Best answer by Kit
There we go. Having the reasoning makes it easier to address your concerns. Keep in mind, you're not talking to a Corporate Stooge/Tier 1 tech here. You're talking to a real person with 17 years in the security industry who works here because it's the best solution out there. Yes, I frequent /. and Wilders and various others too. You'll also find a lot of Wilders users on here.
For one, I have huge archives, ebook collections and other stuff that doesn't need to be scanned over and over again.
Not a concern. We don't operate that way anyway, unless you're doing something silly like Full Scans regularly as opposed to the default deep scans. Remember, we're not the Other Security Software. We already know the eBooks can't contain threats, and we don't care about the archives. There's a reason we've been consistently the lightest and fastest since we came out. Simply put, the agent knows what can run, what is likely to run, and what will run. It doesn't worry about data files that cannot contain machine code, and in the event of things such as buffer overflow remote code execution, it uses a realtime system at that time rather than trying to determine which files could possibly cause an issue.
Trust me, my wife used to have to set to exclude her art directories (yay for monolithic high-resolution PSDs), and she doesn't anymore because even she recognizes that the agent doesn't even bother to glance at them.
I also have some password recovery programs that are always mistaken for a virus and then sometimes simply deleted (especially by Bitdefender).
This is a trickier one. No matter what else you use, you're stuck in a situation where "Ignore this file proactively" is a need in those cases. Norton requires you to ignore the file too. That being said, we -never- "simply delete". Will we detect things as "Hacking Tools" if they can be used for nefarious purposes? Yes. However unless you're uninstalling and reinstalling the agent frequently, this is a non-issue. A one-time "Put that back and ignore it" solves that issue without leaving the figurative key beneath your doormat.
Unfortunately, despite my own opinions and everybody else's, we really do have to do what's best for "The majority", so your much-derided "Because it's what's good for you" actions are necessary. While you may be able to recover from a severe infection in minutes, the majority of people can't and it's a catastrophic event.
I know how it works and I like to be in charge and take decisions. I don't like software telling me what I can and what I can't do.
Been there. Still there. Honestly, I get much greater granularity of control from WSA. Even Norton has limitations. Try telling it to use under 6MB of RAM while idle. Try telling it to "ignore the low level utilities in this directory, but please do catch any actual threat that goes in there"... The former is done by an exclude, but the second half of the latter is not-done due to the exclude.
It kind of sounds like you've been doing full scans. Don't. That's not an order, mind you. That's a recommendation. Don't waste your time making the WSA agent pretend to be a slow, old, bloated security client. It's just not necessary, nor does it really help anything. Plus it'll cause you to have more desire for exclusions. Under normal operation with deep scans, it works faster, more efficiently, and there is no need for exclusions.
Anyway, it's all up to you. Every software package will have its own upsides and downsides. On the firewall side, I use the Windows firewall to pre-emptively block software from accessing the internet. Others use the firewall of their choice. The SecureAnywhere firewall is specifically intended to be an anti-threat firewall, not a firewall made for user control decisions. That's why it can run along with any other firewall.
I answered this because even if you went back to Norton, you probably wouldn't have responded if you weren't looking for an answer. Oh, and if you truly decide that ditching the software is the way to go, we give a 70-day Money Back guarantee if you got it through an authorized source.
That being said, if you have low-level questions, please do feel free to continue to ask. I do have answers.
Edit: Spell-Checking again (The original was posted from home with no time to finish completely. *Oops*). Anyway, one of the things I would ask you to keep in mind is that while you can see your desires and actions, we have to take into account the needs and actions of millions of users. I think that when you said "semi-intelligent adult", you grossly underestimated your skill level. We used to see all the people who were infected because they followed instructions on web pages that explained precisely how to exclude a directory from scanning, followed by the saving "this program you want" to that directory and running it. If ever "This is why we can't have nice things" applies, this is an example. And that's just one of the ways exclusions caused problems. So we really are working hard to make all of the classic and other possible reasons for wanting an exclusion function obsolete so that a blanket exclusion is not necessary.