Norton 360

Published Date
01 - Feb - 2008
| Last Updated
01 - Feb - 2008
Norton 360

Even though the competition has increased in the anti-virus and (in general) the security software market, Norton continues to steam ahead with its variety of suites and applications. We reviewed Norton 360 a few months ago and thought it pretty good. It was a little lighter than most Symantec products and, more importantly, it was easy to use for a newbie. Hidden away behind its colourful yellow interface lies a few advanced features, and these are what we’ll be looking at here.

Backing Up Data To Disc

Backups are important to keep all your important data safe from virus attacks. Norton 360 can back up data to a specified location, even to CD or DVD. Click on Tasks & Settings, then on Change Backup Settings. Step 2 here has the Backup Location. Click on Change and select your CD-Writer or DVD-Writer drive. Click OK. Choose the folders to be backed up like you normally would. This time, when the backup process starts, the data will be put onto disc instead of a local hard drive.

Once you’ve activated your copy of Norton 360, you’ll get free online storage where you can back up your data to. In the same window where you selected the CD / DVD drive as your backup destination, you’ll also find Secure Online Storage.

The Controls?

Any newcomer to Norton 360 will be baffled by the interface—sure, it looks nice, but there are no clear buttons for scanning or for any of the other tasks. Go to Tasks & Settings. This window has all the functions. To scan, click the Run Scans link and choose from the type of scan you want to run. You can run a custom scan with only a few checks done by clicking Let me Choose.

Full Backup

There is a big difference between the Quick and Full Backup in Norton 360. Quick Backup is used to back up all the important documents from your My Documents. The Full Backup will scan your entire hard drive for important files to back up. The Complete Backup is therefore the preferable one. To choose Complete Backup, click on Tasks & Settings. Click Change Backup Settings. At the top right, click on Full Backup and click Save Settings.

The Full Backup might still miss out on certain important data that it can’t detect. In such cases, you can manually add folders and files by clicking on the Add a file or Add a folder buttons in the Backup Settings window.

The Phishing Bar In Internet Explorer

The Phishing Bar in Internet Explorer is there to warn you of sites that could possibly be fakes. Norton 360 refers to its own database and provides warnings through the bar. This bar, if you do not want it, can be disable by clicking on View > Toolbars > Show Norton Toolbar. If you want to disable the Phishing detection feature completely (if you use a browser not supported by Norton 360), you can do so by clicking on Tasks & Settings and then on Change Advanced Settings. On the right, uncheck the Transaction Security box. You can also disable pop-ups and updates from here if you wish to.

 PC Tune-up Schedule

Setting a schedule for the PC Tune-up is a good idea, we tend to hate running the whole line-up of scans when we’re working. It’s best to set a schedule time or an automatic weekly or monthly tune-up schedule. Go to Tasks and Settings, and then click on Change Advanced Settings from the menu on the right. Select Task Scheduling Settings. By default, the schedule for PC Tune-up is set to Automatic, and Norton 360 runs the schedule whenever it finds it suitable. Click on the drop-down and click on Weekly or Monthly scans. Choose the days or dates and the time you want the tune-up to start. Similarly, a schedule can be set for the backup as well.

Undo And Exclude

The Undo and Exclude feature is implemented so that, should Norton 360 make any drastic changes to your data, they can be undone. Go to Tasks and Settings > Change Advanced Settings > Undo & Exclude. There are tabs for Virus & Spyware, Browser Settings, and Network Addresses. Any changes to these components can be restored by clicking on the item and clicking Restore or Restore item to System.

Enabling And Disabling Automatic Tasks

During a complete PC Tune-up, Norton 360 runs a whole lot of tests, which you might not want it to do. To disable some of these, click on Tasks and Settings > Change Advanced Settings > Undo & Exclude.

For example, if you don’t want to do a disk backup, you can uncheck the checkbox for the Backup task. Click Close when done.

