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Waste of money - Advantages: none - Disadvantages: expensive, difficult for newbies to use, always goes wrong and messes up your new computer, cannot uninstall and keeps asking for payment!
Norton Internet Security 2004 My Zone Labs Pro expired at about the same time as my computer. The vendor of the new beast warmly recommended the above program. He made me an offer I could not afford to refuse. An OEM version for about 43 Euros, which in my neck of the woods is about 25%discount. Being a bit of a dumb-bum in computer land I was a bit apprehensive about installation without the accompanyiing literature but it was a cinch. I just put in the standard version at medium security and I've been 'frapjous' ever since. This user friendly bundle contains the old dependable antivirus (on auto enable updates automatically in the background), a firewall, ad blocker (lovely surfing without those pesky pop-ups), spam filter and protection from third party cookies. The spam filter is about 80% effective, but at first must be censored lest it block friendlies like our Dooyoo newsletter. I had a bit of a hassle connecting to my new ISP, but it was nothing to disable it till the job was done and then enable it again. On the annoying side is the activation business. Norton has borrowed an idea from Mr. Gates. This means I can't share it with my net mate(real life mate). I believe in buying legit software and limiting it to the family unit, but this one computer use only is a bit much. There are dozens of sites for downloading cracked software and this type of meanness turns otherwise well meaning people into pirates. The XP has been cracked and Norton will be too so all this stuff is an excersize in futility. This particular gripe aside I can fully recomend the program.
There was a time when Peter Norton's products were known for being mean and lean. They did their job effectively and at lighting quick speeds. Mr. Norton is now connected with Norton AntiVirus (NAV) in name alone, as the software has long been under the guidance of Symantec. While NAV could not of late truly be considered lean - as Symantec has stuffed every feature it can think of into the package - it has managed to keep up a reputation for being pretty mean to viruses. So does the dynasty keep rolling with this version? As with previous iterations, the installation for NAV 2004 is straightforward. In fact, the only difference over NAV 2003 is that NAV now offers to scan your machine before the full installation begins. This takes quite a bit of time, but may be valuable for those who splashed out on the software because they think they've already been infected. The software also scans your system post installation, so even if you skip the pre-install test you can let it have its way with the post-install one. Once all this is finished, you'll find Symantec has unfortunately taken a leaf out of Microsoft's book and added an annoying activation process. Not to devalue NAV's contribution to the fight against viruses, but these restrictions do seem a bit excessive on a £40 piece of software. At least Symantec hasn't felt the need to muck about with some of the core elements that have proved popular in the past, in particular the easy-to-use interface. 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' seems to be the thinking here and I find it hard to disagree with these sentiments. There are a few tweaks in NAV 2004's front end, but the software retains the cleanest and easiest-to-understand interface of any of the anti-virus products currently on the market. Sadly, though, there isn't a great deal that's brand new here, although that's hardly surprising given the wealth of features that lit
tered previous versions. After all, Norton has led the anti-virus pack with a great many firsts, including its ability to scan both incoming and outgoing mail and the scanning of attachments sent via instant messaging clients such as AOL's AIM and Microsoft's MSN messenger. Naturally, these features and the standard scanning engine, which includes heuristic detection, still form the bedrock of NAV 2004. However, there are some useful tweaks and one major addition present in this latest version. Falling under the useful tweaks heading is the software's ability to scan ZIP files on the fly rather than waiting for a manual scan to take place before the software has a peak inside. The result is that ZIP files are now scanned as they're being downloaded. The significant addition comes in the form of Spyware detection. Like McAfee's VirusScan, Norton can now scan your machine for any spyware or Internet diallers that may have become attached to your machine. However, it hasn't been well executed and I found that free software offerings such as Ad-aware do a better job of detecting unwanted advertising trackers and general spyware. On the whole, though, Norton is still a great anti-virus product for new users because of its sheer wealth of features and ease of use. However, there isn't a huge amount on offer for those who already own NAV 2003. As a result, I think existing users would be better off shelling out for another year's worth of virus-definition file updates rather than snapping up NAV 2004.