Norton’s products are steadily deteriorating – I’ve written about some of my frustration with Norton Internet Security for single PCs and Symantec Antivirus for server-based networks. Last week I installed Norton Antivirus 2005 on a typical desktop PC and got a phone call within a few hours complaining about how the computer had slowed down to the point of being nearly unusable. McAfee products are even worse, and I have yet to work with a competing antivirus program – Trend Micro, Panda, etc. – that wasn’t overly busy and complex and confusing.

Microsoft will be introducing a new subscription security package soon. I’ve been testing Windows OneCare for the last few weeks; it’s exactly right, just what we need. It’s simple, light on system resources, and does its absolute best not to call attention to itself. Here’s an article with extensive screen shots.

Pricing has not been announced. Symantec charges twenty-five dollars or so for a year’s renewal to antivirus definitions. So far Windows OneCare has not been integrated with Microsoft Antispyware; Microsoft could charge more if all of the functions were combined.

Windows OneCare can do backups automatically, and does them in a slick way. The beta only backs up to blank CDRs, but a survey today leads me to think that the final release will support backups to external hard drives.

I’m dying to leave the Symantec family of products. Windows OneCare might be the answer that saves us all some frustration. And Microsoft has now announced a server-based security suite that will begin testing at the end of the year, perhaps giving small businesses a roadmap away from Symantec Antivirus.

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