Creating Firewall Rules

Click on Tasks and Settings and then on Change Advanced Settings > Firewall Protection Settings. Here you’ll see two tabs—Firewall General Rules and Firewall Program Rules. Firewall General Rules contains simple rules sets for the entire system, not for any particular program. The Firewall Program Rules screen lets you add your own rules for a program. All the programs using the Internet and the network will be displayed. Click on the drop-down next to the program and choose from the type of access you want to assign. If you choose Custom, a set of rules will be displayed from which you can choose. Click Add to add a new rule of your own. Follow the steps in the Wizard and the new rule will be created. You can create many rules for a single program in the same manner.

Exceptions In Detecting Viruses And Spyware

Exceptions can be made to the different kinds of viruses and spyware scans that Norton 360 does on your system. One such setting exists; you can find it by going to Tasks and Settings > Change Advanced Settings > Virus & Spyware Protection Settings. Under the Automatic Protection Settings tab, there is an option for ignoring low-risk threats. This is set to Ignore by default, and you can set it to Automatically Remove if you want. Click the Threat Categories tab if you want to disable any kind of threat if you use different software to check for those.


For those who aren’t aware yet, Skype is a dedicated software for making phone calls over the Internet to another PC for free, or to land lines (which requires you to pay a fee). Here’s a look at a few of Skype’s important features, and some recommendations on add-ons.

Checking Audio Quality

Ever wondered what you sound like to the person on the other end of a Skype call? Well, you need to make a call to echo123. First make all necessary audio setting changes. When you’re ready to test it out, click on the address bar at the bottom of the Skype window and enter echo123. Press [Enter] and the call will be made. You will be asked to wait for a beep, after which you can speak. Your recorded message will then be played back. You can use this to tweak your audio recording settings.

Skype Live

A nifty new addition to Skype, Skype Live allows users to create public voice chat rooms. You can connect and talk to people on all kinds of topics. Such meetings can also be planned well in advance, and a listing of current conversations can be found on the Skype site or from the Live tab right in Skype.

Disable Sound Recording Normalisation

Skype has a feature that changes the volume at which your voice is recorded—depending on any sudden changes in volume.

This, in some cases, does not work effectively, and could result in low recording volume. The feature can be disabled by going to Tools > Options > General > Audio Settings. Uncheck the Let Skype Adjust my Audio Settings box. Here, as you’ll see, you can also force a volume for the microphone and speakers.

Using Your PC’s Internal Speaker As A Ringer

If you’re using a headset for Skype, there’s no way of knowing if you have a Skype call when you aren’t wearing the headphones. An easy trick to use the internal PC speaker as a ringer. Go to Tools > Options > General > Audio Settings. Under the Ringing section, check the Ring PC Speaker box and click Save.

Skype On The Move

Like many other software, Skype can be used as a portable application. This means you can carry your (personal) Skype installation around with you on your portable music player or USB drive. First install Skype like you normally would on your hard drive. Then, from the installed location, which is usually C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone, copy Skype.exe to a folder on your USB drive. Create a folder called Data inside that folder. Start Notepad, type in Skype.exe /datapath=“Data” /removable. Save the file as Skype.bat in the same folder as Skype.exe on the USB drive. Run it and enter the information like you normally would in a fresh installation. Check the box for Sign me in when Skype starts if you want to be able to double-click on the BAT file and log in automatically from any computer.

Contact Management

Contacts in Skype are just like in any other program. You might have a bunch of friends from school and some others who don’t have everyone in their list. Skype allows you to forward these contacts to others. Select Tools > Send Contacts. Hold down [Ctrl] and click on the contacts you want to send. In the Send contacts to field, enter the contact to whom you want to send the list. Click Send.
The other interesting feature people usually miss out on is Groups. Go to View > Contact Groups > Enable Contact Groups. In the small Groups bar that appears above your contact list, click on the icon to create a new group. You can now drag and drop existing contacts from your list into any of these groups.

The Groups feature allows for flexibility. For example, you can right-click on a group, say all your colleagues, and click Start Group Chat. You can also send contacts and files (like we mentioned).

