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Norton 2014 improves protection and repair, supports Windows 8.1

05 September 2013, Mike Williams

Symantec has unveiled its Norton 2014 lineup (aka version 21), including Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security and Norton 360. For the most part these look and behave much like the previous versions, but there are some interesting changes beneath the surface.

Improvements to the SONAR behavioural monitoring engine mean it’s now able to shut down malware which tries to operate inside legitimate Windows processes.

If you somehow manage to get infected, anyway, SONAR now also saves more information about what happened during the attack, which helps in repairing your system and restoring it to full working order.

And to deliver even better results, the program now uses “a broader set of Internet-connected resources to repair Windows system files that have been broken or crippled by malware, faster and with greater consistency”, according to a post on the Norton Protection Blog.

The 2014 range has very few visible changes, but there are some worthwhile improvements under the hood

The most obvious visual change in the 2014 lineup is to the password manager, Norton Identity Safe. An improved form filler now supports drag and drop, you can search for logins directly from the toolbar, and the interface has been revamped in general. We’re less sure about the new look – it seems more obtrusive than the old one, more complex – but there’s also some useful new functionality here.

Symantec is also claiming simpler installation and setup, although previous installs have been so easy already that we’re not really sure how much they can be improved.

One area which has seen some worthwhile tweaks is performance, though, with Norton Internet Security 2014 recording a 15% faster boot time, while scan time RAM usage has fallen by 100MB.

It’s a quiet upgrade overall, then, but faster launch times are always welcome, and if the claimed improvements in protection and repair are measurable in real life then that will also be good news.

Trial builds of Norton AntiVirus 2014, Norton Internet Security 2014 and Norton 360 2014 are available now.

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