which came with a free 30 day trial of Mcafee which i activate and used for the 30 days. I found that it did slow down my laptop quite a bit and especially when updating as it would make everything stop responding. I decided not to go with it and tried the free trial of Norton Internet Security 2009. I found it did make my laptop more responsive and it did actually work faster then when i was using Mcafee.
My main problem in the past with Norton used to be the speed of it. I saw that 2009 had major improvements in speed which was one of the main factors i decided to try it again. Installation was really fast and it installed with no problems whatsoever. It did install alot faster then alot of other software of a similar size which surprised me.
The interface is much better then previous versions i have used and it offers alot more as well. It has regular updates every 5-15 minutes in order to ensure you are up to date and doesn't freeze your laptop for 5-10 seconds like Mcafee did. Norton also offers "Norton Insight"which increases the computers performance by marking some files as trusted so it doesn't keep scanning them while it can concentrate on the non trusted files and file which are likely to be bad. This does make it faster as it stops repeating scans. There was a slight issue with Norton Insight when i upgraded to Vista SP2 as hardly any files were marked as trusted but soon enough it was sorted and now 63% if my files are now trusted.
In terms of stopping virus etc, i can't really say how good it is. I only tend to visit the same sites each time i log in and i haven't had any warnings or anything and i haven't had a virus on any computer or any virus warnings for about a year+. I just have Norton just as a bit of peace of mind just in case i should ever get anything but so far i haven't needed it.
Overall it is good but when you buy it, it might be a good idea to remove the extended download service as that isn't really necessary in my opinion and Norton seem to just secretly add it onto the order page without warning you hoping to get a bit more money out of you for something they could (and some may argue "should) offer for free.