Review: Norton Internet Security 2009

Norton Internet Security 2009 includes, antivirus, antispyware, antiphishing, identity and browser protection, as well as a personal firewall. Over the years Norton Antivirus software suites have been known well...

Norton Internet Security 2009

Norton Internet Security 2009 includes, antivirus, antispyware, antiphishing, identity and browser protection, as well as a personal firewall.

Over the years Norton Antivirus software suites have been known well for one thing.. bloatware! Both in the number of sub applications and resources Norton products use. For this reason consumers have been running to competitors products to solve their security needs.

Well Norton has heard our complaints and tried to remedy this with their latest suite – Norton Internet Security 2009. The idea here is to win back our hearts, minds and $$’s, but more importantly respond to criticisms, eliminate the problems and return Norton to that of it’s corporate cousin.. lightweight and effective.

Norton Internet Security 2009

Have they achieved their aim ? Well let’s take a look. I ran the tests in as real world as u can  get, on my everyday laptop. It’s a Dell Inspiron 6400 Laptop with a 1.83Ghz Core 2 Duo processor and 2GB 800Mhz RAM for those of you playing at home.

< 1 minute install
First of all they claim a sub 1 minute install, well this gets down to technicalities. The actual install process of copying and extracting the files probably was done under a minute (barely), however the entire launching, install and post-install process means the whole install took around 3 minutes.

100Mb base install
If you didn’t catch the fine print on this one, the 100Mb is for the application itself, this quickly blows out the second you install virus definitions and security updates. With hard drives being as big as they are these days this isn’t really a concern, just more cute marketing than anything to complain about.

Norton Internet Security 2009

Resource utilization – Idle
Probably the most important of any test is how much CPU and RAM a particular program (in this case security suite) uses. The more resources we spend on security, the less we have for applications. Norton Internet Security 2009 uses 2% CPU and 774 MB RAM while at idle.

Norton Internet Security 2009

Resource utilization – Full Scan
Full scans of the system are usually scheduled during downtime, or while your away from your machine, so while not as important as idle performance, the resources used while performing a full scan is still interesting. Especially if you do need to get work done while the scan is taking place. In this case, Norton 2009 uses 50-60% CPU and 800-900 MB RAM.

How does it compare ?
My regular security protection is Windows Live One Care (to be discontinued mid 2009), so this will be the basis for my comparison. It uses 7% CPU and 741 MB RAM while at idle and around 27% CPU and 672 MB RAM during a full scan.

One Care Live CPU and RAM usage at idle

These results show Norton uses slightly more ram, but less CPU while at idle. however while performing a full scan, used higher resources in both categories. the net effect is that due to today’s multi-core processors, the impact of a virus scanner is virtually un-noticeable while running in the background. As for the full-scan, I suggest simply scheduling it for a time when you don’t expect do heavy processing on your machine.

What the still got wrong
Say no to toolbars people, I’m convinced they’re the work of the devil. Ok that might be a little extreme, but it’s certainly one of my pet peeves. Sadly Norton couldn’t avoid the temptation of putting just one little gotcha in this package. Their very own Norton toolbar in the browser. I understand it’s part of their strategy to for browser protection, however it’s installed by default. With the one simple change to make this optional (not default) Norton could really overcome my only real gripe.

Norton Internet Security 2009 browser toolbar

Overall
Quite surprisingly Norton has surprised me here, it really seems they’ve heard our complaints and address almost all of them.

During the time I had it installed I didn’t see any annoying prompts, authorization requests when installing and removing applications. In fact Norton was actually pretty silent, not screaming for attention, just quiet, and doing it’s job.

Whilst I know there’s still going to be those people who are dirty on the brand after suffering through years of bloatware, if you’re the open minded type, I think you should consider it. At least now know that it’s a solid viable alternative to the other security suites on the market today.

More @ Symantec

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Software

Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.
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