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What They Don't Advertise about Computer Security Software

Aug 18, 2007
Standard Windows security tools just aren't enough with all the viruses online today. Most of us need more powerful computer security software than that which comes standard on our computers. The two main contenders for best computer security software are Norton 360 and McAfee Total Protection 2007. But which offers the greater protection at the best value? In this article, we'll compare security software industry leaders from a consumer's point of view.

Features

Symantec's new Norton 360 security suite was created from the ground up to form a nice looking, simple-to-use product. Best of all, it is light on system resources while including a wide range of features. However, it is missing a wireless security feature which is a critical omission.

On the flipside, McAfee's Total Protection seems to be a patchy combination of bits of McAfee's other products, creating a crude assembly that clumsily fumbles through the computer. McAfee's Total Protection comes with all of the same features as Norton 360 and then some; most notably, a full set of wireless security features. However, with so many features in the application, it can be difficult to find and use them all.

Performance

Unlike Symantec products of the past that have been resource hogs, Symantec's new Norton 360 is surprisingly light on resources. We found Norton 360 running only 3 processes with less effect on system performance than McAfee. Norton is substantially faster than McAfee in several areas including Sorensen Squeeze 4 deep scanning and boot speeds, but slower in iTunes 6 deep scanning. The two computer security software systems function with nearly the same performance in single file scanning.

In terms of protection, McAfee out-performed Norton on CheckVir certification, although both performed quite well. Both of these computer security software systems have been awarded with advanced certification on AV Comparatives.

Support

Support is an area where both companies fall short. Though each has improved their customer support, both Symantec and McAfee have a way to go before being able to claim top notch customer service. Neither company offers tutorials, a feature that would be very helpful considering the application.

Though Norton has a downloadable manual, it's quite slim and McAfee is lacking one altogether. For support and questions, both security software companies direct customers to the web. We found that both products offer adequate online knowledge bases and that both offer free email and chat support for questions that can't be solved online. While phone support is an option, it is fee-based with both companies.
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Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on best
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