Norton 360 Version 5.0

Norton 360 Version 5.0 is the latest addition to Norton's popular all-in-one suite and this one brings a few new tricks to the party

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Norton 360 Version 5.0 With Norton's 360 you get PC tune-up utilities as well as security
By  Clayton Vallabhan Published  June 12, 2011

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Key Specs

HD space: 300MB
Memory: 256MB
Number of users: 3
OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
Price: $88

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In its product portfolio Norton 360 is the best the company offers. It is positioned above Norton Internet Security (NIS) because it includes security features along with comprehensive tune up and maintenance utilities, which NIS lacks.

Installation of Norton 360 was a breeze and took less than three minutes to complete, meaning it's as quick to install as NIS. What took significantly longer was the database updates. If you still have a dial-up connection or a slow broadband line, this can be a frustrating experience. Thankfully, after the first set of updates, subsequent updates are quicker.

As with other Norton apps, 360 looks great. The main screen is inviting and the traditional yellow and black theme is evident here too. You are greeted with four main options that reveal sub-options when you place your mouse pointer over them. The main parts of the package are PC Security, Identity Protection, Backup and PC Tuneup.

PC Security allows you to run LiveUpdate and get the latest definitions to protect your PC against viruses, Trojans and malware. You can run scans from here and tweak the firewall as well. Here Norton Insight checks files and declares them as secure or not. In our tests 74% of the files on our PC were labelled secure, and so would be exempt from future scans. A useful time-saving feature.

What really put a smile on our faces in this package was the Identity Safe option. On creating a login, a user can store personal details in the relevant fields, including addresses, e-mail addresses, contacts and credit card details. Should you come across an Internet shopping checkout that needs your credit card information for example, all you have to do is login to Identity Safe and enter your password. The software will then auto-fill the form ensuring that your information is safely entered and transmitted.

The final tab is the crucial bit that separates Norton 360 from NIS 2011, the PC Tuneup section. Here you can check the health of your PC and correct any problems. There is for instance a Disk Optimisation tab that will defragment your hard drive and repair bad clusters. File Cleanup on the other hand ensures temporary files are deleted so you don't have disk clutter.      

We tested Norton 360 against viruses and Trojans that we had on a flash drive. It detected each and every one and prevented them from getting onto our test PC. Its anti-spam ability too is quite remarkable in that it effectively culled spam e-mails that we sent to the PC it was protecting.

The software, like NIS, also runs with little impact on overall performance. In most cases we could still carry on using the PC as normal even when a full system scan was being performed in the background.

For: Quick to install, inviting and intuitive interface, doesn’t negatively impact system performance when running, useful disk and PC maintenance utilities, comprehensive firewall.
Against: Updates can be quite large, still among the more expensive security suites on the market.
Verdict: The latest version of Norton 360 offer strong security features and equally useful PC tune up functionality. Thanks to its intuitive interface it’s easy-to-use regardless of your skill level.

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