Norton lightens security workload on the novice

New Norton release reviewed

After my rather disappointing impression of Norton Internet Security 2008

(Computerworld, January 21), I was keen to try the new Norton 360.

This is a similar bundle of all the things you need to keep yourself safe online, but designed for the absolute novice. It launches and configures itself as automatically as possible and quietly sits in the background — though I still find it a little too naggy for comfort.

A redesigned interface gives ready access to the multifarious applications — antivirus, anti-phishing, password cache and, additional to security, backup and PC tune-up — and allows moderately easy manual configuration for those with rather more knowledge or desire to fiddle.

Norton Internet Security 2008 suffers from the widespread assumption that a novice user will need big obvious icons in lollipop colours. Not knowing a lot about operating stem internals doesn’t imply partial eyesight or poor hand-eye co-ordination (though some users, of course, will thank Symantec for its attention to accessibility).

The virus and phishing side of the product detected everything I dared throw at it.

It insisted that I remove Norton Internet Security 2008 before installing Norton 360, but let me keep my existing backup utility.

The Norton 360 backup and restore categorises files — pictures, videos, financial files, Microsoft Office documents — and offers particular categories en bloc for restoration (with all files in a category ticked by default).

I find this counter-intuitive and prone to potentially overwriting a new copy in primary storage with an older one from the backup. I find the conventional file tree of the backup function in Norton Save and Restore much easier to work with. Backups can be scheduled to for when the PC is idle.

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