Symantec Norton 360 Review with Screenshots

Symanteclogo_1Symantec recently released the beta version of its new security suite: Norton 360. The question is whether the 360 part of the name refers to what Symantec would have you believe: “Norton gives you a full circle of protection.” Or could it refer to Symantec doing a 360 and being right back where it started with a bloated, buggy, and overpriced product?

When I covered the Norton AntiVirus 2006 release last year, the thread turned into a place for consumers to vent on how the product caused more problems than fixes. Some were even wishing for a class-action lawsuit. Well, I’ve been playing with the latest iteration for a few days now to see which implication of using the term 360 is true. Here’s what I found:

The installation process feels about the same. The program first asked me to remove AVG (my current anti-virus) and Spybot (my current anti-spyware) but did allow for the option of skipping through to the next screen. Norton 360 also wanted me to create an account online, enter a product key, and perform a quick scan, etc. (click to enlarge picture below to see the new interface). All but the product key could be avoided.

Then Live Update needed to run for the software to get the most current virus definitions, followed by a restart of the computer (when will Symantec make software than doesn’t require a restart after an update?). The only change other than a slightly different look: the quick scan actually seemed quite snappy for my 150 gigabyte hard drive that’s mostly full.

N360quickscan_1

Liveupdate_1

Once I was through the infamous Norton install process, I made it to a dashboard like splash screen which has four circles with green checkboxes to illustrate that I’m protected. Of course, they weren’t all green to start (see picture below). I had a yellow warning and a red warning, one for weak passwords and another for not having configured my backup yet. Incidentally, these are two new features most notably different than previous Norton offerings.

The reason I had weak passwords was because I didn’t have any for the Windows logon I was using (see picture below for how Norton handles it). So I had to manually go into the settings to tell Norton not to worry about my weak passwords. Honestly, I’m not sure if this new feature is all that great. I mean, reminding me to have a password for my login is nice, I suppose, even if it’s not at the top of the list when I think of security for a home computer.

Weakpassword_1

The Norton backup feature is only good for 150 megabytes of online storage during the beta period, though this is what Symantec says about the future release: “When released Norton 360 will include 2GB of online storage for no extra cost.” This is disappointing. The interface looks fine enough (click to enlarge the two pictures below), but 2 gigs? Mozy already offers that much backup space for free while Carbonite offers unlimited space for backups for only $5 per month. The point is that Symantec doesn’t look all that impressive when throwing in only the bare minimum on a new feature that others have already done well.

N360quickbackup_1

N360backupdetails_1

Another newish feature: a big green anti-phishing toolbar in Internet Explorer (see below). I’m sure it probably does a fine job, but it’s big, ugly, and obtrusive, not to mention the fact that it’s taking care of a problem already addressed by most recent browsers themselves. Also, it was kind of annoying when Norton automatically deleted my browsing history upon installation. So it’s in my face when it doesn’t need to be and does things automatically that I’d rather have the choice of doing myself.

N360toolbar_1

In short, this is still very much the Norton product we’ve known and are used to. The interface seems intuitive and the protection is probably fine. But I think I’ll probably end up using individual products that feel superior to Symantec’s latest attempt at gluing together not-as-impressive individual components in the hopes of the “full circle of protection” message overshadowing any individual product deficiencies.

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  • Luker

    Norton has sucked and caused nothing but problems since 2000.
    Still cant believe MSFT bundles this crap with Windows.
    Anyone who pays for Norton will be sorry.

    Merry Xmas & EFF U Norton.

  • John

    Er… Where do you get a product key? I just looked on symantecs site and can’t find anywhere that you can sign up for a key.

  • http://www.computers.net Bob Caswell

    John,

    You get the product key in an email Symantec sends you. Try this link:

    http://symantec.com/norton360beta/betacenter/n360betadownload.html

  • John

    Well I havn’t received mine. It’s been 4 days. And I used that link.

  • Ken

    I don’t like the fact that it shows that I need to do a live update but when l click the icon to do it, it shows that it’s downloading then it disconnects saying live update could not be completed then it says error 5. What’s up with that????? That needs a quick fix if they want folks to pay big money for 360.

  • eddddd89

    I have Norton 2006 and have not had a single problem. Used to use Norton 2003 and that effed everything up but 2006 has been flawless for me.

  • Jimp

    Eberything Norton is shite except AntiVirus corporate (sometimes).
    Can you believe the idiots removed the Parental Controls from the NIS 2007??? That was about the only feature I relied on. Vista PC are good but not too flexible.

  • Prakash

    Can anybody post norton 360 product key please?

  • Joe Shingles

    Norton 360 is about as useful as turning an old condom inside out, and as enjoyable as committing suicide with a lawnmower. It’s over invasive, will slow your computer to a crawl and CANT BE TURNED OFF!!!!

  • Darren

    Where is the anti spam definitions?

  • Richard Bates

    The Parental Controls and Anti-Spam features are now available as a FREE Add-On pack that you download from the symantec website. I have never had any problems with Norton for 7 years.

