Can we really trust Norton PC Checkup Tool !?

I was pretty excited when I came across this application tool from Symantec – the Norton PC Checkup. It is a free tool that scans for computer problems and notifies you of the same, if any are found.

Specifically, the tool assesses threat and security risks, checks if you have security software installed, checks your power management settings, identifies performance problems and checks for security weaknesses in your wireless network.

Norton PC Checkup conducts a 13-point diagnostic scan that examines over 200 PC attributes, to identify viruses and other threats, uncovers security weaknesses that could put your files and identity at risk, and roots out problems that can slow down your computer.

Being impressed I decided to take the tool for a run!

Norton PC Checkup

After downloading the latest available 11.5 MB file version of the Norton PC Checkup tool and installing it, it first updates its virus definitions and then runs a full scan on your system.

The scan took around 20 minutes to complete on my PC, and at the end of it, this is what I was told:

  • My PC was vulnerable
  • My computer was not protected by anti-virus software
  • My PC’s performance was poor
  • 84 Threats were found on my PC.

Now if you hover your cursor over the problem areas, you will be given additional details about your ‘problems’. Let us take a few examples.

1) The tool told me I had no security software installed.

I have Eset NOD32 installed on my PC. My Windows 7 is up-to-date with all latest Windows Updates installed. My System Restore, Firewall, etc are turned on. Yet the tool told me I had no anti-virus protection installed.

The so-called 84 threats were nothing but Cookies.

Hmm … now does one consider Cookies as threats or are they just over-rated?

2) My PC performance was Poor. I am very particular about keeping my PC working at its best – I do the necessary house-keeping stuff every week or month as may be required. I have no start-ups, a 8 GB RAM, more than enough free disk space and run disk cleanup utility regularly.

The tool also told me that my PC power settings were poor, in spite of the fact that the Power Settings are optimized and configured to Turn off the display and Put the computer to sleep to 10-15 minutes.

4) What was also surprising was that the tool told me that my System Restore was turned Off and that I had no system restore points to fall back on.

I was a bit taken aback when I read this. I always have my System Restore turned ‘on’ and ensure that I have at least a couple of points available. So I quickly checked it. Turned out that my system restore was On (as it is always set to be) and that I had more than enough system restore points to fall back on.

The suggestion? Buy Norton Backup!

The tool offered solution for almost all of these ‘so-called’ problems – all directing to a web page suggesting some Norton software.


If you are looking for a genuine tool to carry out a PC Checkup, Norton PC Checkup is not the tool to download and use. It will probably scare you and create a feeling of anxiety and tell you, that you don’t have an anti-virus software installed (even if you do) and direct you to buy Norton anti-virus; or maybe even tell you that your system restore is not working (even if it is) and recommend Norton Backup instead.

Now while this tool may not strictly fall under the class of Scareware, it is at best an Adware, designed to point out existent and non-existent issues on your Windows PC and then finally advice you to buy a Norton software.

UPDATE: That was fast! Norton has responded to this post with a tweet. I appreciate the quick response and am thankful to them for having taken note of this post.

I truly hope Norton can make a credible tool that every Windows PC user would want to use – something like the Secunia tool which many use to check vulnerable and out-dated software on their PC. It will go a long way in building up trust!

UPDATE: Related story – A suit has been filed by a US resident against Symantec, claiming it sells Scareware.

Posted by on , in Category Security with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. Marc

    Norton have given us a new category called “foolware”. As a Norton user I am very dissapointed to see Symantec using these poor marketing ideas to help sales.

  2. Jerrymiah

    I wouldn’t Noton on any computer. I’ve used Norton Utilities and Securities in the past (1980s) but at one point during that decade they stopped making the software that users needed and started bloathing their software. Since then, I’ve stopped buying it and switched to more efficient software.

  3. Foolware … I like that! 🙂

  4. Marc

    Norton have had some well deserved bad press for heavy bloated and slow software. I too quit using Norton Antivirus products a few years back, but seriously today their products are really streamlined and are amazingly light on CPU and resources. You might too be surprised.

  5. Nick

    Norton products have been like that ever since Symantec purchased the products from Peter Norton. I have been repairing PCs for over three decades; I have removed Norton products off of PCs countless times over the years. The above is another example of how bad their products really are. I usually call it junkware, but I like the term foolware.

  6. Gordon Radix

    Norton Products were excellent (early 90’s) before Symantec bought the Company..

  7. Joeschmoe2008

    I had the free Norton DNS product installed and my access to this page was blocked. After I uninstalled Norton DNS I was able to access this page.

