Norton AntiVirus 2011

Norton AntiVirus 2011

Norton AntiVirus 2011 | 98.90 Mb
Norton AntiVirus 2011 offers the same core high-quality computer and networking protection features as its more full-featured sibling, Norton Internet Security, but it lacks some key Web protection features that users shouldn't really go without.
Over the past few years, Symantec has completed a course reversal for its Norton consumer Internet security suites. The massive package of security tools works better than it ever has before, with an impressive set of features, some useful new tools including the free Power Eraser, and third-party security efficacy benchmarks that are nothing short of remarkable. Meanwhile, CNET Labs' performance benchmarks indicate that though Norton doesn't leave the smallest footprint on your system, users should see a minimal impact overall.

The bottom line: You get less, for less. Norton AntiVirus 2011 offers the same core high-quality computer and networking protection features as its more full-featured sibling, Norton Internet Security, but it lacks some key Web protection features that users shouldn't really go without

Over the past few years, Symantec has completed a course reversal for its Norton consumer Internet security suites. The massive package of security tools works better than it ever has before, with an impressive set of features, some useful new tools including the free Power Eraser, and third-party security efficacy benchmarks that are nothing short of remarkable. Meanwhile, CNET Labs' performance benchmarks indicate that though Norton doesn't leave the smallest footprint on your system, users should see a minimal impact overall.

Installation

For the second year in a row, Norton's former sluggish beast now offers a smooth and fast installation operation. Once you run the installer, the program is ready to operate in about a minute--impressively fast, and doubly so considering past performance. The installation process is also the first time that you will interact with Quorum, Norton's behavior-based detection engine. You'll be asked to participate by sending anonymous data to Symantec's cloud. Opting out of the data submission, according to Symantec, will not affect your security.

Running the trial of Norton also requires registering the program. Like many programs, Norton used to force open your default browser and take you to the company's registration Web site. One of the new features in Norton AntiVirus 2011 is that the program comes with a Web interface for your desktop. Users first encounter this when registering, but it pops up in regular program usage as well, keeping users from being forced to open their browsers to manage certain Web-based features. Uninstalling the software left about 10 Registry entries behind, but no other traces were detectable. Overall, Norton's installation experience was fast and hassle-free, with a minimum of configuration options--but the ones that did come up appeared necessary.

Features and support

There aren't many new features in Norton AntiVirus 2011, or even new major features. What's changed is in how Norton presents its features--across the board the program is easier to navigate--and how the features operate.

The reputation-based security checks where your programs were installed from and when they were installed, and compares that data against the 58 million users participating in the crowd-sourced Norton Community Watch to see if any of your programs should be red-flagged. Norton's System Insight component has been bumped up to version 2.0, which is the proprietary internal network that warns you when your programs unnecessarily hog system resources. This gives some extra heft to the system performance map, where you can click on any spike and see what caused it.

The second iteration of Download Insight applies the same reputation-based logic to new downloads, and the third version of Norton SONAR (Symantec Online Network for Automatic Response) looks for suspicious software behavior and automatically chooses protective actions. You can toggle how aggressive SONAR is in the Settings window.

Along with the quick scan, full system scan, and the custom scan for viruses and malware, you can now have Norton scan your Facebook wall for malicious links. There's also on-demand reputation-based quick scans, full scans, and custom scans for users who want Norton to immediately scan their installed programs. After completing a scan, Norton provides users with a summary report. More-detailed information, including scan duration and a deeper dive into threats discovered, can be read under the History option from the main window. There's also a link so that you can follow in case you believe that Norton missed something in its scan, although as the reputation-based protection matures, the need for on-demand scanning becomes less of an issue when compared with the "always-on" protection offered here.

The bootable recovery tool isn't new, but it now comes with a feature that automatically creates a CD, DVD, or USB-based bootable device. The USB component is especially important on optical-drive free systems such as Netbooks.

Norton continues to dabble in free security offerings, including the Norton Online Family parental controls, the "lite" version of Norton Safe Web, and the new Norton Power Eraser. Power Eraser is a new tool that will aggressively clean your computer of fake antivirus programs and other malware that prevents legitimate security tools from being installed. Unlike Norton Internet Security 2011, Norton AntiVirus lacks access to all of these. It also doesn't have an anti-spam guard, and lacks parental controls and identity protection tools.

As with the rest of the program, the support options have been streamlined behind a drop-down menu in the top right of the interface. Help opens local support, Tutorials takes users to a Web site with extensive how-tos, and the "Get Support" link accesses the breadth of Norton's customer support in a new window. Here, users can chat with tech support 24-7, explore the user manual, and check out the Norton FAQ and knowledge base. Phone support is also available, although Symantec takes part of the trend to make phone support harder to access by funneling users to online resources.

Performance

Norton's fast installation and comprehensive feature set would be useless without solid performance, and Norton AntiVirus 2011 delivers extremely high third-party efficacy benchmarks and strong performance benchmarks.


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