The Good New inbound port blocking to prevent worm intrusions; faster preinstallation scans; improved interface.
The Bad Doesn't include a full-fledged firewall; real-time scanner doesn't look for spyware.
The Bottom Line Norton AntiVirus 2005 is a tenacious virus fighter that, given its premium price, should also--but doesn't--include a firewall. It's a good bet for Norton users who want to upgrade, though.
Norton AntiVirus 2005
If Norton AntiVirus 2005 is long on dependability, it's short on sizzle, adding only a few modest enhancements to last year's . Norton's strengths remain its well-designed interface and impressive virus-blocking performance history. The new Quick Scan tool, which automatically searches for viruses following updates, is a welcome addition; however, we're less thrilled with the much-touted worm blocker because it doesn't match the level of protection found in full-fledged firewalls offered in competing antivirus packages. Current Norton users should upgrade to 2005, however, as the upgrade costs only $5 more than Symantec's annual subscription-renewal fee. But new users should shop around for an antivirus program that also includes a firewall, such as last year's Editors' Choice, , or the newly released . Norton AntiVirus 2005 now takes less time to setup and configure than before. In version 2004, a preinstall antivirus scan examined every file on your PC--time-consuming overkill. This year Norton saves time with its new Quick Scan engine, checking only the usual-suspect files and folders--those with Startup entries or with System-Start INI or batch entries--and skipping less likely files and folders, such as music and image folders.
After the quick presetup scan, Norton installs itself, automatically downloads the latest virus definitions and program files, and runs a mandatory, comprehensive post-setup scan. Our initial setup took just less than 45 minutes; plan to step away from the PC and brew some tea in that time, though, as Norton is a major resource hog during its system scan, essentially rendering your PC useless for other tasks. For instance, in our informal tests, Microsoft Word took 35 seconds to load during a system scan. With no scan running, it took just 6 seconds on our 2GHz Celeron with 512MB of RAM. For more on system performance, see our.
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