PROS / Norton earned perfect protection scores for the latest Windows operating systems from AV-Test.
CONS / This program causes your computer to slow slightly while it is running.
VERDICT / Norton Security consistently ranks high for detection and blocking of malware threats, and its additional tools and features ensure all-around strong internet security.
Editor’s Note: Top Ten Reviews uses test results from the independent laboratory AV-Test as part of our review process for the best antivirus software. AV-Test looks specifically at protection, performance and usability on multiple versions of Windows operating systems, and it performs these evaluations several times throughout the year. We use the most current AV-Test scores available at the time of our review. It is possible that new AV-Test scores will be released after our review goes live on the site. We will consider these scores during our next review of the best antivirus software.
When AV-Test ran a series of tests on 22 antivirus products during March and April of 2016, Norton produced terrific results on Windows 10. While the testers visited websites and downloaded software, Norton delayed the host computer by one second, which is two seconds less than the industry average. Furthermore, it produced perfect scores in the protection test section. Many competitors with faster performance did not match Norton's perfect scores against malware attacks. These are only a couple reasons Norton Security Standard is our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award for best antivirus software.
This software has extensive features to enhance security. The antimalware component is sophisticated in that it scans incoming email and instant messages for any threats. Any threats it identifies go into a quarantine area for observation until Norton is sure that they are malware. It also detects whenever you access removable storage, such as a USB drive, in case malware attempts to infiltrate through that attack vector.
No antivirus will stop every possible threat. Therefore, Norton provides you with the means to create a bootable rescue CD in case your PC is infected to the extent that it cannot boot. Another convenient feature is a gamer mode that suspends alerts while you are gaming or watching a video.
Detection & Removal Tools
In addition to its malware protection, Norton Security Standard protects you from unsafe websites known to phish for your personal information. As antivirus products become better and better, hackers tend to focus more on phishing. It is easier to trick humans into revealing information that can be used against them than to trick a computer operating system.
Norton Security Standard is a basic antivirus program available from Norton and comes with one license to protect your computer or laptop. You can use this license to protect your mobile device instead. However, since the primary reason most people purchase antivirus software is to protect home computers or laptops, you will be required to purchase additional licenses to protect both these and mobile devices.
Norton Security Antivirus for Windows 8
AV-Test ran Norton Security on Windows 8 machines in June 2015 to see how well it protects older versions of this operating system. Norton did very well as Windows 8 antivirus software, again receiving a perfect score from AV-Test for correctly identifying and blocking malware. Norton received our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award for antivirus software for Windows 8.
Norton Security Antivirus for Windows 7
As it did for newer versions of Windows, Norton Security earned our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award for Windows 7 antivirus for scoring perfectly on protection in AV-Test independent reviews. This means it correctly identified, blocked and destroyed thousands of malware threats with only a slight slowdown of the test computer. Norton Security Standard provides the same protection and features for Windows 7 as it does for other Windows versions, including a bootable CD in case your computer is badly infected and needs to be rebooted, and a gaming mode that lets you play games online or watch videos without the program affecting them while it scans and protects your system.
Norton Security Antivirus for Windows Vista & XP
In its December 2010 test of Norton Security, AV-Test gave it a 5 out of 6, or 83 percent, for protection, meaning it performed about average for Windows Vista antivirus software. It was also average in its ability to correctly identify between good and bad files, blocking about as many legitimate sites as is normal for antivirus software on Windows Vista.
AV-Test evaluated version 10.1 of Norton in 2014 on Windows XP machines. It caused some significant lag in the computer while it was running, though it still scored a perfect 100 percent in recognizing and protecting against both current and newly discovered malware threats. It is included in our lineup of Windows XP antivirus software.
Help & Support
Norton Security lets you manage your devices from your online account, allowing you to add new devices or move protection from one device to another. The Norton Security subscription includes 24/7 customer support by telephone or online chat. However, we had issues with the online chat feature. Though we connected with support personnel quickly, they didn't directly answer our questions. Instead, the representative kept requesting personal information and insisted on speaking with us directly rather than answering simple questions online.
In tests by respected independent software lab AV-Test, Norton Security accomplished a perfect protection score for the most recent Windows operating systems – Windows 10, 8 and 7. It guards against phishing and both known and newly discovered malware, and it includes a gaming mode and a rescue CD. Norton tends to cause your computer to slow down a bit, but it will still run faster than average for computers running antivirus software.