Norton 360 3.0 still has the simplest interface of them all, and we like its Quiet Mode and zippy installation.
Installing the 75.7MB program took just 58 seconds. The zen white screen, accented with yellow and green, contains four task-oriented panes: Backup, Identity Protection, PC Security, and PC Tuneup. If you roll over a category, you’ll see a menu of more specific tasks. There’s also a menu with a longer list of tasks, such as backup and tune-up. Norton 360 automatically runs complete security and tune-up scans by default. However, the foolproof interface will leave advanced users disappointed by their inability to tweak the settings.
The Norton Safe Web feature warns users before entering unsafe or questionable sites. Meanwhile, Norton Identity Safe remembers usernames and passwords. You must first install the
Add-On Pack to get parental controls. Unfortunately, Norton 360 doesn’t let you restrict which applications your children use. Users can run a quick, complete, or custom scan, in which they choose which folders Norton 360 should check. It’s annoying that comprehensive scanning also includes a slow backup. Norton Insight, which users cannot opt out of, skips trusted files to speed up scans. The innovative Quiet mode suppresses pop-ups and handles security threats on its own without interrupting the user.
Norton 360 shows what process it’s working on, but there’s no progress bar during a scan. While one ran, Google Picasa, Internet Explorer, iTunes, and Microsoft Word open times rose by 4, 5, 8, and 2 seconds. Our notebook’s boot time rose by 15 seconds.
Now in its third iteration, there’s plenty to like about Symantec’s Norton 360. Its streamlined interface is easy to navigate, and offers users plenty of opportunities to automate system scans. BitDefender Total Security offers a better combination of an elegant interface, detailed parental controls, and lots of advanced features, but Norton 360 is a strong option.
Security Suite Lockdown: Top Programs for Protecting Your PC