Symantec – Norton Antivirus 2005 review

minor tweaks to a necessary package
Photo of Symantec – Norton Antivirus 2005
£39.99

This is a bluff, we thought to ourselves, as the familiar yellow-and-white Symantec anti-virus package plopped through our letterbox. The package looks the same, but that’s surely just those cunning virus-beating boffins toying with us.

Upon firing it up, there’ll doubtless be some radical changes. Like instead of watching the file numbers count up on a scan, you’ll actually be transported inside a VR rendition of the hard disk with 3D-style Tron graphics, zapping those rogue viruses with your electronic Frisbee thing. Whhhsshhzzzaaapeeow!

Well you can dream, can’t you? Of course there’s nothing radical about Norton Antivirus 2005. It’s very similar to its predecessor, travelling the standard Norton route of adding a little bit here and there, refining matters with each yearly version. This is good, as it means an already slick program is steadily becoming slicker than a snakeskin jacket salesman.

It’s impressive from the off, with a new function added in the form of a pre-install scan which checks for and removes viruses that can interfere with the installation process. Once installed, after registration the program automatically downloads the latest virus definitions and performs a full virus scan, so your system is immediately secured.

If you’re not familiar with Norton Antivirus’s basic functions, they’re pretty much what you’d expect. You can order a virus scan, full or customised, and the program is permanently switched on with auto-protection. This means it will watch any Internet traffic, including outgoing as well as incoming email.

The program keeps itself automatically updated with virus definitions (although you can opt for manual updating if you wish), so you can leave it on in the background to maintain itself. It will even launch an automatic “QuickScan” just after updating, which is a smart new touch. Basically, you can leave it completely to its own devices, but at the same time, should you wish to know what’s going on behind the scenes the program keeps a full log of all events for the user to peruse.

In recent versions Norton Antivirus has expanded its remit to cover files transferred by common Instant Messengers (MS, AOL, Yahoo) and spyware/adware issues. These are useful extras; it picked up a piece of adware on our test scans, although it failed to delete it and we had to manually deal with that task.

With Norton Antivirus 2005 Symantec has added another nifty function in the form of built-in worm protection. This means that it monitors inbound packets looking for anything suspicious, blocking worms like Blaster and Sasser. Finally, this latest incarnation is now fully compatible with Windows XP Service Pack 2.

With the reliable Symantec virus definitions, this year’s Norton Antivirus is a powerful performer which covers many bases, the added worm protection further increasing its level of security.

Company: Symantec

Contact: 020 7616 5600


Verdict
Norton Antivirus 2005 might not be anything revolutionary, but we don't really expect that from these yearly updates. This time around, the extra scan features (pre-install and "QuickScan") and the worm protection make for worthy additions to an already solid product. It comes recommended in terms of its user friendliness, scope of protection and the reliability of its virus definitions.