Why Does Norton Slow a Computer Down?

By Kefa Olang

Norton is a security suite that includes antivirus programs, spyware removal tools and Internet protection programs. Computer security is very important in protecting personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers, limiting network intrusions and protecting system components from hackers and attackers. When used under the wrong circumstances, Norton products will drastically slow down your computer and hamper system performance.

Other Antivirus Program

Norton will slow down its running process when another antivirus program is installed and running on your computer. By default, antivirus programs are designed to launch automatically at computer startup, which means both Norton and the other antivirus program installed will launch when your computer restarts. Once they are both running, you are likely to run into communication and scanning conflicts, which cause Norton to use large amounts of system memory, resulting in slow computer performance.

Compatibility Issues

Norton comes as a security center packaged with antivirus, spyware and network intrusion detection tools. These programs consume large amounts of RAM and therefore have to be installed on a computer that has adequate system components to support them. If they are installed on a less efficient system, it will slow down drastically because all the Norton programs will consume great amounts of memory that the computer needs. For example, if the Norton product you are installing only supports Windows XP Service Pack 2, you probably shouldn't run it on a computer with Service Pack 1.

Virus Scans and Updates

When Norton begins to scan your computer for malicious files, browser speeds decrease, programs run slower and processes are inhibited. When the scan is running, it checks everything, including downloaded files, the registry, system folders and images. It's a lot to scan, which can cause CPU slowdowns. This also occurs when the program is updating new virus and spyware definitions. It requires a lot of memory to access the Norton server and install updates; therefore, most of the system resources are used by the program.


Before installing Norton products, always check the "System Requirements" so that you only install what your computer is able to handle. Because they use large amounts of system resources, try running virus scans during the night when you are not using your computer. Norton products allow you to set "Auto" times when your program will automatically launch and perform scans. If your computer is suitable to run Norton, you can download updates that include patches to fix memory consumption issues.


While Norton can slow down your computer, sometimes that can also be attributed to malicious files that may be on your computer or a jammed hard drive that has not been cleaned for a while. To not only help Norton run smoothly but at the same time improve your computer's performance, it is always advisable to run frequent disk cleanups (see Resources). Norton is not the answer to all your security problems. While it solves many of the security issues, your browsing activity and computer maintenance play a huge role in how it supports your computer.