All Round Protection
From the back and side, the box certainly looked like the standard packaging used by Symantec for its utility products. However turning the box around revealed a see-through panel showing the software CD as if indicating that the enclosed product could see through any malicious attack made on your system. This product is Norton 360 version 2.0 which arrives with the promise of providing all-in-one security with comprehensive, automatic protection.
When installing security products, you should be aware that competing titles do not like to co-exist in the same environment. In the case of Norton 360, the installation routine tends to get itself in a loop as it tries to resolve the problem of encountering a competitive offering by removing itself and then restarting the process. If this should happen to you then, as I discovered, removing the other security product will clear the way for Norton 360 to complete its installation which includes checks for any updates, entering the 25-character product licence key and activating the software via an on-line link.
You will also be advised to create a Norton Account if you don't already have one. This is a straightforward process requiring little more than providing a user-name, email address and password. As well as keeping you up-to-date and storing your product licence key in case you misplace it, the Norton Account is a necessary requirement in order to access the 2GB of storage space supplied for backup needs. (A premium version of the software gives 10GB of storage).
Along with the main Norton 360 software and online storage, Symantec includes a Norton Add-On pack as part of the standard package. This software needs to be downloaded (22.23MB) and then be installed separately. It adds parental control, antispam and confidential information blocking features to the main product. However you should be aware that, by default, only the antispam feature will be turned on automatically. It is a simple matter to activate the other two features.
Sitting in the background monitoring and protecting your system, Norton 360 allows you to access its features from a desktop icon, Start menu or system tray icon. This opens a status screen showing four large icons representing PC Security, Identity Protection, Backup and PC Tuneup. Colour coding, in the form of green for safe, red for risk and yellow for attention, provides feedback as to the state of each area.
As you move the mouse cursor over these four icons so a list of the appropriate topics will appear. PC Security is the area which deals with scanning for viruses, updates and Firewall management. With Identity Protection you can set up a password protected area that can be used for storing logins plus identity and browsing profiles. The Backup icon provides the means to backup and restore files using a variety of devices including Blu-ray and even an iPod. PC Tuneup contains tools to clean up your browser and Registry files plus optimise your hard disk.
If you prefer working with a more task orientated approach then Norton 360 offers a Task screen listing choices categorised as General and Backup. From this screen you can run scans, view statistics, access a diagnostic report, back up and restore files plus purchase additional storage space.
Although Norton 360 works in the background as it monitors activity and deals with threats, it does not keep you totally in the dark. A pop-up box will appear briefly stating when processing is in operation but it could hardly be considered intrusive. You can check on any actions carried out by Norton 360 by accessing the View Statistics from the Task screen.
The software is easy to use and was able to handle the various threats that were run against it. Norton 360 version 2.0 is available for £59.99 for a three-user licence (the previously mentioned premium version has been priced at £69.99). You will need to be running Windows XP/Vista with a 300MHz or better processor with 256MB of RAM and 300MB of available hard disk space.
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