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Over the past few years, security suites have managed to pick up a bad reputation for being bloated and slowing down the PCs on which they are installed. They are, in fact, sometimes regarded as necessary evils—users install them, but only begrudgingly. They aren’t entirely wrong to feel this way, since it’s true that the burdens imposed by such software on CPU utilization, hard disk space usage and even overall system boot time have ballooned out of proportion. When this happens, some users ditch the suites and instead combine separate antivirus, antispyware and firewall applications (often free ones), but plenty of them just do without any sort of protection at all.

Symantec has identified unnecessary bloat as the main area in which the 2009 editions of its products can be improved, and so we have Norton 360 version 3.0, which makes the bold claims of being able to be installed in less than one minute, using less than 10 MB of RAM at idle, and occupying less than 100 MB of disk space (without the definition files that accumulate over time). Those claims, and a couple of interesting new concepts for handling security altogether, are what make this suite interesting.

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