Giving Skype Some Style

Skype hasn’t changed a lot through the years. There are few settings that can improve on the default look. You can change the wallpaper (the background you see on your Skype window). Go to File > Personalize > Change Wallpaper. There are many preset wallpapers you can choose from. Other than that, you can set a custom wallpaper by clicking on Browse. You can choose a plain colour by clicking on the Pick a preset color radio button and then using the slider to select a colour.

Enabling Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts for Skype are disabled by default; they can be enabled by selecting Tools > Options. Click on Advanced and then on Hotkeys. Check the box that says Enable keyboard shortcuts. You can change the shortcuts and enable and disable them as well. This should allow you to be able to control Skype without having it in focus.

Installing Add-ons For Skype

You can enhance the functionality of Skype using add-ons. Go to Tools > Do More > Organize your Extras. Here, you can choose from a categorised list of add-ons. Some of these might require that you have Skype Credit. Here are some that are worth trying; click on the green Open link on an add-on to download and install it.


ffdshow is a filter that can be used to decode a huge number of formats, which means you don’t have to go about installing all those codecs out there. Media Player Classic and ffdshow work as a great combo, and we will be using MPC to demonstrate some of ffdshow’s features. ffdshow is constantly under development, and new releases are brought out very often. and are good sites to find updates for ffdshow. These updates bring in optimisations like better support for multi-core processors. If you’re using the K-Lite codec pack that’s on our CDs, you’ll have ffdshow installed.

Disabling ffdshow For Codecs

It’s a similar problem for ffdshow with some codecs (like with some applications). Certain codecs won’t work as well with ffdshow as with some others. Like we’ll soon mention, ffdshow has quality enhancements settings which can cause performance drops. To disable ffdshow for a particular codec, right-click on the playing video, select Filters > ffdshow Video Decoder, then choose Codecs. Under the Decoder column, click the current decoder and choose a new decoder for the codec. Restart the player or the video to check if it works. If you get a blank output for that format, follow the same steps and set it to the previous decoder.

Enabling Deblocking And Other Quality Enhancements

One of ffdshow’s unique features is the ability to enhance the quality of video. Most of the videos we watch are heavily compressed, and some of them have pixelation, which is especially noticeable on large LCD screens. You can reduce this by enabling deblocking. Right-click on the playing video and select Filters > ffdshow Video Decoder. Check the box that says Postprocessing. To get an idea of how much the quality enhancements are affecting the video, check the Only right half box. Check one of the processing modes available and set a processing strength using the slider. When you’re pleased with the quality, uncheck the Only right half checkbox and click the Process whole image checkbox. Click OK to finish.

Some of these processing methods can be highly CPU-intensive, so you might want to select a different processing method such as fast SPP deblocking. Lowering the processing strength (by moving the Processing Strength slider) can also help.

Changing Contrast Ratios And Levels

The other type of enhancement can be done to the colour saturation and contrast levels of the video. The parameters can be different from video to video, but if, generally, you find abnormalities in the amount of colour, you can change it. Right-click on the Media Player Classic window with a video running, and click Filters > ffdshow Video Decoder. Choose and check the Picture properties box. Use the sliders for the Luminance gain (contrast) and Luminance offset (brightness) to change the brightness and contrast. Here, again, select the Only right half checkbox from the top of the window to get a preview of half the screen. Next, move the slider for the Saturation till you get a suitable result. When the settings are done, click OK.

Disabling ffdshow For Certain Applications

ffdshow can forcibly lock itself to certain applications and games. This can result in poor performance or other issues while playing. One of the biggest problems was The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion; people had instability and performance issues. In such cases, it’s a good idea to disable ffdshow. (Oblivion is one of several games that have now been added to the Ignore List of ffdshow in the releases that followed.)

Right-click on the playing video and select Filters > ffdshow Video Decoder. Click on Info & debug from the menu on the left. Here, check whether your application is already mentioned in the text bar next to Don’t use ffdshow in. If it doesn’t, click Edit and then Add to add your application. Browse to the location of the program and select the EXE of the application. Click Open. In the earlier menu, you can also use a similar procedure to mention which programs you want to use ffdshow with as well.

