Removing Norton Security Scan and Lessons Learned

Hey Rick there’s this Norton Security Scan thing that’s dug in like a tick and can’t get rid of it… My computer is running dog slow!

Norton Security Scan

This was a recent subject to an email I received. Of course, my first thought and instinct as a techie, was malware…

The Good… I started researching Norton Security Scan and from what I found is that Norton Security Scan is a free legitimate app (by Symantec) that provides on-demand scanning and removal or repair of viruses, spyware and other malware. The virus definitions are updated when your computer is connected to the internet.  Ok, that did not sound too bad.

The bad… Further research indicates that Norton Security Scan has a tendency to piggyback onto your PC via other software installs (such as Adobe Shockwave Player). From what I am reading you can opt out installing Norton Security Scan, via these other software installs, but through (in my opinion) trickery the check box to opt out is already checked. Most computer users will not know the difference; therefore, they continue the install of the app and Norton Security Scan comes along for the ride.  As a result, Norton Security Scan runs alongside your other installed security software and the end result is slow PC (and the potential for problems).

The bad… Once on your PC, this app really does dig in like a tick, is very difficult to remove through normal uninstall channels, will keep coming back; AND from what I am reading will use scare tactics to encourage you to buy other Symantec security products. Hmmmm… Sounds like the tactics used in a malware scareware attack…

A Possible Solution… Getting back to the problem at hand with removing Norton Security Scan… I emailed the person back and had them run the latest version of the Norton Removal Tool and the report I received back was that “I believe we got it…”. This tool is engineered to remove various Norton products and hooks from your PC. During my research, I did find instances where registry edits and manual deletion of files/folders associated with Norton Security Scan may also be required.

Lessons Learned…

First Lesson: During any software install make sure you read everything closely during the installation steps to ensure you are installing only what you want to install. Being a seasoned software installer and tester, I have been finding more and more instances, during installation routines, where other second party apps are being installed and coming along for the ride. Sometimes the “opt out” for these apps are cleverly camouflaged.

Second Lesson: Any security apps that you have installed and you decide to uninstall them, make sure you visit the software products site to determine the removal process. Security apps, when installed (such as antivirus, antispyware, antimalware), are very complex and often require special tools to take them off of your PC. The normal uninstall process, built into Windows, typically will not do a thorough job.


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15 thoughts on “Removing Norton Security Scan and Lessons Learned

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    1. @ WD
      -with all due respect, FYI,
      Symantec has been reviled by the IT crowd since Win08.
      Many say it’s worse than having viruses& malware.


  1. Cappydawg,

    AppRemover is a great app to remove security apps and good that you point it out.

    During the writing of this post I checked the AppRemover site and Norton Security Scan is one app that is not on their removal list.

    Thanks again!



  2. My sister gave me a laptop with an installed McAfee AV. When I found out that the AV was expired, I tried to delete it to get the disk space back and to stop their irritating desktop pop ups. Same problem -it can’t be deleted. Even a special force-delete program didn’t work. When I contacted the McAfee service, they tried to get me to reinstall their AV instead of helping me! No wonder Microsoft and the number 2 search engine both support Norton. Thanks for the info Rick.


  3. Great post. When I got my new PC, and found that it had a trial Norton package on it, my son warned me about the very issue you’ve described. He led me to the same download site you’ve indicated to get the removal tool. Worked like a charm! 😀


  4. The difference between Norton and McAfee for “Security Scan scare” programs is that Norton Security Scan does perform a useful function (if you have the knowledge to interpret the results).

    NSS is like getting Norton Insight (the cloud technology NAV uses) for the price of Symantec plugging their product. If anything particularly bad is found, *you* are the one who needs to make the choice to buy a security product (Symantec or other) or continue unprotected. Yes, at worst, the big red X next to Tracking Cookies is misleading to those with limited computing knowledge, but it could be worse. Lets take a look at what McAfee have been up to…

    McAfee SecurityScan Plus piggybacks on Adobe Flash updates. Its “scan” checks for the presence of McAfee products. Yes, NSS does this too, but here is where the similarities end. It does not perform a virus or malware scan, but instead gives very generalised information about your “protection status”, usually along the lines of “you will get your identity stolen if you don’t buy McAfee now”. It is in effect scareware which performs no useful purpose.

    The irony is that purchasing McAfee these days is shocking insurance against malware, which is probably why they’re resorting to tactics such as this.


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