Hassleware - Norton AntiVirus

It's understandable that sellers of shareware might hassle users who don't pay for their software. It's even understandable that providers of 'free' software might be tempted to do the same thing. But, really, we shouldn't expect it from software produced by major manufacturers and purchased at full retail price.

Understand again. Symantec's Norton AntiVirus software does hassle.

To be specific - I ran Norton AntiVirus (properly purchased and installed, fully up to date) on Windows Me (authenticated version, again properly purchased and installed, fully updated to current), on a standard Intel-based PC.

First, as soon as I installed the package, it insisted on loading itself into memory even when no on-line monitoring was desired. Second, if I touched the mouse during that loading operation, it hung Windows - I had to hit the hardware reset button and wait for a full disk check before being able to try to log in again. Third, if I activated the on-line monitoring at any time during a session, I couldn't shut down Windows normally - the shutdown hung, I had to hit the power button and wait for disk checking next boot. As if that wasn't enough, even though I clicked no automatic update (I'm on dialup and need to control when updates take place), it bugged me every time it thought the definitions were out of date, right in the middle of whatever I was doing (including live recording).

Of course I tried to contact Symantec about these problems. I never received even an acknowledgement, let alone any helpful answers.

So, I carefully checked my backup status, then uninstalled it. It took three reboots before I got rid of everything (the uninstal doesn't get several subsystems, like LiveUpdate, nor does it remove Symantec directories)

The result: Windows boot is 50% faster, shutdown is twice as fast, and disk defrag is also twice as fast.

If you're on broadband hookup and/or use a PPP mail client (especially Microsoft), you can't live without virus/worm protection. But, I use The Proxomitron to guard against WWW viri. And, I use text-only email (Windows Terminal, through a local BBS), which disables everything binary, automatic, behind-your-back - the works. The truth is, Norton never detected a single intrusive thing for me.

Good riddance, Symantec, is all I can say.

Postscript: I now use Avast. 100% free. Zero hassles. And, it grabs several email attachments a month. I never open attachments anyway, but it shows it's working in case I goof.

John Sankey
other notes on computing