Saving And Loading Preset Settings

All the settings you’ve made can be saved through ffdshow for use at a later time, for example, on another computer. Start the ffdshow Video decoder configuration. Make sure you have all your settings done, then click on Image settings. Click on Save to file… to save the preset. Select a location and give a name to the preset. To load a preset, click on Read from file... To create a completely new preset from a saved preset, go to New > From file and select the file. To enable a preset, double-click on it.

ffdshow can also auto-load a preset depending on which format or codec you’re using (or any other parameter). In the same Image Settings view, check the box that says Automatic preset loading. First click the preset you want to use, then click Preset autoload conditions. Here, select the parameters you want to check before enabling the preset. For example, if we want all XviD images to make use of a preset, check the On FOURCC match box, click the button next to it, and select XVID from the list. Click OK.

Using Subtitles

A few media players like Media Player Classic and VLC have support for displaying subtitles while playing movies. If you don’t use Media Player Classic or VLC, then you might not be able to see subtitles in movies. ffdshow can enable subtitles in pretty much every media player.

Go to the ffdshow Video Decoder window by and check Subtitles. Click on the File radio button and click on …  to browse and point to the subtitle file, which may be where you downloaded it to, or in the same folder if it came along with subtitles. Select the position where you want the subtitles to be displayed by using the Horizontal and Vertical sliders. To change the style of the fonts, click on the Font item from the left. Set a suitable font, shadow, colour, etc. and click OK.

There are a few more advanced features. You can set a folder where all your subtitles are stored—just be sure to rename the subtitle filenames to match your video files. For example if your movie is called MovieTest1.avi, rename your subtitle file to Check the Heuristic search box; it can help in auto-detecting the subtitle file. If you don’t mention a path, ffdshow will look for the subtitles in the same folder as the video file.

Capturing Images From A Video

ffdshow does a lot more than image enhancing—you can have screenshots taken at regular intervals during a movie. This can be enabled by right-clicking on the movie and clicking on Filters > ffdshow Video Decoder. Check the box for Grab. Select at what frequency you want the frames to be captured. Click on the button next to Path to select the location where the images should be dumped. Finally, set a suitable format and a quality setting. Click OK and start playing the movie to start the capturing. To disable the capturing, uncheck Grab.

Enabling And Using Keyboard Shortcuts For ffdshow Effects

Effects can enabled on the fly while playing videos using ffdshow. The shortcuts are assigned, but not enabled by default. To enable the shortcuts, start the ffdshow configuration window. Click on Keys & remote. Click the Keyboard control checkbox; you’ll see all the effects and features that can be enabled through shortcuts. You can double-click on any one of the effects to change the shortcut. Hold down [Ctrl], [Alt], and [Shift] along with the key for the effect to toggle it. This feature can be especially useful in cases when you want your processing settings that you earlier set up to be enabled instantly.

If you want to see the status of all the effects currently in use, you can enable the OSD feature in ffdshow. Click the OSD checkbox. By default, some other information will be displayed. Disable these details by un-checking the boxes and clicking OK. Now, every time you enable an effect, a notification will appear on the screen for a short duration. Settings for the font used on the OSD can be changed from the Font menu.

ffdshow’s Audio Decoder

ffdshow’s Audio Decoder component can be used to play back all music formats. You will need to set your media players to use ffdshow. For example, in Winamp, go to Options > Plug-ins > Input. Double-click on Nullsoft DirectShow Decoder. Add the formats that you want ffdshow to use separated by a semicolon, for example: MP3;MP4 Click Close.

