Norton Antivirus 2008 vs Free Antivirus Software

Norton Antivirus 2008 vs Free Antivirus Software

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Norton Antivirus 2008 is shit.
Following invitation, recently installed the 2008 version of Norton Antivirus.

Free software
Usually you have to pay, but this was free so why not?

The software took a couple of minutes to download.
I installed it on 11th Dec.

The following major effects were noticed over the course of it’s short, but eventful life:-

  • System boot-time went from 10-20 seconds to more than 2 minutes.
    After a number of boots, this did not improve.
    I don’t see long boot-times as necessarily a bad thing. It can be indicative the software is doing it’s job learning the systems and programs, learning, after which it would become faster.
  • Boot times did not improve, running at roughly 2 minutes (4month old 1.8ghz Pentium dual core with 1gb of ram).
  • After 8 days running, system experienced stability issues, crashing Dreamweaver and Photoshop, two of the software’s I use every day.

When I came back to work on Wednesday, I essentially didn’t have a computer to work with.
It’s taken me from then, the 18th, till now, the 4th, to fix the problem and install firewall and virus protection i.e wasted about 8 days.

If you’re tempted to download Norton 2008, don’t.
Or if you do, be prepared:
Here’s what you have to do to get rid of the stuff.

Rolling (backwards)
I rolled back to 2007 which I had on disk.
That failed to renew the subscription and virus definitions.
I then had to roll back to 2006.
The subscription and virus definitions failed when I came to work on the 2nd.
This was despite having over 103 days of subs left.

Uninstalling Symantec
The uninstaller failed.
After searching, Yahoo Search
I visited the Symantec site where they have an Symantec Unistaller tool for when things go wrong.
Downloaded this.

Attempted to download and install Kapersky (internet software). Was told I had to uninstall Norton first.

I had no firewall to go surfing around the ‘net, pick up my emails or leave a broadband connection safetly.

Visited Cnet found this Revo uninstaller.
It identified the dynamic library and system entries which I had to go through and delete manually.

System now works.

Norton 2008 In summary
For anyone running an older system, I dread to think. You’re looking at dial-up style frustration say from a 1999 machine.
Paper readingly boring boot times.

Apparently Norton now charges for help facility so that goes some way to explaining why this release is so diabolical.
As an IT professional, non-core software should sit in the background. Quietly.

Here’s my own take Antivirus Software.

Evaluation of Anti-Virus Software 2008

£Free or £19.99
Pro’s: It’s free. Clean interface, easily navigable.
When I installed the paid version, it seemed to import all the Network Settings from Zone Alarm meaning I didn’t have to run the network set-up wizard on each computer or go round specifying individual IP addresses or ranges. An easy migration I think you’d call that.
The free version runs scheduled scans, something which Avast doesn’t do.
Con’s: After having run it for 2 months+ on two machines, free and paid versions.. none.
Installed: 2 Months
Download trial

Zone Alarm
Pro’s: It’s free. It’s fast.
Con’s: You’re going to need to be a bit of an expert. But I’m here to help you 🙂
a) To set up your home network.
You need to specify your Local IP Address and Subnet mask. You need to look at your Router>Setup> Internet settings retrieve the settings which should look something like this
Local IP Address
Subnet mask
and enter them in the Safe Zone manually.
Then it works just fine.
b) It offers a firewall and virus scanning software, none of the extra bits you may have become accustomed to twiddling around with.
Depending on whether the Internet is full of scary people out to get you OR you simply want a system protected from incoming threats decides whether you should choose this Anti-virus software.
As an IT Pro who spends every day on the ‘net, this software works just fine and is system friendly.
Installed: 5 days
Download trial

Pro’s: Easily the quickest in terms of getting connected, getting it’s shit and sitting quietly in the corner (like a good Russian should).
Con’s: Took a while to identify viruses, you may have to move the scanners above the default level to flush the system out. The Kapersky gets high rankings for finding viruses on your system, so you should see this as a Pro as long as you set the levels right.
Set up the scans correctly and this will be the case.
Slight spectre of overiding security issues with Kapersky being located in the good old USSR.
Installed: 1 month
Download trial

Pro’s: Spam filtering binned all the stuff I would have deleted myself.
Con’s: Compared with the other softwares here; slightly long boot times.
Scan’s: Scheduled scans seemed to take a decade, on Friday I seemed to be pulling my hair out then realised the system was on scan. At least on Norton you get the icon telling you there’s something happening, this doesn’t happen with F-Secure.
Installed: 1 month
Download trial

Pro’s: Faster boot times than F-Secure.
Con’s: Needs a lot of work doing on the interface. Patience and manual dexterity are the name of the game if you want the software to work.
For example: If you have a persistent spam, you need to go into the message source and manually scoop that emailers address then paste it into AVG’s blocked senders list. This is the only way to block incoming emails without them entering your inbox.
Setting up a local network: Again, a cut and paste job. You’re going into the router, finding the IP range and subnet mask and adding them to your trusted networks.
I couldn’t achieve a two way connection even after fiddling round. Not ideal if you’re planning to share your workload between rooms, people or computers. If you plan to network, follow the steps in Zone Alarm
Installed: 1 month
Download trial

Most of these software’s are either more complex and do less or don’t work as well on the things you really want, Avira/Zone Alarm work as well if not better than anything Norton has done in the past and steam ahead of the current release.
In terms of the Spam blocking, Norton still takes a lot of beating, F-Secure probably comes the closest in that respect.
Kapersky was good in that it was fast with high virus availability and lurked in the background with little problem. I hardly knew it was there.
Free software, I plumped for Zone Alarm and Avira. I can recommend it as the software which works to protect you from malicious threats on the Internet, Avira did a great job in mopping up, deleting spam and doing the weekly maintenance
Unlike Norton Antivirus 2008, none of these softwares stopped my computer working and crashed all my software then asked me to phone a helpline.
Shame on you Norton.

One thought on “Norton Antivirus 2008 vs Free Antivirus Software

  1. I had enormous problems with Norton, too, and found Symantec to be most unhelpful. The same was true for their WinFax software.

    McAfee seems more reliable, but boot still does take about a couple of minutes.

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