Symantec Norton 360 Version 4.0 is a suite of tools that combines the anti-malware and anti-phishing features of Norton Internet Security 2010 (NIS), with the PC tuneup tools of Norton Utilities.
The antimalware protection of NIS has been enhanced by ‘Quorum', the reputation-based monitoring system introduced in the 2010 edition. Norton Insight aims to speed up the scan process by whitelisting known safe files on your PC. Other new features in Symantec Norton 360 Version 4.0 tend to focus on finetuning your PC's performance by monitoring the resource usage of applications and identifying potential slow-downs and other problems.
We were initially a bit concerned by how much Symantec Norton 360 Version 4.0 would cause a slowdown of its own. The first thing we noticed after installation was that boot time of our Windows 7 laptop increased by around 30%. But that was the only aspect of performance that seemed to suffer. Gamers often worry that antivirus software running in the background can hinder games performance. Some quick tests with Far Cry 2 revealed only a minor dip in speed of just over 1%, from 41.5fps to 41fps.
Some tasks actually ran faster after we had allowed Symantec Norton 360 Version 4.0 to run a quick disk tuneup and cleanout of registry files. Copying a 2GB batch of photos and video clips onto our hard disk from a USB stick improved from 124 seconds before installing Symantec Norton 360 Version 4.0, to 111 seconds afterwards, which includes the time required to scan the incoming files for viruses.
Most of the time you can just leave Symantec Norton 360 Version 4.0 running automatically in the background, but there are some other useful options available for people who want to dig a bit deeper. Symantec Norton 360 Version 4.0 can display graphs of processor and memory usage to indicate which programs might be causing problems, and there's a Startup Manager that allows you to turn off startup items altogether, or simply delay them so that they don't load until you specifically allow it.
Finally, Symantec throws in 2GB of online storage with Symantec Norton 360 Version 4.0 from its newly launched Norton Online Backup service, which is available for the duration of the software's 12-month subscription life.
The sheer range of features crammed into Norton 360 might seem a bit daunting for less technically minded users. But Norton 360 provides wideranging protection against malware and internet security threats, along with useful tools for fine-tuning your PC’s performance. It costs £10 more than the Norton Internet Security 2010 suite, and provides licenses for three PCs, helping your household to stay protected for £60 per year.