Now when you play a song in Winamp, you should see the ffdshow Audio Decoder icon in the System Tray. All the effects can be viewed and settings changed by first clicking on ffdshow Audio Decoder. The different plugins can be enabled by checking on the boxes next to the names. The rest of the functionality is similar to that in ffdshow Video Decoder.
Using Winamp Plugins

When you use ffdshow on other media players, it gives you the option to use Winamp’s inbuilt plugins, like special equalisers. Start the ffdshow Audio Decoder. Click the Winamp 2 checkbox to enable this plugin. Locate the path for the Winamp folder using the button at the top. All the plugins will be listed in the drop-down menu at the bottom of the window. Choose the plugin you want to use. In this case, we’ll use the Shibatch Super Equalizer. Click on Configure to set the options for the plugin. Click OK when done.
Using The Inbuilt Equaliser And Importing Winamp Presets

You can also use the inbuilt equaliser instead of Winamp’s by clicking on the Equalizer checkbox. Make any changes to the equaliser and click OK. You can also load presets from the Winamp equaliser. Assuming you saved the equaliser settings to an EQF file, click on the Load Winamp preset button. Browse to the location. Enter the File name as *.eqf and point to the file you saved. A small entry should appear next to the button. Click it to load the preset. Click OK when done.

J River Media Jukebox 12

Some of us are used to Winamp, and some have stuck with Windows Media Player... but don’t forget that there are alternatives. J River Media Jukebox 12 is one of the latest releases of the Media Jukebox application. It is completely free and fully-functional (unlike J River Media Center). The interface is similar to that of iTunes, and it has a lot of impressive features.

Recording Your Own Tracks

Media Jukebox 12 can record tracks through the line-in or microphone. The Sound Recorder that comes with Windows has a limitation of 60 seconds; Media Jukebox 12 doesn’t.

To start the recorder, go to Tools > Advanced Tools > Record Sound…. Click on Options to configure the settings. Click on Encoding to see the encoder settings. Click on the Encoder drop-down button and select a codec that you want to use. Click Encoder Settings to set the advanced options for that encoder—quality profiles and the bitrates. Click on Recorder to select the input settings. Select the device and the source—it could be a line-in or microphone or mixer. Set a higher recording volume if your microphone isn’t loud enough. When done, click OK. Click Start to start to start recording. You can split a continuous recording into multiple tracks by clicking on Split Track at any time.

Downloading Cover Art For Albums

When we collect music, we generally sorting and rename it in an orderly manner. Almost all well-known media players have support for cover art, which is displayed alongside the song playing. Click on the Playing Now link on the left, and the album art for the song and album will be displayed at the top of the playlist.

Most media players don’t download covert art for you; you are to depend on a standalone application for downloading album covers and then set it for each album. Media Jukebox 12 can download the album art for all songs and albums. To download album art, select all the songs and albums from the playlist, right click-on it, and click Cover Art > Get From Internet… Click OK and the images will be downloaded. Depending on the number of songs, it can take a while. You can also acquire the cover art using a scanner—click on Get From Scanner… to do that. If you find a good album cover while you’re browsing the Internet, you can copy it to your clipboard. Right-click on an image in your browser and click Copy. Right click on a song and click on Cover Art > Paste from Clipboard. You can also use an image URL.

Album View

Assuming you have all your music sorted into albums and all the album art downloaded, you can use the Album View, which displays a very attractive presentation of all your music. Click on Audio from the left menu, then click on the View menu and then on View Settings > Album Thumbnails. You can double-click on any of the albums to start playing all the tracks on it. You can also choose how many album covers should be displayed on a page. Use the slider at the top right of the window to alter the number of covers displayed.

Switching To Full-screen View

Media Jukebox 12 has a dedicated full-screen mode, which can be useful as a dedicated media playback system. The full screen can be used for navigation mode, and the cover art we just talked about can be displayed as a full-screen image. You can double-click on the visualisation being displayed at the bottom left of the screen to switch to full-screen mode.

The arrow keys can be used to control the playback and visualisations. Use the up and down keys to change the type of control—playback, visualisation, volume, etc. Use the left and right keys to change the value.

A Game In J River Media Jukebox!

One of the visualisations that come with Media Jukebox 12 has a game in it—Pong! By default, the visualisation has both players as AI, but you can control the left paddle by pressing [W] to move it up and [S] to move it down.

