Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 beta

The beta of Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2010 is more notable for what's under the hood than what you actually see

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Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 beta
  • Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 beta
  • Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 beta
  • Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 beta
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Pros

  • Less bloated than earlier versions

Cons

  • Installation bugginess, uninstalls whatever security program is already running

Bottom Line

So should you download this beta version of Norton Internet Security 2010? Given its installation bugginess — and the fact that it appears that the subscription may last only 14 days — the answer is most likely no. And since it uninstalls whatever security program is already running, you certainly won't want to put it on your primary computer. The software is set to be final sometime in the autumn; you'd do well to wait until then.

Would you buy this?

Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010: installation woes

The initial download of the beta installs a small piece of software that in turn downloads the beta itself, which is 88.5MB. Installation is relatively fast. In our case, it first uninstalled Panda Internet Security, which was active on the test computer, before installing itself.

We had several hiccups with our installation. At one point, one of the installation screens said that it had encountered an unrecoverable error, but the rest of the installation still proceeded without issues. At another point, a screen popped up and told me that the program had encountered an error and was gathering information about it, but never said what the error was.

When we first tried scanning our system with Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010, it wouldn't perform a scan because the virus definitions weren't up to date. But after some clicking around, we managed to download the latest definitions, and the scan proceeded without a hitch.

Aside from installation glitches, there may be one very serious drawback to the Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 beta — the software says that the subscription is good for only 14 days. It's unclear whether the subscription will extend for free beyond the 14 days because it is still in beta.

So be warned that if you download the Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 software, it may not work properly after two weeks.

The Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 interface: you've seen it before

Users of Symantec Norton Internet Security 2009 will feel right at home with the new version of the program, because the basic interface and all its workings are nearly identical to the existing version.

The main screen is the control centre, which gives you access to your security functions and lets you turn features on and off. It's organised slightly differently than previous versions of the software, with three main sections: Computer, Network and Web (rather than the previous Computer, Web and Identity). Most of the underlying features, though, are the same.

As with the previous version, there are monitors on the left side of the main screen that show your CPU's current usage, and how much of that Norton is taking up. There's no real reason for showing you this information, except to drive home the point that Norton is no longer the bloated security suite of the past, and takes up much less RAM than previously.

That's certainly the case, although it still slows down your system more than lightweight antivirus tools such as Microsoft's recently released Microsoft Security Essentials or ALWIL Software's Avast!, both of which are free.

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