While there are few significant changes in the new builds, the interface has seen plenty of activity: security is provided by new Metro apps when installed on Windows 8 Consumer Preview; the interfaces generally have been optimised for use on touch systems; and new support for hardware acceleration should see the products become a little more responsive.
The new builds also offer small improvements in their various protection technologies. The Insight file reputation database will now see more rapid updates, for instance; Insight has also been incorporated into the firewall to “improve the ability to detect and block malicious network activity”; SONAR is able to monitor the behaviour of your applications, even when you’re running in Safe Mode; and the 2013 range are ready to work with the Windows 8 Early Launch Anti-Malware scheme, which means they’ll be launched before other boot drivers and so be better able to protect you against rootkits and other low-level malware.
Another small but welcome benefit this time around sees the 2013 packages download and install Norton Power Eraser during their setup process. And so if a scan completes, and you follow the “If you think there are still risks, click here” link, you’re not left to manually fetch the program yourself, as currently: Norton Power Eraser will be immediately on hand to try and hunt down any remaining threats for you.
And Symantec are also highlighting what they call “bandwidth monitoring”, which “will help consumers avoid costly data overage fees by limiting non-critical updates on bandwidth sensitive networks”. In other words, if you’ve a particularly expensive connection then you’ll now be able to switch the program to “Economy” mode, and it’ll only access the web when absolutely necessary to download the most critical program and virus updates.
The major benefits here seem to be reserved for Windows 8 installations, then, but there are also a few useful improvements for everyone else, and if you’re interested in Norton tools in general then it may be worth taking a look. Keep in mind that they are betas, though, with plenty of bugs -the Known Issues list has just a few – so don’t install them on anything that doesn’t have a full and complete system backup.
And if that’s not put you off, register at the Norton Beta Centre to obtain a product key for your chosen package, then download your copy of Norton Antivirus, Norton Internet Security or Norton 360 2013 and take a closer look.