Antivirus software by Norton has been around for a very long time. Their initial release was on 1991 and they are now one the pioneers in the antivirus industry. Many people still have the mindset that Norton products are heavy and slows down the computer but in fact they’re proven and tested through benchmark to be one of the lightest and fastest antivirus software today. The only version that slows down the computer noticeably was Norton Antivirus 2006 and they’ve taken all the necessary steps to improve the performance in every major update after 2006.
As light as Norton products are, they are still an antivirus program which requires to install low level drivers to protect itself from being terminated or deleted by malware. These low level drivers are very sensitive and most of the time are the culprit when an antivirus program fails to uninstall. I’ve personally encountered problems after uninstalling one of Norton products from a Windows server and it couldn’t boot up after that, looping through blue screen of death even when I used the provided uninstaller found in Control Panel.
Fortunately Norton has been providing an automated uninstaller called Norton Removal Tool where it is able to stop all running Symantec programs and then safely removing it from your computer.
Norton always advices to use the built-in uninstaller shortcut first and only consider using the Norton Removal Tool when the built-in uninstaller fails to uninstall. In my experience, you can actually directly use the Norton Removal Tool to forcefully uninstall Norton programs without using the built-in uninstaller. The Norton Removal Tool can uninstall most of the Norton products (both old and new versions) for home users but not the enterprise programs such as Endpoint Protection.
The uninstaller is only 899KB in size and comes in only 1 portable executable file which makes it really handy for any computer technician to store it in their USB toolkit. The uninstallation process is very easy and all you need to do is just click the Next button after running it, accept the license agreement, solve the CAPTCHA and finally click the Next button again to start the removal process.
What I like about the Norton Removal Tool is the final confirmation before starting the uninstallation, the progress update and it doesn’t automatically restart the computer, unlike the F-Secure Uninstallation Tool. The current version of Norton Removal Tool doesn’t support removing Norton Antivirus 2013 and Norton Internet Security 2013 yet. You will have to remove them through the Add/Remove Programs found in Control Panel first, then only use the Norton Removal Tool to perform cleanup. Not to worry because the removal tool will eventually support the 2012 products.