What’s Wrong With Norton AntiVirus?

[This article was originally published in the August 2007 issue of Triona’s Tech Tips. I’m reprinting it because I am continuing to see problems with the Norton suites slowing down Windows computers, and generally misbehaving. I’ve been recommending Trend Micro’s Internet Security suite, which is less expensive and less of a memory hog.]

Antivirus? Norton. For many consumers, those words go hand in hand. But us computer folks have sensed a changing tide for a while, and as a result we’ve been drifting from Symantec’s shores. Now the situation has become dire enough that I’ve decided to send up the red flag. Folks, you need to stop using the consumer Norton products until the problems with them are fixed.

Note that I’m talking specifically about the Norton programs intended for home use. Symantec’s corporate products are a cut above their consumer cousins, and I’m still recommending (and using) those. But concerns about the home versions are mounting.

Last year I mentioned some serious conflicts between the new Norton AntiVirus 2007 and Internet Explorer 7. Given that most consumers end up with IE7 via Microsoft’s Automatic Updates, this seems like a crime, or at least a grave oversight. Besides this notable issue, NAV 2007 is also a resource pig, taking up so much memory that all but the newest and fastest machines bog down.

Therefore, a lot of users have decided to skip the upgrade to 2007, in favor of renewing their subscriptions to the 2006 editions. Unfortunately, this isn’t a solid solution, because the spectres of perpetual upgrade work against us. Internet threats get trickier, and the only way to combat them is better protection software. To make matters worse, there are known bugs in Norton 2006 that can leave you open to threats. As we’ve seen, winding up with a zombied computer is no one’s idea of fun. And I have yet to see anything to convince me that 2008 will be a better year.

What are your antivirus alternatives? McAfee is Pepsi to Norton’s Coke, but I don’t always recommend it either because it’s had its own share of problems. (On the other hand, McAfee’s enterprise-level software is stellar.) I prefer Trend Micro Internet Security, ZoneAlarm Internet Security, or the free and paid versions of AVG. Given that Norton has become more trouble than it’s worth, I heartily encourage you to explore these alternatives.

Not to leave out the Mac folks; there are some good non-Norton options for you as well. Try Intego VirusBarrier or MacScan. If you run Windows on your Intel Mac, Intego VirusBarrier DualProtection will give you antivirus on both sides.

As for Norton, Symantec seems to be resting on its laurels. I’ll let you know if the situation improves.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Trinoa, wow, nice looking site, now to just get the background about 50% gray so your great looking blue and white page is set off nicely. – Doug.

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