Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 (beta)

Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2010 is more notable for what's under the hood, boasting reputation-based protection as an extra layer.

Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010
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Pros

  • New reputation-based security technology from Quorum, interface is simple and straightforward, lets you dig into security details, doesn't take up too much RAM or system resources

Cons

  • In our beta tests we had hiccups with our installation, had to find virus updates before it would perform a scan

Bottom Line

If you're a user of Norton Internet Security 2009, it's certainly worth going to the newer version, because Quorum will most likely make you safer, and the new features are worthy additions. Not only that, but the upgrade is free. As for whether to switch to NIS 2010 from a different internet protection program, that's a tougher call. The interface is certainly simple and straightforward, and also lets you dig into security details. There's no way to evaluate yet whether the new tools will be more effective than the old ones; only widespread use and exposure to many malware threats will tell.

Would you buy this?

Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010: installation woes

The initial download of the beta installs a small piece of software that in turn downloads the beta itself, which is 88.5MB. Installation is relatively fast. In our case, it first uninstalled Panda Internet Security, which was active on the test computer, before installing itself.

We had several hiccups with our installation. At one point, one of the installation screens said that it had encountered an unrecoverable error, but the rest of the installation still proceeded without issues. At another point, a screen popped up and told me that the program had encountered an error and was gathering information about it, but never said what the error was.

When we first tried scanning our system with Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010, it wouldn't perform a scan because the virus definitions weren't up to date. But after some clicking around, we managed to download the latest definitions, and the scan proceeded without a hitch.

Aside from installation glitches, there may be one very serious drawback to the Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 beta — the software says that the subscription is good for only 14 days. It's unclear whether the subscription will extend for free beyond the 14 days because it is still in beta.

So be warned that if you download the Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 software, it may not work properly after two weeks.

The Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 interface: you've seen it before

Users of Symantec Norton Internet Security 2009 will feel right at home with the new version of the program, because the basic interface and all its workings are nearly identical to the existing version.

The main screen is the control centre, which gives you access to your security functions and lets you turn features on and off. It's organised slightly differently than previous versions of the software, with three main sections: Computer, Network and Web (rather than the previous Computer, Web and Identity). Most of the underlying features, though, are the same.

As with the previous version, there are monitors on the left side of the main screen that show your CPU's current usage, and how much of that Norton is taking up. There's no real reason for showing you this information, except to drive home the point that Norton is no longer the bloated security suite of the past, and takes up much less RAM than previously.

That's certainly the case, although it still slows down your system more than lightweight antivirus tools such as Microsoft's recently released Microsoft Security Essentials or ALWIL Software's Avast!, both of which are free.

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