Norton's super-suite goes beyond just the usual virus, spyware, and firewall guards to offer a full backup service as well as system optimization, including defragmentation and cleanup. To its credit, the previously resource-hungry Norton has slimmed its core engines down considerably to deliver a smooth and unobtrusive shield. In most cases, the program's background intelligence can determine whether to allow or disallow traffic without the relentless pop-up warnings other tools have. The handy at-a-glace console gives novices an easy way to see their security status, and the deeper Settings area lets the hardcore user fiddle with specific aspects of the setup. Running on Vista, Norton 360 reported occasional internal errors it didn't fully explain, but that didn't seem to interfere with functionality. Symantec plans to bring Norton 360 2.0 out of beta later in 2008.
More security tools for every threat: