Top critical review
275 people found this helpful
A Modest Showing
on November 15, 2012
The least you have to know: Norton 360 is an adequate anti-malware suite with some foibles. With low processing and memory overhead, you will enjoy an unobtrusive experience. The issues I've seen come from some of the added applications in the suite, most of them useless.
Here's the full story: I have just finished a year with Kaspersky and I have never been happier with security suite. The overhead was low, the anti-advertisement engine built in made it so I wasn't bothered by annoying in-page video ads and so on. I awalys knew what was happening with Kaspersky, know what tasks were running and when, etc. With this in mind, whatever security suite I would get had to meet a pretty high standard.
The story was good out of the gate: Norton 360 installed without a problem and in fact did not require a restart! The installation didn't take long and before long, I was using it without issue. The overhead is also very low, my task manager showed a memory average use of less than 40MB, which is pretty impressive considering just what it's doing.
The firewall settings picked up all the software I was using regularly and did not prompt me for allowances or denials, it just set them up appropriately. I know because I looked. Which is another thing I do like about Norton 360, the ease with which I was able to find and manage the various applications, each of which comes with a help link that points to a web page.
The main application page has four sections, Security, Identity, Backup, and Tuneup. The security section is what you've come to expect: anti-spam, anti-malware of all sorts, and the firewall. Identity deals with detecting fraudulent web sites, etc. something I've not found to be entirely that useful. At my job, where I am a systems administrator, the problem always seems to be with visiting "dangerous" sites. There are a few "good sites" here and there that can be malicious--and almost always, it's an malicious advertisement served remotely--but I have not found them to be rampant. Backup is useless to me personally as I already have access to and use Dropbox, Skydrive, etc. The tuneup is a throwback to the days when Norton Utilities ruled the Windows roost. I found these, even back then when you could purchase them as a standalone package, to be of doubtful advantage. It is supposed to keep your registry and other Windows components running in good shape.
One thing you will quickly be annoyed by are the pop-ups that show up at the top-right of the screen announcing (by taking away focus) that such and such an application is taking up too much memory or disk use. I can see how this can be useful--not to the systems adminstrator--but definitely across the board. If only it weren't so in-your-face.
Promising good support, I found I had to take Symantec up on their offer a few days into using Norton 360. I found the chat support very fast. In no time at all, I was talking to "Michael Angelo" who sent me a link to download a LogMeIn application that gave him access to my system. So what was the problem? Well, working along one day, a huge pop up window informed me that "something" had gone wrong with a 3036 error number--or something like that. I next discovered that the SONAR had stopped working. I restarted the computer and a few minutes in, the same error occurred. The help link said to download a utility called the Norton Power Eraser which is supposed to clean out any possible issues with rootkits. Well then! The page didn't let on what exactly I'd run into, just to download the utility. Strange.
I did and rebooted. No dice, the error came back. On the chat, I told Michael Angelo was the problem was as he got on remotely, but he didn't seem to listen. After seeing the issue, I asked him what he thought. He said he was about to uninstall then reinstall Norton 360. After I informed him that was something I could handle rather easily, but that I wanted to know *why* the error existed. He didn't answer so I thanked him, logged off the support session and re-installed Norton 360. I'm now keeping a watchful eye out for a recurrence.
My biggest issue with Norton 360 is that it does nothing to curb advertisements on web pages. I really liked this feature of Kaspersky and the fact that a lot of malware makes its way onto machines through fraudulent ads is kind of a let-down.
In all, adequate for most purposes, but not stellar by any means. 3 stars.