  8. Woah – This is interesting … Norton DNS blocking this page … 😀

  9. zac

    now to think of it i have the same problem with norton. lately i have been seeing that my computer is unprotected and it is running slow. i thought norton was the best because of how long they were in the business but i was wrong again!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Jim Boyd

    As someone who removes viruses from 3 -5 customer computers a day…trust me when I tell you that ALL Norton and McAfee products are completely useless when it comes to actually protecting your computer from anything.

    However they are quite effective at getting people to open their wallets and buy this crap.

  11. GeorgiaCowboy

    Their dirty tricks just KEEP COMING!
    I repair PCs and ALWAYS dump this crap.

  12. Anonymous

    BULL!…………A long long time ago Central Point had some pretty nifty software.
    So did Quarterdeck and many others – – Symantec bought every good utility in sight, packaged them up & started rolling out lumbering resource eating “suites” I guess. It went straight to hell. Nearly everyone that “knew” got rid of anything Symantec (Norton) including me. But things have changed.
    About 3 years ago Norton began impressing the hell out of me. Like many of you, I “repair” PC’s (that’s another story) & have the opportunity to see a lot of software. What caught my attention was XP PC’s with 512mb ram & Norton AV installed that ran smoothly. A little info box would pop out of the lower right screen stating the full system scan was complete?!?! We all know how much AV/Security stuff impacts performance – usually a lot. Slowly over time I also noticed that the “infected” computers – you know, the spyware-scareware-coupon printing-Shoping etc/really infected with virus’ too did not have Norton anything installed.
    I decided to buy it so we were off for the 3 user 3 year version & have NEVER had a problem since.
    There’s many good ones out there….I like Kaspersky too (although it baffles many users to configure) & the free AVG’s & Avira’s etc do a better than nothing job – that’s why we install them & return the customers PC with one of those 2 installed (now don’t we?).
    I’m starting to ramble…………there’s an occasional false-positive & while NOTHING is perfect, Norton AV, IS, 360 & Utilities is a near Zero impact effective choice.

  13. WayneW

    PAY for this crap BLOATWARE if you want to.
    I use Avast along with ThreatFire and it works perfect and it’s FREEEEEEE.
    (DON’T use TWO anti-viruses) (ThreatFire WILL work WITH your anti-virus. It just works on a “behavioral” basis instead of “definitions”.

    You CAN PAY if YOU like. No skin off my ……

  14. Ric Brown

    I use Norton Internet Security and Malwarebytes. Both work fine. The above reviewed Norton Checkup Tool sounds like Adware/scareware. Norton sinking to a new low. Norton does show some cookies as Low Risk “tracking cookies” and wants to delete them.

    I dl’d Secunia Tool and found nothing of interest. It noted 9 security reksk problems, ALL were “automatic software updates” turned off. I do this intentionally, I want to know what and when something is being dl’d and installed on my computer. I also don’t want these processes to interfere with what I am currently doing.

    After reading their partner web page, I will think of this as scareware also. great money maker opportunity. pfft…..

  15. Henk

    I used to have Norton. They were really good 2 years ago: Now i’m just dissapointed. In the latest 2012 and 2011 Internet Security of Norton, it’s just giving me false positives after false positives…… I cant download ANYTHING and norton blocks it: and when I got it back from quarantaine: IT GOT REMOVED AGAIN BY THAT SONAR. When I got it back AGAIN, it runs just fine without any virusses. But when I moving the damnfile to another folder, IT GOT REMOVED AGAIN! This is 99/110 downloads… I’m never buying Norton again: I’m buying eset smart security + Panda URL filtering, those 2 are the best by far

  16. Jill

    I have never chosen to install Norton PC Checkup yet it is on my computer! I did download some software to try that I THOUGHT was microsoft, obviously it wasn’t and installed this program. I have been trying all day to remove it but it keeps coming back! I am trying now to manually remove it, let’s hope this works. If not I guess I will have to reformat. somehow my system restore is switched off!! arrggghh NEVER TRUST NORTON!

