I’ve been a user of Norton AntiVirus (note: not the lumbering behemoth that is Internet Security) for a few years now; I was aware that it wasn’t getting as good reviews as it used to get around the time I originally bought it, but I rolled on with the updates & resubscriptions anyway because the differences really weren’t significant enough to outweigh the inertia (and my natural sloth). Besides I thought, the favorite tends to switch around every year or two anyway for fairly subtle reasons.
However, when I came to renew my laptop subscription for AntiVirus this year in a typically autopilot fashion, I found I couldn’t do it. Symantec for some reason decided that my ‘region’ wasn’t supported, for buying anything. I left it a while in case it was a temporary website glitch, but no. It’s not a Guernsey thing (like the iTunes store), my Mum also gets this on her laptop with a UK mainland address. Seems Symantec doesn’t want our money anymore.
This was enough to break me out of my lazy orbit around Norton and I checked out the recent reviews of a few products. I discarded ClamWin early on even though I liked the idea, because it is still too primitive - an on-demand scanner only. I already knew McAfee had been pipping Norton in most reviews recently, but more interesting was BitDefender which got consistently excellent reviews and was a very good price, weighing in at an attractive twenty quid. So, that’s what’s running on this laptop right now - as with all virus / spyware detection software it’s nothing to get particularly excited about but it seems to do its job quietly and efficiently, and has ticks in all the right boxes (like VB100% and ICSA 2005). The ‘File Zone’ drop box is a nice idea - it doubles as an activity trace so you can tell when the virus scanner is kicking in on file access, and as a drag-and-drop on demand scanner.
So, nice one Symantec, I was lazy enough to carry on renewing your product in the absence of anything significant to urge me to do otherwise (since antivirus software is pretty dull, I don’t spend much time thinking about it), but by turning me away at your website you gave me the required nudge to go find something cheaper and better. Doh!