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« The Hobson and Holtz Report - Podcast #99: January 2, 2006 | Main | Mine tragedy 'miscommunication' »

03 January 2006

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Sallie Goetsch (rhymes with "sketch")

Oh, dear. Hasn't anyone ever warned you that the fastest way to render a good computer completely useless is to install Norton on it?

I've been using AVG Free for about a year and it works just great. I don't use a software firewall (apart from the one that comes with Windows XP), but have a hardware firewall in the router.

I've done tech-support for a number of people, and as far as I can tell, most software firewalls are far more trouble than they're worth.

Now for the really bad news: to *thoroughly* clean the infection called Norton off your computer, you'll probably have to reinstall it from scratch.

Earl Voss

Nevon,
I encountered several problems this past summer when my virus definition subscription expired. Faced with a choice of spending $40 for 1 year of virus def updates, or $50 for a brand new NIS 2005, I chose the latter for my Dell laptop. Almost immediately afterwards I began running into odd problems and delays. For example, If I simply right-clicked on My Computer and selected Properties, it would take > 10 minutes for that form to display. Plugging in a new USB device should not take more than a minute or so for recognition/configuration. Instead, such operations took some 30 minutes. I finally determined that the cause must be NIS and I uninstalled it and then installed the free for home use Avast! product. I haven't had issues since.
Regards,
Earl

neville

Thanks for those encouraging words, Sallie ;)

Over the years, my experience with Norton has been very good. Only with NIS 2006 have I encountered such pain-in-the-arse issues. I regret upgrading, in fact.

My reinstall seems to have cured those problems. But it's more than just a fresh reinstall and the tweaks I mentioned in this post. I've disabled or removed some other apps that might have been conflicting (Nvidia helper app and SoundBlaster vol control applet, among others). Plus changed behaviours of some services running in Windows that don't need to be.

These things combined appear to have worked some magic, judging my the new lack of errors being paraded in the Event Viewer. Mind you, I'm still not with all my apps installed afresh yet.

Of course, you shouldn't have to do any such fiddling. But this is the real world :)

Earl, I'm willing to persevere with NIS a bit longer!

Liam M

Over my many years of commercial and Consumer support/administration duties I've found that any software firewall installed on windows WILL eventually cause problems. The crux of this being that software firewalls are esentially hacks. Most internet security suites rewrite or modify the windows TCP/IP stack and no good ever comes of that (the idea being too many cooks spoil the broth or in this case too many coders spoil the stack). I would strongly suggest to anyone considering a software firewall to stick with microsofts own software firewall and then suppliment it with antivirus software and a hardware firewall (Linksys Router, Sonicwall, Alphashield etc.). Don't look at this as a slam on Norton but as a slam on software firewalls in general Norton is no better than Mcaffee or ZoneLabs or anyone else. Software firewalls are a bad hack at best.

neville

Liam, I've heard similar views from others as well. See Sallie's comments too.

Just about everyone I know doesn't have anything good to say about the Windows XP firewall, even the improved one that comes with XP SP2. The only good thing, I guess, is that it's better than nothing at all.

I have been thinking more about this whole NIS thing. My Belkin router has a pretty robust hardware firewall. So maybe that plus antivirus, antispware, etc, software might be enough.

Yet my belief has always been - use both if you can. So if you have a robust and reliable hardware firewall, the trick then is to use a similar-confidence software one as well.

And there's the rub with NIS 2006.

But I'll persevere with it a bit more. Since reinstall I've had none of the issues with NIS that I encountered before. If that continues the same, I think I'll stick with it.

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