  • Toyman

    The 360 review didn’t include information about PC TUNEUP. What does it do?
    I’ve also been using Norton for many years without serious problems. Only complaint is that I can’t completely install Systemworks Pro over NIS 2006. Ghost & Winfax won’t run. Not a problem since I use other products instead.

  • Leanne

    I bought Norton 360 and installed it on my nice new machine, thinking I was doing the right thing.. however, after installing it, it started to slowly kill my machine, it would shut down IE as I was running IE7 with the Google Tool Bar, so I removed that, then it would come up with useless JavaScript (blank) errors, so I tried uninstalling it, nope didn’t fix a damn thing..

    After an hour on the phone to their “technical” support (IN INDIA) with no results and them telling me that it was a “coinsidence” that my computer was crashing.. And being told that Norton does NOT effect any program running (and somehow magically corrupted IE7 because of a phishing filter problem and decided to kill my JavaScript functions – inc Windows Explorer).. I demanded a refund.. I had to reformat my machine and I’m STILL trying to fix the problems that it had caused!!

    I have heard other bad reviews since my problem and I do NOT recommend anyone uses Norton as it’s obviously had no user testing before they decided to put it out on the market, now my source of income has come to a complete hault and it’s a lot of stress and hard work to get everything back up to how it’s supposed to be.

    Not happy at all.

  • Jonathan

    All you guys who think Norton is great – LOOK OUT! I fumbled with it for 4 years but since I hadn’t had any major problems – I decided to go ahead with the Norton 360 upgrade. Now I have a computer that runs slower than my old Radio Shack Model 4 did and is about as useful. How does this company get away with this. Everyone I have talked to says how great they are to take your money but the program is garbage, over priced and is now actually distructive. And to think I paid them for all this!

  • Celan

    I have Norton for years… lately it started “fighting” my Eudora with reference memory loss so I did get new 360 paid and installed then BANG the stupid Fraud Monitoring Bar which NOT only slowed my browsing ( as I guess it scans for something who knows what) but many times has disabled the display so I get “Done” on the task bar below but it stays blank or after MANY seconds allows the page to display…
    …. anyone please know how to get rid off this idiotic bar can you e mail me??

  • JohnT

    If memory serves, the 2006 Norton products were so bad, that even PC Magazine didn’t give them their usual Editor’s Choice status. I stuck with Norton AV 05 and Norton Personal Firewall 05, to avoid “suit bloat”.

    Thankfully, in NIS07 and N360, Symantec apparently makes their “junk programs” and optional download.

    N360 sounds too automatic for my tastes. I will take a look at NIS08, when it is released, and consider other programs, when my current Norton subscription expires.

  • John hartley

    I have had the same experience. I fell prey to the great reviews in PCMAG.online and installed Norton 360 and it has slowed my machine to a crawl. What good is a product that would destroy performance? I hope the support people can help me but from the latter reviews from the trenches I doubt I’ll have much success.

  • Pat O’Hara

    Just to add to the general din about Norton 360, I upgraded to 360 on the laptop my mother-in-law just bought for Christmas–thinking I was doing her a favor–the 90 day free trial of Norton Anti-virus had expired. Well, like a number of respondents here, my mother in law now has a machine slowed to a crawl, with programs that spontaneously close, and other bizarre manifestations that I haven’t seen in my 23 years of microcomputing. I am not a techie, but what I do know is that this machine just hummed along before I installed 360 and runs like a 1980′s 366 now. My mother-in-law wants to know what I did to break her machine. Is there a Symantec exec one can write directly to do something about this?

  • http://www.computers.net Bob Caswell

    Pat,

    I wonder what we could do to get Symantec execs to read the stories here. Or we *do* need to get a hold of some email addresses somehow…

  • sochib

    give me product key norton 360

  • http://www.millikanlegal.com Greg

    Gosh, I wish I had read this stuff 1st. We added it today (4/11) to two machines to replace NAV05, one old admin machine we run a bulk network printer and Itunes across [128M memory uh-oh; no mention of system minimum or halt during install... now Itunes won't run, or anything else], and a newer machine. Since it deleted our downloaded NAV05, I know we’ll run into problems if we uninstall. Looks like time on the phone coming up… so sad.

  • Bruce Speirs

    Installed norton 360 over the internet which took about 3 hours with the so called help of a foreign tech. that you could hardly understand. The printer quit communicating in which we chatted back to norton in which they said it wasn’t their problem. We reinstalled the printer which worked until we turned off the commputer and turned it back on with the same problem. It slows down the computer a lot. We had norton 2005 with no problems. They better go back to the drawing boards.

  • Jean DL

    I choose to install Norton 360 upgrade for 3 computers instead of renewal of my NAV 2006 annual fees. Installation and Live Update went very well, but that was the end of the fun. IE7 was blocked, as well as outlook 2000 email. Also Win XP pro started to behave quite differently. I had once the opportunity to access the general settings of Norton 360 and tried to change the settings of backups. Since then the program is scanning almost for ever. I cannot remove the damned thing and my computer is crippled. Shame over Symantec. This will be my last buy.

  • Priyabrata

    Look…… Whoever tells symantec softwares Garbage Are nothing else than NON-SENCE.Nortn Slows down yr PC but this problem didn’t persist in 360 version. It gives SUPERB SECURITY To its Users. So, Think TWICE before making any comments against Symantec’s products.

