Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2007
Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2007 took second place in our "Virus Stoppers" roundup of eight stand-alone antivirus programs. Its overall virus detection rate of 96 percent places it firmly in the upper echelon, and like our other top-rated products, it sports an attractive and easy-to-use interface.
It was the slowest to respond to virus outbreaks, however, taking an average of 10 to 12 hours to deliver new signatures. And its proactive protection is only average--it caught about half of the unknown threats in our test using one-month-old signatures.
Norton AntiVirus costs $40 initially, but Symantec offers only a paltry $1 discount for yearly renewals, making it one of the more expensive antivirus options in the long term. Tech support is likewise costly: The advertised free phone support applies only to installation problems and known bugs; other types of calls will cost you $10 each.
Norton performed well in our disinfection tests, second only to Kaspersky in our antivirus roundup. It cleaned up 18 out of 22 possible items, missing only one of the two changes to the Hosts network settings file and three less-important Registry items.
Symantec has incorporated the new SONAR behavioral analysis technology for proactive protection. The program scans both e-mail and Web traffic, covering the POP3, SMTP, and HTTP protocols. And it ties into the MSN, Yahoo, and AOL instant messaging programs (though it protects only MSN by default).
During our design tests on Windows Vista Ultimate, the program turned off the built-in Windows Defender antispyware utility without notice. This is not because the utility conflicts, according to the company, but because Symantec feels "Windows Defender offers no value beyond what Norton offers." BitDefender Antivirus 10 was the only other program we tested that disables Defender when it installs.
Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2007 was also the only tested program that triggered multiple UAC (User Account Control) alerts when we changed settings, which could easily annoy power users who might want to customize the app.
We tested the Vista version of Symantec Norton Antivirus 2007 for our "Virus Stoppers" roundup. An XP version of the software is also available.