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I've always found Symantec to be one of the industry leaders in virus and spyware removal technologies, and Norton 360 continues in this tradition, offering the same quality of protection that you'll find in Norton AntiVirus or Norton Internet Security. Norton 360 consists of four basic components: PC Security, Transaction Security, Backup and Restore, and PC Tuneup.
##p#The PC Security component is where you'll find the antivirus, PC firewall, spyware, and email scanning features. The PC Security features are the backbone of Symantec's long history of having one of the best PC protection software packages on the market.##p#The Transaction Security module works to keep you secure while browsing the Internet and conducting online transactions, such as online shopping or banking. This part of the program is where you'll find the anti-phishing, online theft identity protection, rootkit detection, and website authentication features. Norton 360 also uses Symantec's new SONAR (Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response) technology, which identifies threats based on behavioral characteristics.##p#The third piece of Norton 360 is Backup and Restore. If you've ever had a hard drive crash, or turned on your PC only to find that it doesn't boot anymore, you know the pain of not having a recent backup of your important files. Norton 360 comes with multiple options for doing automatic or manual backups of selected files. You even have the option of backing up your data to a secure 2 GB online storage space on Symantec's servers, with the ability to purchase more space if needed.##p#The final component to Norton 360 is PC Tuneup. While this feature isn't as powerful as the old DOS-based Norton Utilities or some of Symantec's other offerings, such as Norton SystemWorks, it does provide a decent job of cleaning up some of the clutter that Windows can leave behind. PC Cleanup will clear your Internet browsing history, remove temporary Internet and Windows files, and perform disk optimization to keep your hard disk running more efficiently. While not as good as some of its competitors, Norton 360 does a great job keeping your PC healthy.##p#One of the biggest new features in Norton 360 may be the way that it performs all of these tasks without requiring as much user attention as Norton Internet Security or some of the other Norton products. Norton 360 works quietly in the background without all the annoying pop-ups and warnings that you'd normally expect to see.What's Not:
As I mentioned earlier, for advanced users the product is excessively dumbed down. There doesn't seem to be any direct connection from each component in the big green circles to the advanced settings for each. Even after you drill down through the menus, you'll find that there isn't much that you're able to configure. For the typical user this isn't a problem, because Norton 360 works just fine with its default configurations, but personally I like the more detailed settings in Norton Internet Security for controlling how the program runs. I like to be notified when updates are available before they are installed. I want to be able to customize when scans are run and I'd like to choose which things are cleaned during optimization.
The PC Tuneup module seems to be the most disappointing of all. While Norton 360 does offer basic cleaning, there's no registry cleaner or application cleaner (to remove old files and settings left by programs after an uninstall). I also wasn't impressed with the disk optimization. The older Norton Speed Disk seemed to do a better job and Windows XP and Windows Vista already come with their own versions of disk optimizers. Recently, I've been using Diskkeeper Pro to keep my hard drives in line and I've found it to be one of the best I've ever tried. The only advantage to usin