  • don’t touch it

    I have used Norton for years, 360 is junk. DO NOT BUY IT. I thought that I would try the tech to fix it. NO WAY. I don’t like MS but they should put Norton out of business and bundle a product that works.
    I’m going to get my money back if it takes a $1,000 dollars to do it.
    What a piece of crap.

  • aw

    After installation simply cannot use it or uninstall it even by using the norton removal tool!!!

  • Tuomas Tynjälä

    I had terrible experiences with Norton 360 and Windows Vista. It will install fine but after reboot it won’t start, complaining about internal error. Their support site tells me to uninstall the 360 with their removal tool and re-install. But this won’t help, same happens. Their support tells me the same thing than the support site (even when I indicate that I’ve already tried it at it won’t help).

    After wasting about 300$ worth of working time for this I switched to F-Secure. Their Vista product is still beta but it already works MUCH better – no problems whatsoever. My company will never by any Symantec product again. Stay away from this product, this is rip-off crap.

  • Disappointed

    I just purchased Nortons 360 yesterday, today I can not send or recieve e-mail through Office Outlook at all. I keep getting an error message saying that it’s sending an error report, every time I click send recieve. Talked with Symantec support today and after screwing around for about 30 hour, it still doesn’t work and the tech told me to contact my ISP. Ugh.

  • Leo

    I should not have purchased Norton 360. IE7 is now crawling or crashing. Thank God i didnt put this on my laptop to. Wish I could return it.

  • hmmmm

    lol norton 360 works fine with me. doesnt slow me down. u can trun off norton 360 if u want u guys are bafling lol 512 of ram i can run virus nd spy ware check and it wont effect my copmputer. if u ever bother changing setting on ur 360 it might make a difrence. hmmm norton does not suck u guys just got………no idea. if u cant do something change settying takes 1 mins to change it to ur need sigh !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Aaron

    Try Nod32. So lightweight you’ll never notice it running, never requires a reboot (that I can remember), cheap, fast, reliable. There are other good options but if you value performance and lack of bloat first, then Nod32 might be the best. (http://www.eset.com/)
    It’s slightly more technical than other options, but you don’t have to get into the technical parts unless you want to, and at least it isn’t so offensively condescending as Norton.

  • Nic

    Norton 360 isnt bad, although on Vista, the scanner “hangs” and does not complete. Its becoming a pain in the…. Any who, Nod32 is an amazing problem – the only reason i got rid of it and installed norton was for the firewall.

  • Nic

    Nod32 is an amazing program*, sorry.

  • Kevin

    DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT!! After 4 reinstalls of norton and one reinstall of windows vista I am now out $80 bucks. I want to shoot someone for this bullshit. Dont even think about getting technical support from symantec either haha.

  • scott

    have used norton for years without any problems until 360, nothing but spam and pop ups i think this bull *#$@& add on pack is for the birds does it work? i think not but it does have alot on nice settings but i’am still tring to fiqure out why cause it don’t change a damn thing wow what a headache

  • Robert

    More than happy to leave a comment here about Norton 360:

    1. Upon installation there was no choice but to create an account with Norton. There reasoning for this is along the lines of how they can then give you your key if you lose it AND it let’s you use the Backup feature. None of this really makes sense to me and it seems to be too manipulative. What irks me the most was that I was not given the opportunity to skip the signup and simply activate the product via the key that came with it.

    2. That green bar that shows up in the browser is ugly and I just don’t appreciate it.

    3. Norton’s marketing machine has me confused. On their site they have a product comparison chart that shows Internet Security 2008 to provide greater Network protection. But on the 360 box they leave this out and make it look like 360 is all around more complete – confusing to say the least as I would like to have full Network wire and wireless protection – so does 360 cover it or not?

    4. Re the above issue, their on line tech support was unable to accurately clarify the question.

    5. The box says that it is good for 3 machines, but when you install it there is some crap about it being only good for one, which is unlikely, but again nonetheless confusing and a real turnoff.

    I don’t care how good it may or may not be, from what I have seen so far, my customer experience with this product, imho,it sucks.

  • http://www.techconsumer.com Bob Caswell

    Wow, Robert, it’s one year since I posted this… And yet, Norton products still seem confusing and more annoying than necessary.

  • Robert

    Well I was at Future Shop the other day and they were practically giving away Internet Security 2008 and Mcafee Suite so now I can just try these out and see which I prefer.

  • http://www.techconsumer.com Bob Caswell

    Robert,

    Let us know what you find!

  • http://facespace.com Robert

    I had better luck with the Mcafee security suite. It seems to work more smoothly, which means it does the job, I think, but doesn’t get in my face. And when it does its update thing it makes a nice ‘dingggggg’.

  • sean

    hi ive had norton 360 for a few months now but the last few months its been skipping a few things on the scan like its been saying incomplete-skipped can anyone help me out on this i dont know if ive done somthink to change settings or somthink but all i know that its not working and i paid £60 for it but really im starting to think it was a waste of money so please can someone help me out thanks.

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