We come to you!

The Truth about Norton Security

Why do we recommend Norton Security? The most direct answer is because it works! I know there are many out there who scoff and say that McAfee is better or that AVG does as good of a job and is free at the same time or whatever else. However, take it from me: those people who come in and say, "Hey, there's something wrong with my computer but it can't be a virus because I have McAfee (or something else)" invariably end up being infected. Not long ago, I came across the worst machine ever. It was a laptop that had an up-to-date installation of McAfee on it: all program patches and virus definition files were current and the program was loaded so as to defend against infections. However, I scanned the machine with Norton Security and came up with 30,000 viruses and spyware that McAfee completely missed. The user's complaint was that the computer was running slowly. No wonder! Another time, a client came in with a machine that had AVG on it and it had about 5,000 infections even though the AVG program was current and properly working as well. When one uses free programs such as AVG, the person gets what he pays for. When it comes to commercial competitors to Norton Security, I shall say that I have not yet seen anything that compares to it and I have been working professionally in this industry for nearly 30 years now.

Something else to note is that most major companies and even the Federal Government trust Norton Security to protect their most critical systems. I know this from first-hand experience in that I have done contract work for both the Federal Government as well as various corporate offices and part of my duty was to install Norton Security (and, in the past, its predecessor, Norton Antivirus) to any new servers or workstations as well as insure that it was running properly on the assets already in place.

To those who remember the time (back in 2002) when Norton Antivirus bogged down the system and made it run so slowly, yes, there was a time when that happened. However, that was most often caused by people setting up the software incorrectly. What people did, since Symantec gave people the option to do this back in the day, was to set up the software to scan all files each time they were opened, modified, or closed. Well, on the face of it, that seems like a good idea. What actually happens, though, is something very different. Think about it: when the computer starts up, what happens? All sorts of files are executed or otherwise opened, log files are modified, and countless files are closed after being used. That means that every file that the computer touches during the startup process is scanned up to three times. Talk about making the computer work hard just to get to the desktop! Further, think about this: what kinds of files can be infected? It's not every file on your computer, such as graphics, text files, cookies, and so forth. It is only certain types of files that are executable: files that have extensions of .exe, .com, .scr, .ovl, .dll, and a few others. Thus, there is no reason to scan every file, yet this is what all too many people did. Starting around 2004, Symantec got smart and took away that option. Since then, the problems with Norton Antivirus/Norton Security bogging down the system have gone away.

There are others out there who say that Norton Security is resource-hungry (meaning that it take a lot of processor time and/or memory to run). In actuality, that is not true. This is related to the above complaint that people have voiced due to their inability to set up the software correctly. Norton Antivirus 2009, the current edition when I first wrote this column, used only 15MB of RAM when in the system tray and doing its normal passive scans of emails and files. As of today, Norton Security 2018 uses even less RAM: only 10MB. Active scanning (full system scans, for example) is a different matter. In that case, the memory used jumps up to about 20MB. Of course that is still less than other programs such as Microsoft Word. Word routinely uses 125MB just to open a new blank document.

The best advice is to listen to a technician who has experience rather than paying attention to "user opinions" such as what one may find on NewEgg or CNet's Shopper.com. A professional technician who has years of experience in a multitude of environments has the advantage of knowing how the software works, how it is best configured, and what to do to make sure you have the best protection while not doing anything to make your computer intolerably slow.

At Best Deal Computers, we have earned the trust and respect of the major manufacturers (HP, IBM, Toshiba, Novell, and many more) and as such have earned their certifications as Warranty Service Technicians and Certified Network Engineers. Also, we have been A+ certified by the Computer Technology Industry Association (commonly called CompTIA and formerly called CTIA) since they first started their certification program in 1993. We have the knowledge and experience to make sure that you get the best tools for protecting your computer or for any other project you are considering.