Anti-virus software

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Norton AntiVirus Plus

Norton AntiVirus Plus Review

Reviewer: Stephen Qualtrough
Developer: NortonLifeLock
Overall rating:
Price: $59.99

Review summary

Good points

 Much lighter on your system resources than previous versions

 Uses idle time effectively

 Powerful set of features

 Frequent updates

 Slick interface

Bad points

 Full scans will slow your computer down


Our verdict

Norton has struggled to juggle both performance and protection in the past, but this latest version of its antivirus software shows that Norton has now got the balance right with Norton AntiVirus Plus.

Full review

Norton is a pioneer in the antivirus world but, let’s face it, the company hasn’t always got everything right. Norton has made dramatic improvements to its antivirus offering over recent years after scores of complaints from its loyal customers. With this latest version, Norton continues in the right direction with an increased virus detection engine.


It takes about a minute to install Norton AntiVirus Plus, which is a vast improvement on the 30-plus minutes it used to take to get the software underway. Your system also doesn't require a reboot once you’ve completed the setup. You don’t need to wait for a box to turn up in the mail; the direct download is convenient and straightforward. Compared to previous versions, you’ll notice Norton AntiVirus Plus takes up a whole lot less disk space and it leaves your memory much better off – Norton is now one of the best programs for memory use out of all the ones we tested.


Norton AntiVirus Plus uses several layers of defense to protect your system from attack. The software uses a traditional signature-based protection as a base along with a huge database of known malware. As well as providing virus protection, Norton AntiVirus Plus also protects your computer against spyware, Trojans, worms, bots, and rootkits whether they pop up in email, online or IM. The software stops malware in its tracks before you mistakenly download it and also gives you a large amount of information on suspect files should they pop up.


In traditional virus detection tests carried out by AV-TEST, Norton was able to detect 99.5 percent of samples which is highly impressive.

Scans & updates

You can perform quick, full or custom scans with Norton AntiVirus Plus. The full scan proved to be pretty intensive and it slowed down our computer considerably. We'd recommend you schedule full scans for times when you’re not using your computer as it could result in a lot of frustration.

We think one of the more important improvements over older versions is the technology used to scan only files that might pose a threat to your computer – trusted and unchanged files are bypassed so unnecessary scans don’t slow the computer down. The insight feature helps to improve scan speeds, by identifying trusted files and eliminating them from virus scans.

Updates run silently in the background - they don't require you to do anything. Updates (or 'pulse updates' as they are called) are delivered around every 5 - 15 minutes. Sometimes you can receive over 200 updates in day. This provides plenty of up to the minute protection, however, you have the option to run a manual live update if need be. We liked the non-intrusive nature of the updates, with a much less annoying announcement system than some antivirus software systems.


If you have an Android phone you can download Norton for Android by scanning a code from the application.

Gamer mode allows you to use a silent mode to prevent any pop-ups spoiling your presentation. And Norton's scheduler automatically delays updates and scans until your computer is idle. It’s quite a simple feature, but one that makes life much easier.

The system also comes with a bootable recovery disk to help you get back to normal if your PC crashes. There’s also a handy feature for Facebook – Facebook Wall Scan, which removes malware links found lurking in the Facebook system.

Ease of use

It's clear to see that a lot of consideration has gone into designing the latest interface for Norton AntiVirus Plus. The layout is logical and uncluttered. If you want to install the system then forget about it, you can. You can also let the system optimize itself automatically at the click of a switch. Norton is good for running automatically.

It also boasts a full collection of security stats and figures for those that want to look behind the scenes and control the software more closely. There’s the ability to see which programs and applications are slowing down your system most seriously. You can monitor the performance of your whole PC if you want – not just the Norton activity.

The pared-down system is much easier to work with than previous versions. While older Norton programs made a big impact (for the wrong reasons) on your system, today’s version is streamlined and easy to use.

Help & support

Norton AntiVirus Plus contains in-program help files, step-by-step tutorials, and even an auto-fix feature for when you don’t know what’s wrong with the system. Help is available for Norton users over the telephone (for free), by email, or via live online chat. You can also ask questions in the forum of other users.


Norton AntiVirus Plus is a pretty impressive antivirus solution. It’s a huge improvement on previous versions and it reminds everyone why Norton is such a huge player in the market. Its protection levels are second to none and we like the new innovations in antivirus detection such as its new reputation engine.

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