When I bought my computer last year, it came with Norton Internet Security as a free trial. It seemed decent and it was preinstalled so I figured why not give it a shot. The antivirus part of it seemed fine and on the speedy new hardware I have, I couldn’t detect any performance problems. I ended up purchasing it basically because it was the path of least resistance.
My kids are getting old enough to be using the computer quite a bit, including surfing the internet. I did some research and Norton’s parental control software seemed like a well-regarded solution, so I bought that and set it up. That turned out to be a pain. The biggest problem I had was that it doesn’t support “switch users” properly. I’d be logged on and looking at facebook – I’d hit “windows-L” to lock screen and go do something else. Then my 6 year old would login via “switch users” and she’d be getting all of these pop-ups saying “you’re not allowed on facebook”. Norton’s product couldn’t tell who was who when we were using “switch users”.
More research happened and I saw that Microsoft Essentials has a parental control component to it – and it’s free. So I installed and configured it, and so far it has been a better experience. No erroneous pop-ups, it allows control of when the kids can be online and all is good.
Now that my Norton Internet Security license is expiring I went to uninstall it I figure I’ll use Microsoft’s free antivirus solution too. Well, the “Norton Removal Tool” is kind of a weird thing. First of all, why do I need to do more than uninstall via the control panel? I’m not sure but the website says to so I did. Also, you double click on the icon for it and then no less than 20 minutes later it pops up a dialog. That’s really user-hostile! (Eventually it did seem like it worked.) Lastly, it asked me for feedback about why I was uninstalling Norton’s products. The dialogs on the website say “up to 1000 characters” but I couldn’t put in more than about 160. So I guess I could Tweet my feedback. Apparently Symantec just didn’t want the feedback after all!
In any case, I’m far from an Microsoft fanboy but we’ll see how it goes with their stuff instead of Symantec’s. One issue I’ve always had with this stuff is how to have ANY clue which one is better. It’s not like you’re going to try infecting your machine to see which one catches the most.