Last year’s version of Norton Antivirus was a fine piece of work – easy to use, easy to keep updated, and way ahead of the mish-mash of products put out by Mcafee. But it had a couple of problems: its method of scanning e-mail was clumsy and frequently stopped e-mail from functioning; it could significantly interfere with some database-driven programs; and it was not compatible with Windows XP. Probably its most maddening feature was when your subscription expired for virus definitions. The window intended to alert you would open behind another open window, making it appear that the program had crashed. And it was almost never able to complete the process of signing you up online for an extension, and most people never found the energy to make the phone call that was the only alternative.

Norton Antivirus 2002 is slightly more expensive – forty dollars. But it’s even easier to install, it supports Windows XP, and the e-mail scanning is completely overhauled and works like a charm. I don’t know whether the other problems were fixed, but in this paranoid age this is a no-brainer. Click on the link and upgrade!

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