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Norton 360 3.0 (version 2.0) PC Review - -

Installation 8.0
Ease of use 9.0
Usefulness 8.0
Value 8.0
Distributor: Symantec
Review Date:
May 2009
Ho Wong


Norton 360 Version 3.0


There are only a few pieces of software that I would recommend for every computer. The first is an antivirus with updated virus files. The second is a properly configured firewall. The third (which has been a late addition to my list) is a backup software. The third was only really added after close run-ins with losing my data and realising just how much important data one actually has accumulated over the years. In the last few years, several companies have released all-in-one solutions to capture this market. Symantec has just released the newest version of their all-in-one–Norton 360 version 3.0. How does it rate?


  • Protects your PC, online activities and your identity 24/7 – Delivers award-winning protection against viruses, spyware, worms, phishing, hackers, and more in one complete, fully automated solution.
  • NEW! Provides industry-leading security without slowing you down — Runs fast and uses less memory than competing programs, so you won’t sacrifice performance for security.†
  • NEW! Blocks botnets — Automatically detects botnets to prevent hackers from taking control of your PC and accessing your private information.
  • NEW! Makes online shopping safer — Warns you of unsafe websites and suspicious sellers so you can shop without worry.
  • Protects your identity when you buy, bank or browse online —Validates authentic sites and identifies fraudulent sites to protect you from “phishing.”
  • Offers secure, one-click login to web sites — Automatically stores your logins and passwords so you can sign into sites with a single click. Blocks keystroke loggers and other programs that can steal your information.
  • Secures your browser from attacks — Prevents cybercriminals from using vulnerabilities in your web browser to load malware onto your PC.
  • NEW! Delivers up to the minute virus protection — Automatically checks for new virus definitions every 5 to 15 minutes and downloads them in the background.† You get continuous protection without sacrificing performance.
  • NEW! Protects your important files from loss — Automatically backs up files when your PC is idle, so backups won’t slow you down or get in your way. Includes 2 GB of secured online storage (with option to purchase more).NEW!
  • Speeds up PC boot time — Turns off unnecessary startup programs to get your PC up and running faster.
  • Defends your wireless network from intruders — Prevents unauthorized users from stealing your bandwidth and accessing your files. Warns you when you connect to an unsecured wireless network.
  • Helps make your PC run like new again — Deletes unnecessary files, defrags your hard drive, fixes common problems, and tunes up your PC to keep it running at peak performance.
  • Includes FREE 24/7 technical support — We’ve got your back. Get free expert help via email, live chat, or over the phonewith a single click.

Norton 360 is more than just the Antivirus/Firewall/Backup solution. It also includes anti-phishing protection and various tune-up utilities. It installs into a small icon on your system tray which when opened, displays a control centre containing the 4 major areas: PC Security, Identity Protection, Backup, PC Tune up. It is here that any alerts, that need attention, are shown. There was a time when Symantec had problems with the strain their software exerted on your computer, but Norton 360 feels lightweight and quick, even on my msi Wind. The user interface is slick and clean.

PC Security.
This is the module for defending against worms/spyware/viruses and other malware. As usual, Symantec's LiveUpdate component handles the signature updates. I have always found the updating of Symantec's products to be painfree and I found this to be the case with Norton 360. The efficacy of the virus protection has forever been one of the major selling points of Symantec products and with Symantec Antivirus engine working behind the scenes, one trusts that they are being protected by one of the more effective engines out there. One interesting aspect is the idea of a comprehensive scan, which includes the obvious malware scans but adds disk optimisation.

Disk optimisation is a bit of a misnomer as it includes a defrag (whose necessity. for NTFS, is debatable) and also includes a registry clean. This may be a trap for the unwary, thinking they are tuning up their disk, while in fact, are fiddling with something that could seriously break something I have never been a fan of registry cleaners who do bulk "fixes" and am of the school of thought that one should not go into the registry unless absolutely necessary, and certainly not for a spring cleaning or tuneup. The comprehensive scan also frees up disk space and does a back up. As a reasonably technical user, I think this coupling makes a strange combination. The firewall's configuration can also be found here as well and is as configurable as you would expect, with a nice, user-friendly interface to boot. My personal opinion is that a local firewall is not that important if you are behind a properly configured router, but it's always a good idea to have one.


Identity Protection
This seems to be a hot topic at the moment and the centrepiece of this is the Norton Safe Web, (similar to McAfee SiteAdvisor). While browsing the internet with supported browsers, the Norton toolbar will receive information on the site you are visiting and alert you if it is a fraudulent web site. This may be useful for sites in the database, but users should be aware of new sites not in the database. It also allows you to securely save your usernames/passwords under a master password.

The Backup area is a nice addition to the toolkit, allowing users to create back up sets with already defined filesets (e.g. Documents, Videos, Photos, Financial Documents) and schedule them accordingly. Depending on the version, users may also be allowed access to an online backup location. As the major rule of backup, your most important files need to be backed up and they really should be backed up to a location off-site. One feature that seems to be missing, when compared to Norton Ghost, is a system backup, which allows you to back up windows system files, in case your computer suffers a major fault preventing start up, which for a product that seems to portray an air of completeness, is surprising to have been omitted.


PC tuenup.
The PC Tune up area is just a bit of a grab bag of small utilities and, from my point of view, of limited usefulness: a defragger, a temporary file deleter, a report generator (which generates a report of your hardware and software) and a startup manager. The most useful utility is probably the startup manager, which is similar to a lot of free utilities that you can download, but has a user friendly interface. The start up manager allows you to turn on and off what is loaded at startup, potential improving startup time.

All in all, Norton 360 is a pretty complete package and is great for people needing an anti virus and don't know where to start. You get one of the best anti virus engines around, up to date virus signatures plus a competent firewall and an easy to use backup. All is hidden behind a clean user interface and the software is lightweight and quick.

Rating (8/10)


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