Downloading Podcasts   

J River Media Jukebox can manage and download podcasts and then play them whenever you want. Click on Podcasts to access the podcasts feature. If you know the address of the RSS feed for a podcast, click on Add New Feed. Enter a name and the exact URL for the RSS feed. Click OK. You can also use Google search to browse and find podcasts feeds right through Media Jukebox.

Once you have the podcasts added to your list, you’ll find them under the Podcast link to the left. You can choose to have all the podcasts automatically downloaded, or you can manually download the podcasts you want. To download a podcast, click on the Download link in the Episode Status column in the podcast of your choice. To have podcasts automatically downloaded, click the Edit This Feed button at the top. Use the Download drop-down menu and select All Episodes to download all the episodes.

Using Smart Playlists

The Smart Playlist is a unique, and an equally useful feature in Media Jukebox. It allows you to filter out music very accurately. So for example, you can have a list of all the songs in your library that are 192 kbps and from 2007. To add a new smart playlist, right-click on Playlists and click Add Smartlist. Choose the parameter by clicking on the Rules drop-down menu, and enter a suitable value. In this case, choose Bitrate and enter the value as 192. Multiple rules can be added in the same manner by clicking the Add New Rule button, so we add another rule—Year, and the value as 2007. There are also lists of preset rules that can be added by clicking on Add Stock Rule button.

Auto-renaming Tracks

Our music collections are often not titled properly, and the files have random names. You can have MP3s renamed using the ID3 tag data in the files or vice versa. To do this, first select the files you want to rename. Right-click on the selected files and click Library Tools > Fill Properties from Filename to have the tags filled with information from the filenames, or click Rename Files from Properties to use the ID3 tag information to rename the files. From the drop-down menus, you can choose one of the fixed presets that suits the way your files have been named. The same can be done while converting title details to filenames.

Creating Audio CDs

Media Jukebox can create Audio CDs as well as standard MP3 CD or DVDs with its inbuilt CD / DVD burning feature. Click on the Action tab on the left and choose Burn Disc. Choose whether you want to burn a Data CD or an Audio CD. If you use the Data CD or DVD, you can even use it to burn data files like you would in any CD / DVD burning application. Just beware that Media Jukebox doesn’t include subdirectories when you choose the files and folders to be burned. Drag and drop the files you want to burn on the disc. Click on Burn to burn the disc. Before you do that, you can customise and change the settings for the writer. Click on Details to see the sequence of songs on the CD. You can drag and drop them in the order you want them to be in.

If you click on Options > Burn Settings, you can choose the speed that the disc should be burnt at. Click on the drop-down next to the drive and choose the speed.

Creating CD Labels

J River Media Jukebox 12 comes as a 12 MB installer, and it includes everything—a CD / DVD writing feature and even a CD Label Creator. The CD Label Creator feature is great for burning Audio CDs. The software can create a cover for your discs and for the labels discs cover as well.

First select the tracks that you plan on putting on the CD by holding down the [Ctrl] and [Shift] keys. Then, go to Tools > Advanced Tools > Disc Labeler. At any time, you can get a preview of the finished print by clicking on the Preview button. Themes for the print can be selected by clicking on the Themes dropdown menu. The CD Info option will show you the list of songs and the name of the artist and CD titles which you can change. The last three menus on the left have customisation options for the front, back cover, and the CD label. In each one of them, you have the option to use the cover art as the background for the label and also a listing of the tracks on the CD. You can also click on Go To Label Editor to be able to modify every detail of the design and label. 

Using iPod Support

Music Jukebox 12 can also sync with most iPods. Connect your iPod like you normally would and start Media Jukebox 12; your iPod should be detected by the program. If it hasn’t detected it, go to Tools > Options > Handheld. Click on Redetect all devices to detect the devices. Now, click on Drives and Devices, and you should see your iPod in the list—and all the songs and media on it. You can now drag and drop songs into your iPod. iPod users can now acquire album art for their songs and then transfer it to their iPods and have cover art displayed on them.

This same feature can be used for non-iPod music players. You can set the folder or location on the player’s drive under Tools > Options > Handheld. Click Add Device and give it a name. Next, click on Browse and choose the location of the media player. Click OK.

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