Norton 360 public beta
Just under six months ago, on the occasion of the launch of Microsoft's OneCare in the US, Symantec started to accept initial advance registrations for beta testers for Norton 360, and announced this autumn as the date of release of the finished software package. The company yesterday released a public beta version of its answer to OneCare and named spring 2007 as the launch date for the final version.
Norton 360 is intended to be very easy to operate and to use minimal resources. As well as a virus scanner, anti-spyware, firewall, intrusion prevention system and anti-phishing, the software also offers local and remote backups. The first 25,000 beta testers will also receive 250 MB of online storage from Symantec, which will be expanded to 2 GB per user in the final version. In addition, Norton 360 will regularly clean up the hard disk in order to squeeze a tad more hard disk speed from the user's computer.
In a test installation at heise Security, we to set up the English version of the software on a machine Windows XP. The user interface is simply and uses a Vista Basic look, the configuration options are rather rudimentary, but will therefore avoid overtaxing beginners. There was little sign of the promised low use of resources, though is due to the software's beta status. This is also at the root of problems with proxy server handling. Symantec lists known problems in the release notes (PDF file).
The protection software for home users supports Windows XP Home, Professional and MCE 2005 and should run on computers with a 300 MHz CPU and 256 MB RAM. Before downloading the package, which weighs in at just under 44 MB, Symantec serve up a questionnaire, which has to be filled in. The required serial number is then sent to the e-mail address supplied. The beta version should work until 28th February 2007, after which it will be disabled.
- Norton 360, webpage for registration and download