Symantec Norton Antivirus 2006
Windows platform antivirus protection for files, email,
internet, instant messenger.
Deragon, Visca Consulting
Friday, December 24, 2005; 7:30pm EST
Virus protection has become an absolute necessity in
maintaining computer integrity, and selecting the most reliable
virus detection software has become more important than ever before.
New viruses and new methods of infection make detection and
eradication all the more difficult, therefore requiring the vast
resources of a company that can keep up with the influx of new virus
has long been established as the benchmark software for virus
detection and removal, and their new Norton Antivirus 2006 edition
continues it's trend of gradual program refinements and
Installation of the
software is a relatively easy process, allowing time for a pre-scan
of your computer and multiple reboots. The process was straight
forward and required little user intervention. However, at the end
of the installation the program became confused with numerous
message alerts that conflicted with one another as to whether it was
telling you updates were available; the fact that it was updating;
and that you should check for updates and install them. While it is
easy to resolve all of these conflicting reports, this is definitely
something that could have been better handled by the installation
Once the software
is installed, you have one system tray icon giving you access to the
Norton Antivirus 2006 program; and another icon that sits in your
windows task bar connected to the system tray. We were not
particularly thrilled about this "Norton Protection Center" icon as
it serves little more than to notify you of what Norton products are
installed, and whether they are working. While this can be switched
to the system tray to occupy less screen real estate, it
unfortunately cannot be disabled.
When you open the
Norton Antivirus 2006 program by the system tray icon or Start menu
icon, you are presented with an interface similar to the previous
version, that is clean, informative and well laid out. From this
screen you can easily change settings and perform tasks as needed.
Norton Antivirus 2006 offers an excellent level of customizability,
allowing you to configure every aspect of its operation...
everything from how it handles email viruses to what instant
messengers should be protected. While Norton Antivirus 2006
automatically updates its self and its virus "definitions" in the
background, you can also perform a manual update check. However, you
will find little need to do anything manually with Norton Antivirus,
it is a very hands-off and transparent program that will do its job
well without any real user intervention.
2006 covers just about any possible entry and exit point for a
virus, leaving you well protected from receiving or transmitting a
virus. Norton covers file (including compressed archive files) and
email based viruses, instant messenger transmitted viruses, trojan
horses, internet worms, keystroke logging software, adware and
spyware. Adware and spyware scanning is a much needed enhancement to
this new version, adware and spyware is a serious problem that
should be treated like a virus, and thus be part of antivirus
software. While Norton Antivirus 2006 covers the 3 popular MSN,
Yahoo and AIM instant messengers, we were disappointed in the
absence of Skype protection.
Also new this year,
is the ability to perform quick scans instead of performing a
lengthy full system scan each time you check your computer in
addition to the background scanning. The quick scan targets typical
virus locales and skips all of the less susceptible areas of your
computer. This version also prevents malicious programs from
changing your browser's home page settings.
We found this version an improvement in both scan speeds and
detection rates. Immediately 2006 found 3 viruses the previous
version did not. We performed a full system scan on our test box
(Pentium 4 3.6GHz, 160GB SATA-II drive, 1GB memory running Windows
XP) and scanned 480,551 files in approximately 52 minutes. We also
noticed that email scanning performance has been vastly improved
over the previous version; which was an item we hoped was going to
be addressed and has been.
In addition to very
regular updates of the virus definition files it uses to detect and
clean viruses, it also utilizes technologies that attempt to detect
yet unknown viruses. We were impressed with how Norton handles the
virus detection and removal process, allowing you to take full
control of what to do, or allow Norton to automatically determine
what to do with the virus. Norton even provides you with detailed
information about the virus it has detected, courtesy of its online
database. However, some of the virus information provided tends to
be a bit confusing and would not be overly helpful to the typical
Overall, we are
pleased with the handful of improvements made to Norton Antivirus
2006, taking the dependability and quality of the previous version
and adding needed enhancements. The great thing about Norton
Antivirus 2006 is its great install it and forget it attitude. This
is exactly what most consumers want - all the protection, without
having to take a crash course in computer security to get it. We
like the clean interface; improved performance; the 'every access
point covered' mantra of the program; and would definitely recommend
it to any home or small business user.
2006 works on Windows XP Home / Professional and Windows 2000
Professional with 300MHz or higher processor; 256MB of memory and
150MB of available drive space and a CD or DVD drive as its minimum
specifications. Norton Antivirus 2006 retails for a very reasonable
$39.99USD, and includes a 12 month subscription of program updates
and new virus definition downloads. This product is available from
most major computer and electronics stores, and the Symantec web
site. It is available at the time of this review being published.
PROS - Improved
scanning performance and transparency, plus a "quick scanning"
coverage now includes full adware and spyware detection and removal;
better virus detection rate; clean and easy to use interface; the
excellent variety of access points and virus formats covered;
regularity of virus definition updates.
CONS - Confused
installation process; useless "Norton Protection Center" system tray icon;
would have liked to see Skype virus scanning added to the current 3
instant messengers covered.
About The Author
Jon Deragon is president and founder of Visca Consulting, a firm
specializing in web site design, development and usability for
businesses of all sizes. His many years in the technology industry has
enabled him to write quality, in-depth product reviews to assist
businesses make more informed technology purchases. He welcomes any
questions or comments you may have regarding his company's services,
this review or interest in having your company's products reviewed.