Norton Internet Security sucks

I recently installed Norton Internet Security on my system (got it for free with my Office 2003 purchase) and quite frankly, it sucks. I've always liked the old Norton Utilities back in the DOS days and really like Norton's Anti-Virus product as well, but this product should have never been released.

What's wrong with it? Let me count the ways...

  • Even though I turned off its anti-spam feature (Outlook 2003 already has one), it still insists on showing its anti-spam toolbar in Outlook. I can manually remove it, but when I restart Outlook it's back again.
  • I cannot download anything off gotdotnet workspaces anymore! If I try, I end up with a 0 byte zip file. I'm not sure how gotdotnet is different from other sites ( works fine) but for some reason Norton doesn't like it. If I turn off Security, gotdotnet downloads work again (but of course my system's wide open then).
  • No easy log-file viewer. There's a Log Viewer, but it's got a dozen categories and none of them seem to contain any information as to why the gotdotnet downloads get truncated.
  • When I run SharpReader, it pops up asking me whether I want to allow SharpReader to connect to the internet (as it should). The dialog has a drop-down where I can choose "always allow", "always block" and "manually configure" - the default selection is "block". First of all, this should IMHO be three buttons instead of a dropdown so that a single click would be enough. Second of all, sometimes the popup does not get focus and I'm unable to use the keyboard to change the dropdown to "allow". This forces me to use the (more time-consuming) mouse instead.
  • Because I'm developing SharpReader, there are many new builds - every one gets the popup above forcing me to change the dropdown. There's no feedback at all that this is an altered version of an application that was previously allowed to connect to the internet. My previous (free) firewall just popped up a simple dialog informing me the app was changed and a simple "OK" was enough to allow the new version.
  • After a dozen SharpReader builds, the firewall config shows a dozen SharpReader.exe's! How come this thing isn't smart enough to just replace the previous (now unavailable) entry?
I'm not sure whether I want to go through the hassle of calling their tech-support or whether I'm just going to turn off everything except for Norton Anti-Virus and reinstall Kerio Personal Firewall (which worked great for me). If it wasn't for the fact that I got this thing for free I'd return it for a refund. And I'm not about to return it along with Office 2003 - I like the new Outlook way too much for that.

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I've never used any Norton products, so all I know about them are that they cause a seemingly never-ending stream of problems for the users I know have that have decided they need them. So I ask: Why do you have this program? What does it do that you need?

Posted by Shannon J Hager at October 29, 2003 1:34 AM

NIS 2k3 was OK, not good enough for its price though. If you're interesting selling yours, let me know.

Posted by BobSmith at October 29, 2003 1:37 AM

Shannon: the main thing it does that I need is its anti-virus protection (which can also be purchased as a stand-alone product). Norton AntiVirus is quite good and updates its virus definitions in a non-obtrusive way (as opposed to McAfee, which kept directing me to a web-page when updates were available). Others may also like the firewall (though I personally have better experiences with ZoneAlarm and Kerio) and it's anti-spam features (for which I now use Outlook 2003)

BobSmith: Considering it's got built in activation, I don't think I can transfer the product to anyone else even if I wanted to - Besides, I do like the anti-virus component of NIS - it's just the rest of the product that's giving me problems...

Posted by Luke Hutteman at October 29, 2003 8:23 AM

You really should take a look at Sygate Personal Firewall (also free for personal use). I used Kerio earlier, but I'm not going back. Oh, and Avast32 Personal Edition for your antivirus woes aswell. ;)

Posted by Håvard Pedersen at October 29, 2003 10:32 AM

I use Norton for anti-virus, but ZoneAlarm (paid) for firewall. Aside from an occasional pop up for Generic Process in ZoneAlarm, that pairing works for me.

Posted by Marc at October 29, 2003 11:46 AM

My suggestion? Trend's Internet Security software. You can pick up a copy at the Protect Your PC kiosk at the PDC.

Posted by Matthew Arevalo at October 29, 2003 2:22 PM

great! now all I need is airplane and PDC tickets...

Posted by Luke Hutteman at October 29, 2003 3:03 PM

Hey Luke and all

Could it be that Symantec developers have been silly enough in their haste have added gotdotnet in an entry where 'newdotnet'

Posted by Gryph at October 29, 2003 7:30 PM

Hey Luke and all

Could it be that Symantec developers have been silly enough in their haste have added gotdotnet in an entry where 'newdotnet' should be. I know, a wild stab in the dark, but possible considering the crazy blunders this group has made in the past.

Posted by Gryph at October 29, 2003 7:31 PM

I used to have Norton Internet Security for many years now, every year I did buy the upgrade to the latest version.
So this October was again time to upgrade. Nicely NIS asked me and then brought me to the website, there I did fill in all
the info on the order form (incl. creditcard, address and the whole stuff). Click submit and what do I get:
This product is not available in your country.
Remarkable they did let me choose the country before (Switzerland in this case). According to the logic of this validation process I did assume that their CEO must now code the website to save costs.
So I tried to get the English version via the Europe website, again I got redirected to the US website (then why the heck I did choose Europe ? Did they assume Europe is occupied territory ?)
On the German website meanwhile they still promoted Upgrades to 2003 version. So last week I got tired of the game and with the help of a very nice girl in the dutch call center of Symantec I managed to download an update to 2004 version.
Sure more expensiv than the one priced in U$, cause they now charged Euros.
Since then my laptop is very often stuck, slow and swallowing information. I don't know what they changed, but it seems to plug into the OS much more severe. Not in a nice protectiv way, rather in a very annoying way. The problem with gotdotnet I had also, but also other websites are in trouble now.
So please MS integrate the stuff we need to protect our systems into the OS ;-) Fine with me :)

Posted by Andreas at October 30, 2003 11:02 AM

Try to save your file to disk from gotdotnet instead of opening it immediatly, that should do the trick.

-- Rob.

Posted by rob at October 31, 2003 3:17 PM

Rob: that's exactly what Chris Sells suggested when I emailed him about the problem (I was attempting to download Genghis when I first hit this problem - my initial assumption was that the was simply uploaded wrong), but as I told him, I did do a "save to disk" and the resulting zip file ended up being 0 bytes.

When I turned off Norton Internet Security, downloaded without any problems.

Posted by Luke Hutteman at October 31, 2003 4:04 PM
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