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2davidc8's avatar

How can I safely replace Norton with Avast (please see details inside)?

Asked by 2davidc8 (10189points) April 11th, 2015

I currently have Norton Internet Security as the anti-virus product on my PC. I want to replace it with Avast, but I have the following problem: I don’t want to leave my computer unprotected even for a second, but these two products will probably clash so they can’t be running at the same on my machine. If I install Avast while Norton is running, that will be a problem. But if remove Norton first, then my computer will be unprotected while I download and install Avast.

I’ve come up with the following strategy. Can you tell me if you think it will work?

1. While Norton is active, download the Norton removal tool. Also, download Avast, but don’t run the install just yet.
2. Disconnect from the internet.
3. Run the Norton removal tool.
4. Run the Avast install.
5. Reconnect to the internet.

A possible problem with this strategy is that Norton removal and/or Avast install may require connection to the internet in order for them to work properly (something to do with product registration maybe?). Does anyone know something about this?

Your help would be much appreciated!

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9 Answers

Brian1946's avatar

I’d say your plan looks good, except that I have two suggestions regarding minor issues:

After step 3 and before 4, check your programs to ensure that you don’t have any Norton remnants left.

After 4 but before 5, open your Avast to ensure that the status block is green and says, “YOU ARE PROTECTED”, “All shields active”, and “Everything up-to-date”.

I made the switch from Norton to Avast a few years ago, and as I recall, I didn’t have to be connected to the net after everything was downloaded. I.e., you don’t have to be connected to do the installations.

Mariah's avatar

You’ll be fine. You don’t have to be online to run installers that you’ve already downloaded, and nothing bad can happen to your computer while you’re not online.

jerv's avatar

That’s how I switched from Avira to Avast.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Mariah – not quite 100% true – if he had previously downloaded (but not installed) some other malevolent software, and then he installed it while there was no anti-virus working, then theoretically he could be introducing a vulnerability.

But – that would require some stupid behavior, and @2davidc8 does not seem stupid.

The only thing that I would add to what @Brian1946 wrote is that the Norton un-installer is pretty awful. It tends to leave things around.

So I would do the following:

1) go into MSCONFIG (startup tab) and Disable anything with the name NORTON in it.

2) Go into Services.MSC and force-stop any Norton services—there will be several. And set them to NOT start automatically.

3) reboot.

4) go into control panel / programs and features, and uninstall any Norton titles (there will be 2–3 depending on what you have installed.

5) Go into Windows Explorer (File Manager) and look in Program Files and Program Files (x86) for any Norton related directories. There will be a couple of them.

6) In each of those directories, DELETE the files that the Uninstaller ignored. This is what I mean when I say that the uninstaller is a piece of crap. It leaves stuff behind.

7) Reboot

8) Install Avast.

9) Connect to internet, download updates, run a scan.

2davidc8's avatar

Hey, thanks, everybody. I did as suggested above, and everything went smoothly until the last step of installing Avast. As I had feared, the latest version of Avast would not install unless I was online. So, I took my chances, connected to the Internet and then the install went through fine. After the install, Avast does 2 things automatically: it checks for updates and it runs a scan. The scan was clean, so I guess I’m good.

jerv's avatar

Yes, it does like having an update right off… unless you are installing a copy that you JUST downloaded.

Anyways, glad things worked out.

SmashTheState's avatar

Worms, trojans, and virii aren’t magic. I’ve been using computers for 35 years and have never been infected. I also haven’t used an anti-virus program in a decade. If you’re using a modern OS with up-to-date security patches, you’ve nothing to worry about if you take reasonable precautions. Install NoScript and AdBlock on your browser, use a real email client (like Pegasus) which isn’t vulnerable to Outhouse exploits, and don’t click on blind links, email attachments, or any executable file you aren’t absolutely certain about. If you download pirated software, you probably want to use an anti-virus scanner, but there’s free online meta-scanners which will scan a file through all the anti-virus packages. You definitely don’t need real-time protection.

If you’ve got a firewall on your router, up-to-date security patches on your OS, and don’t act like a complete idiot, there’s no reason you need Norton or Avast.

jerv's avatar

@SmashTheState True, but also a little misleading. One way to put it is that most people don’t need parachutes, so skydivers don’t need parachutes either. I think you would agree that that is a false statement though, right?

Being a “belt and suspenders” type of guy when it comes to security, and given that most people don’t use 110% of their computer’s capabilities, I think losing a little RAM and a few CPU cycles for anti-virus software is a reasonable precaution, especially if like me one is prone to wander off into bad neighborhoods on a whim. I mean, the load is pretty low, the consequences are rather harsh, and it’s a bitch to be vigilant at all times. If you miss even once, you just fucked yourself.

Also, I don’t trust myself to keep up that sort of alertness every second that my PC is on. There are times I surf the ‘net after a few drinks or when I am tired or otherwise not paying full attention with total clarity, so I don’ think it feasible to run without real-time protection unless one is running a system totally isolated from the ‘net or only operated by a full staff who never do anything without at least one other person (who is also awake, sober, and focused) verifying every action before it’s done. Humans are too fallible.

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