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SoftwareMedia Blog | July 31, 2014

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Norton Anti-Virus: It's Well-Known, But Is It Effective?

Norton Anti-Virus: It’s Well-Known, But Is It Effective?

If you’ve even heard of a Windows PC, you’ve most likely heard of Norton Antivirus. Ever since viruses have been around, starting with the Stoned virus in the early 1990′s, Norton has produced anti-virus protection and cleaning tools. It was so named because of Peter Norton who created it, as well as disk and computer utilities for the IBM PC. Over the years, however, while Norton Anti-Virus has generally been one of the best known anti-virus packages available on the market, is it always the most effective?

Symantec acquired NAV as well as Norton Utilities in 1990 and while they kept the Norton name for home users, for business and corporate users, the antivirus software was renamed to Symantec Antivirus. Regardless of the name, the core product is essentially the same and because of the increased user base, it would be easy to assume that the protection would be better than ever. Unfortunately, with the increasingly fast pace of technology and more widespread hacking, that hasn’t always been the case.

Norton/Symantec also entered into OEM deals with several computer manufacturers in the 1990′s and 2000′s to compete with McAfee and other anti-virus vendors. This meant the number of systems and system software/hardware complexity issues increased almost exponentially, leading to skyrocketing support needs. Norton/Symantec wasn’t always able to address and had a detrimental effect on new virus response which allowed both corporate and home users to become infected with viruses on several occasions. Also, Symantec has had software update issues which have created major problems for users as well.

The rapidity of virus/Trojan/spyware progression and introduction into the general public increased dramatically throughout the 1990′s and early 2000′s. Smaller anti-virus companies were able to make a name for themselves because they were closer attuned to the home user/tech market than the corporate market. Applications such as Spybot Search & Destroy and others were able to address virus problems that Norton was simply unable to because of volume. It became habit for repair technicians to have access to multiple utilities and anti-virus programs to address all of the various ssues being caused by new invasive software.

The other issue that many technicians and users have experienced is during the uninstall and removal of Norton/Symantec Antivirus. Because Norton Antivirus embeds itself so deeply into the Windows registry and file systems, the standard uninstall process leaves behind large amounts of registry entries and files which aren’t addressed. Symantec had to introduce a special uninstaller to clean up after the initial uninstall process.

With those negatives stated, Norton/Symantec Antivirus should be classed in the “slow but steady” category. There may be times when they are behind the curve in the virus protection process but they do catch up and they always have solid stand-alone tools available to remove viruses if one should be discovered before it is incorporated into NAV. If you’re looking for an anti-virus package that is both well-known and solidly reliable, look to Norton Antivirus. You could say it’s the IBM of the anti-virus industry.

Louis Rossmann is a straight shooting tech guy who specializes in repair and LCD replacement.  Contact him through his Rossmann Group website.

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