  17. meximud

    I too have had alot of problems lately with my Norton anti virus, for some reason the darn thing won’t let me do a full system scan, I can do a quick scan, but the full scan locks up after scanning about 24,000 files and just gets stuck there. I end up having to start the task manager to end the process, (cause when I hit the stop scan button, it stops, but the window stays active.) The trouble with this is when the task manager ends the process the “Norton” product completly turns off and I end up having to restart my computer. Once restarted the Norton Internet Security acts normal… but it isn’t, because when I try to full scan, it happens all over again, so then, I ask for support (HA). I get this cyber-bot who asks me how he can help, and every time he tells me to download the “Power Eraser”, (what a joke). So as a last resort I’m gonna try to uninstall and reinstall the darn thing if that dosn’t work I don’t know what to do. I did use the Kapsersky’s Virus removal tool (Free) and it told me I had no viruses. Can someone PLEASE tell me what the best security suite to try, cause I don’t think I’m gonna be with norton to much longer, P.S. I’m kind of a newbie so I’m not real techno savy, so maybe I’m doing something wrong or not doing something right. Thank-You

  18. clark

    I thought I was the only one who experience this. My NIS 2012 also stop after a couple of minutes of scanning and I have to restart my laptop because the window is still active even if I tried to stop it in task manager. Now Symantec should be aware of this and fix whatever the problem is.

  19. Rich

    I can’t get this damn thing off my computer, it installed without my consent while i was trying to install a device driver and now I can’t get it to uninstall, I have hated norton for years and have no use for them anyone have any ideas how to get this damn thing off my computer I am all ears

  20. Poul Kelsaa

    As an ‘oldtimer’ i’m still using windows XP. Norton PC Checkup is running as i write. And so far i’ve seen that protection is installed (AVG) and my performence is Good! And until now no threats found.
    My guess is, that Norton has either upgratet the product or they are still living in XP-world.

  21. Pat

    I had the same problem with Norton! This laptop is working fine, but they said performance was poor and I could pay approx. $85 to buy something. When I went to log out their message was scary, but I have had a gutful of these deals!

  22. thegreebler

    It does put Symantec on my “dont buy from these losers” list.

    Just another sign of the times where marketing puts potential profit over the actual consumer benefit.

    Thank you for the review, and efforts to call these jokers out on their little game.

  23. Miles Archer

    Thanks for writing this about Norton. I thought I was alone in suspecting them of subterfuge. I get the “PC Checkup found 9 drivers to update” every week or two. When I click on “Fix it,” I end up at “Shopping Cart” which offers a fix for $39.90! I am very disappointed in Norton and agree this is “scareware.” I don’t trust them.

  24. screwadware

    Norton always has been and always will be the biggest joke of the anti-virus community. Not only to they create things like adware and scareware, but they also have there hands down every major and minor software destribution website on the internet. If ppl seriously wanted to use there software they would, instead of being conned into downloading it under false advertisement or pretenses.

  25. cal

    I’ve never had a problem with my Norton 360. It’s been installed for two years and I’ve had zero problems, but had half a dozen infections prior to its installation. But I was skeptical of the pc checkup tool because it said my firewall was disabled when in fact it was not. I’ve seen quite a few scams like this all over the internet but I was very disappointed to learn that Norton would stoop to the same level for a few dollars. I’ll stick with the 360 but I’m still in the market for a legitimate checkup tool.

  26. Jo Guerra

    I have no idea where I downloaded this from. But I found your article and have removed it. I learned that I let my IT person do everything in my computer – organically. Many years ago I had a service that I paid $15/month to clean up my computer. All he was doing was using free tools and it was messing up my registry.

  27. bitch

    thanks. i was freaking until i googled this

  28. William Nelson

    u for the good work on this was about to install the software again
    since it never worked, now I guess it never will. It is nice to see
    someone like ur self keeping Norton and others honest, even if it is
    against their will.

  29. Computer repair thousand oaks

    wow! outstanding expression and I think Norton has the elite class where it’s need some improvement too.

  30. Home health in Houston

    I also like to use Norton for computer home care. Norton is really an awesome soft to protect computer from virus.

  31. gigastorm

    I got it with my new computer yesterday, out of simple curiosity, I ran it. I started to check and install updates, once it did that, it told me it was discountinued…

  32. HELP ME

    What antivirus thing do u suggest i use sir and i know this is old and the last comment was 6 months ago But PLEASE ANSWER

  33. If you are looking for a freeware – Use Avast, BitDefender, Comodo or Avira. If Paid, then there are several good one’s out there like Kaspersky, Eset, Malwarebytes, etc. Check these links:

  34. billy

    At times I could not remove a program thru the delete process so I go to
    computer control panel and right click “c” drive–open and pick the folder(s)
    to delete. right click and delete and close and restart. this has help to get rid of program.

  35. Din

    I couldn’t be a fan of Norton either. that was the killer at previous time. They did significant improvement by 2012-2013 but still not very good. I haven’t used it for nearly about a year now.

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