Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2010 offers solid protection, some terrific extra features and a polished user interface.

Indeed, only subpar performance in one detection category prevented Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2010 from capturing the very top spot in our internal chart of stand-alone antivirus programs. That accolade currently resides with G Data, but Norton AntiVirus 2010 will be a much better bet for less technical users.

In traditional detection tests using known Trojan horses, spyware, worms, and other baddies, Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2010 successfully detected 99.5 percent of samples from AV-Test.org. That's a perfectly good showing, although some other 2010 apps did even better in the same test.

Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2010 dropped toward the bottom in heuristic tests de­­signed to simulate a security program's ability to ward off new and unknown malware. It blocked only 42 percent of two-week-old signature files and newer malware, the second-worst showing in the bunch.

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Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2010: excellent behavioural analysis

Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2010 it did well in behavioural analysis (which identifies malware based solely on how it acts), identifying and blocking 9 out of 15 samples. And it correctly removed the same number of files based on its behavioural analysis - better than any other app we've tested.

Norton's throughput of 9.26MB per second for automatic scans of files as they're opened or saved put it squarely in the middle of the pack. But Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2010 did a superb job of dealing with rootkits, blocking and removing all 10 samples of this type of stealth malware.

While Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2010's protection ability is decent (albeit not the best available), it is head and shoulders above the rest in features and user interface. For example, the Insight feature lets you see Symantec's assigned reputation for a running program, or for a downloaded or saved file. These reputations are based on such factors as whether the file is digitally signed and how many other Norton users have it. The program uses that information to decide how thoroughly to scan any given download; you can use it to help you decide how much you want to trust a program.

Also impressive is a tool that offers a wealth of information about your PC's performance and history of changes, including when you installed programs, saved new downloads, or ran scans. One easy-to-read graph lists all the events that happened on a given day, while another shows how much of your CPU and memory was in use over time.

These and other features are easy to find in a smooth and polished user interface that includes plenty of quickly available descriptions. Settings are easy to reach, but techies might bemoan the lack of any option to have Norton ask you what to do when it finds a threat. The default action of removing or quarantining a discovered baddie is appropriate, but power users who want maximum control will be out of luck.

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PCWorld.com

Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2010: Specs

  • 300MHz or faster processor
  • 256MB RAM (512MB RAM required for Recovery Tool)
  • Windows 7/Windows Vista/Windows XP
  • 200MB of available hard disk space
  • CD-ROM or DVD drive (if not installing via electronic download)
  • email scanning supported for POP-3- and SMTP-compatible email clients
  • browser support for Vulnerability Protection feature: Microsoft Internet Explorer 32-bit 6.0 or higher, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 and later
  • 300MHz or faster processor
  • 256MB RAM (512MB RAM required for Recovery Tool)
  • Windows 7/Windows Vista/Windows XP
  • 200MB of available hard disk space
  • CD-ROM or DVD drive (if not installing via electronic download)
  • email scanning supported for POP-3- and SMTP-compatible email clients
  • browser support for Vulnerability Protection feature: Microsoft Internet Explorer 32-bit 6.0 or higher, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 and later

OUR VERDICT

If you want a smooth antivirus program that will require relatively little user attention, Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2010 is a good choice indeed.

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