Uninstalling Norton: A Dramatic Recreation

This morning, I removed Norton AntiVirus/SystemWorks from another machine in the lab. It went something like this:

I’ve been a Norton customer for 15 years, before the Symantec acquisition and through four separate operating systems starting with Windows 95. I even several of Norton’s books to those early operating systems as I tried to bend my head around the change to Windows 95 (you know, when the GUI doesn’t lie atop DOS but is the operating system itself).

However, it has been with a growing reluctance, especially as this century has advanced.

The whole shebang really bogs the systems down. On my laptop, it took several minutes to come out of screensaver on the mornings after Norton ran a whole system scan, and I’d have to reboot the machine–after the several minutes’ worth of screen saver recovery–to bring it back up to regular operating speed.

Some of it’s my fault, no doubt, for allowing it to run for years installing its updates and leaving its garbage behind. But, really.

So here’s how I had to go about it:

  1. Uninstall the Live Update Service. Its updater runs on its own and has its own uninstall service. If you try to uninstall Norton AntiVirus or Norton SystemWorks on its own, it refuses as the Live Update Service might be working even now.
  2. Uninstall the Live Update Service Notifier. Which is different from the preceding somehow. But I wanted to kill them both before I tackled the others.
  3. Uninstall Norton AntiVirus. It’s a big kahuna, and it knocked me off of my wireless network since it had to uninstall its network drivers. Really.
  4. Reboot.
  5. Uninstall Norton SystemWorks. But, Director, doesn’t that include Norton AntiVirus? Depends upon the bundling. I initially on SystemWorks but balked and upgrading/licensing the whole thing when I came to the end of the year. So I just got the upgrade/install for the AntiVirus, I guess. How old is this laptop, anyway?
  6. Reboot.

Then she was singing “Daisy.”

I’m not saying I’m done with Norton/Symantec forever; a lot of machines come with it bundled on at purchase, and I’ll probably run it then. However, I am saying it’s a good strategy to do that. When the license expires and you remove Norton, it’s like getting an upgraded machine.

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