Symantec Norton Internet Security 2009 beta
How is it looking?
- Install time, user interface, Norton Insight, silent mode
- Location of CPU usage meter may be a little obscure, AntiPhishing issues
The beta of NIS 2009 shows that Symantec is on track to vastly improve performance in Norton. The UI is clear and uncluttered, putting front and centre only the elements most users need to see, while allowing for easy drill-down for those who want more. Having said that, we'd like the CPU usage meter to be easier to access. It would match the product's one-click ease of use in other areas. Still, with so much performance enhancement, such quibbles get left in the dust of this speedy, smooth new suite.
Ready, set, go
We installed the NIS 2009 beta and found the security suite already clocking in at impressive speeds. The install time has vastly improved over that of Norton Internet Security 2008, which takes 30 minutes to install. It took between three to four minutes, which doesn't quite hit Symantec's claimed one-minute install, but we're not going to quibble over two or three minutes with such a quantum leap in install speed.
The process itself was painless except for a script-loading error, which didn't interfere with the beta install. The initial, full-system scan took 2 hours, 9 minutes, picking up only two tracking cookies out of 195,176 items scanned.
NIS 2009's user interface has been overhauled into a sharp, high-contrast and semitransparent screen stripped down to the bare essentials of what most users want to see: computer stats, network stats and a way to quickly access all of the user's log-in data (featuring a link to a new Identity Safe technology that will lift the hassle of passwords and log-ins off of users' shoulders).
Getting performance up to speed
Regardless of whether NIS deserves it, customers are in fact blaming security suites for sluggish performance. In fact, Symantec has been citing an August 2007 NPD Group market study of customers who switched security suites. It found that of those who switched, 39 percent blamed performance, 28 percent blamed functionality, and only 23 percent pointed to price.
In fact, in NIS 2009, Symantec is covering its backside when it comes to getting blamed for performance drag. Instead of just assuming that your security suite is causing performance degradation, you should be able to check NIS 2009's version of the Task Manager's CPU Meter, which should spell out whether Norton or other system components are to blame.
We say "should" because we couldn't find this feature, even though other reviewers have cited it as being on the main home screen. Ultimately, a support technician told me that the CPU usage meter is found only in the NIS 2009 .61 build but is missing from the later .69 build that we tested. When the final product ships, you should be able to find the meter under Settings, Auto Protect, Configure, Miscellaneous.
So we couldn't drill down into CPU Meter, but we're looking forward to seeing it in the final product. We question why Symantec is so thoroughly hiding it away from easy access, however. After all, if security companies are tired of being blamed for poor CPU performance, shouldn't a don't-blame-me feature be front and centre?
One particularly big performance boost in NIS 2009 comes from what Symantec claims is an industry first: Norton Insight, a technology that identifies trusted files that don't require a scan, thus drastically whittling down the number of files that require scanning in the first place.
Leveraging data from millions of Norton Community members, Norton Insight lets Norton security products avoid scanning files that are found on most computers and statistically determined to be trusted. Symantec estimates that more than 65 percent of files will never need to be scanned, but we lucked out: the Norton Process Trust page graphically rendered the pleasing fact that 77 percent of the files on our test system are trusted, leaving a mere 23 percent that required scanning. NIS 2009 also promises to avoid redundant multiple scans, such as those that occur before, during and after a file is copied.
Symantec has also introduced features such as silent mode, which automatically suspends alerts and updates to avoid interrupting or slowing down games, movies or other presentations.
All in all, performance has improved drastically. After a week of running the beta, we're no longer interrupted by updates and scans, some of which managed to crash our poky test system under Norton Internet Security 2008. Instead, after we return from leaving the system idle for any appreciable time, we find a message telling us that updates are being done — updates that stop until we wander off again.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Hacker hijacks thousands of publicly exposed printers to warn owners
- Britain's wartime codebreaking base could host a national cyber security college
- Kaspersky Labs says Microsoft is anticompetitive towards third-party antivirus
- Password manager LastPass now works on all your devices for free
- Netgear tweaks its home security camera line by introducing the Arlo Pro
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTConsultant Business AnalystQLD
- CCTest Automation EngineerVIC
- FTStorage Solution ArchitectVIC
- TPChange and Communications CoordinatorQLD
- CCIT Procurement OfficerNSW
- TPProject Coordinator/Junior Project ManagerVIC
- TPSCCM SpecialistVIC
- FTSalesforce AdministratorQLD
- CCTelecommunication Operations SpecialistTAS
- CCSolution DesignerVIC
- FTChief Architect - Public SectorACT
- FTSenior Full Stack .Net Developer - Internet of ThingsNSW
- FTJava Developer/IntegratorACT
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Positive Vetting, NV2 or NV1 required!!SA
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- TPDesktop Support OfficerQLD
- TPTest AnalystQLD
- TPSenior Network EngineerWA
- FTBusiness AnalystNSW
- TPEnvironment Specialist(DevOps)QLD
- CCDevops Consultant - 12 month contractVIC
- TPiOS Developer (Mobile)NSW
- CCSolution Architect - Financial applicationsVIC
- CCNetwork ArchitectWA
- FTInfrastructure Architect (Adelaide Based)VIC