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Yesterday I was having breakfast in Madrid, as you do, enjoying the 30 degree heat and the ice cold orange juice. I was also enjoying the opportunity to be my usual grumpy self and throw awkward questions in the direction of my breakfast companion, Con Mallon the Director of Regional Product Marketing, Symantec Consumer Business Unit. I tried to conceal my disbelief when Con, in response to my hackneyed 'does it uninstall cleanly' question, said it sure did. In just over a minute. "Go try it yourself" Con told me. So I did.

Unfortunately I had to wait until I had got back from Madrid, as my Acer Aspire One netbook has no optical drive. And anyway, I wanted to try it on a test machine that sees real world action amongst the security products of this world. Which knows how to make claims like 'it uninstalls cleanly' disappear in a puff of marketing promise.

But, you know what, I think I have to say that Con was right. That Norton has finally cracked the clean uninstall conundrum.

God knows it has taken long enough.

It has also taken more complaints than I can actually recall, both from the media and angry consumers.

And it for sure has taken plenty of broken promises from Symantec along the way. With every release of NIS journalists were told, both at launch events and at the technical review workshops we are sometimes invited to (my invites dried up long ago, no doubt courtesy of my asking the question a little too often, a little too loudly) that the uninstall problems had been worked on and were now a thing of the past.

But, I do believe, that Symantec has finally come up with a version of Norton Internet Security which uninstalls without leaving a scattergun wound across your entire system. No registry hooks waiting to catch on the next bit of security software you attempt to install. No background processes running so as to consume precious CPU cycles on the off chance that one day you might install another Norton product.

Nothing. Nada. And zilch for that matter.

Just your system as you left it before you installed Norton Internet Security 2009 in the first place.

But here comes the real ironic twist. Symantec has waited until it has a version of Norton Internet Security that you don't actually need to uninstall. NIS 2009 is actually really rather impressive, if my initial impressions are anything to go by.

Not only is it quick to install, in well under a minute from hitting the go button to being protected, but it doesn't smash into your system resource usage with a sledgehammer once it is up and running either. NIS 2009 has, it would seem, delivered upon the promise to be quicker, to be smaller and to be better.

It is too early for me to have put it through its paces in my own little security lab set up here at Chez Happy Geek, or for me to draw firm conclusions from the few hours it has been running on a sacrificial PC in the office. However, it did install quickly, it doesn't consume CPU cycles like a fat bloke at the all you can eat buffet, and it does scan really quite astonishingly quickly.

Above all else though, if it doesn't continue to deliver upon its promises, if it ever becomes the lipstick wearing pig that many have associated Norton Internet Security with in the past, then one thing is for sure: you can uninstall it without having to worry about what it leaves behind...

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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Last Post by Diguelo
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I was bitten so many time by Symantec software in the past that I havent used it since 2004. Since then Ive seen no end of machines with norton related problems with it installed and uninstalled, the aftermath is enough to cope with. I dont even bother mentioning it to anyone any more.

Ive recently been using the Comodo series of products, all free and easy to use and install.

Sorry Norton, even if you have got your uninstall fixed its a tad late in the day.

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