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Symantec Beta Comes With A Painful Catch For Norton Users

Want to check out Symantec's preview of Norton Confidential? Beware: The beta is incompatible with other key Norton products, and you'll have to uninstall them to preview the new add-on software.
Symantec opened the preview of its new online transaction security software to the public this week, but warned users that they must uninstall the company's flagship security products to try out the beta.

Norton Confidential, which was announced in June, includes anti-phishing blacklists and heuristic-based detectors, keylogger and screen grabber sniffers, site authentication cues, and a password manager.

Symantec has pitched the product as an after-market add-on for users of its disk-based consumer money makers, Norton Internet Security and Norton AntiVirus; many of Confidential's features are slated for Norton 360, the all-in-one security service the company plans to debut later this year or early in 2007.

During a June teleconference call with Wall Street analysts, Enrique Salem, the head of Symantec's consumer group, said "Norton Confidential is a stop-gap [aimed at] our installed base." But if Symantec is targeting its base, many users may be unwilling to try out the beta. According to notes displayed before the download begins, the beta is incompatible with Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security, Norton Personal Firewall, and Norton SystemWorks versions 2006 and earlier.

"If you have one or more of these products installed on your computer, you will be prompted to uninstall any and all of them in order to download and test the Norton Confidential Beta," the notes read.

Although a Mac OS X version of Confidential has been announced by Symantec, the beta works only on systems powered by Windows XP.

Users can begin the Norton Confidential beta download process here.

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Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
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