Norton Antivirus Plus Review

Norton Antivirus Plus Review

If you are looking for a review of Norton Antivirus Plus, you have come to the right place. We go in-depth in this review to reveal what makes this antivirus software one of the best on the market.

About Norton / Symantec

Symantec was founded in 1982 in Sunnyvale, California. It started out as an artificial intelligence company, but by the 1990’s it had moved into computer security. In 2016, Norton acquired LifeLock, an identity theft protection company. The Symantec brand name was sold to Broadcom in 2019. The Symantec brand is now called Norton LifeLock, but all Norton security products have kept the old Norton name.

About Norton Antivirus Plus

Norton Antivirus has been a product since 1991 and has been well known among PC users ever since. It is a basic antivirus software product that includes additional features often seen only in higher-end products. The most recent version includes Wi-Fi and online banking security, among other options. It provides effective antivirus protection, as proven by independent lab tests.

What Norton Antivirus Plus Detects

  • Viruses
  • Spyware
  • Keyloggers
  • Ransomware
  • Rootkits
  • Trojans

Other Capabilities

  • Wi-Fi security features.
  • Stops man-in-the-middle attacks.
  • Stops DNS spoofing.
  • Stops content tampering.
  • Stops other network-based attacks.

Our Verdict

Based on our analysis, Norton Antivirus Plus is one of, if not the, best basic antivirus protection solutions on the market. It does a great job of protecting the average user’s devices from a wide range of threats.

This protection comes at a reasonable price in a very user-friendly package.

As a basic antivirus program, Norton Antivirus Plus comes with some useful bonus features, such as a firewall and online backup storage.

Norton Antivirus Plus provides solid virus protection without noticeably slowing down your system.

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PROS of Norton Antivirus Plus

  • Good protection, including ransomware and phishing.
  • Extra security tools, including online backup, firewall, exploit protection and password manager.
  • Light use of resources.
  • PC, Mac and iOS coverage.

Independent lab tests of Norton Antivirus Plus from organizations such as SE Labs and AV Comparatives show solid antivirus protection. User reviews across the web also give solid ratings. Our own tests show that it performs well on a moderately powered system.

Norton Antivirus can protect a system from internet threats before they have a chance to install. Phishing is also stopped by providing warning messages to the user. There are details provided about each link so you can make an informed decision.

These extras put Norton Antivirus Plus alongside other more complete antivirus programs, even though this program is considered basic.

An improvement over older versions is the light system resource usage while running scans and stopping internet threats. Norton users have also provided feedback that it is much lighter on your mobile systems as well.

CONS of Norton Antivirus Plus

  • No pricing for multiple licenses.
  • A bit more expensive in comparison to other products.
  • Some aspects perform poorly in tests.
  • No VPN.
  • No Safe Banking Tools.

Some features not included in the current version of Norton Antivirus Plus are being planned for future releases. So if you need to use them and they are not there yet, be patient. Norton has indicated it will be slowly rolling out features such as online banking protection, script control, and a data protector.

Norton Antivirus Upgrade Path

If you’re looking for greater protection than Norton Antivirus Plus, Norton provides an easy upgrade path to Norton 360 Deluxe.

Norton 360 Deluxe costs $40 more but provides five device licenses along with full VPN protection. This provides 50 GB of total online backup storage.

We consider this upgrade path to Norton 360 Deluxe a big plus. You don’t have to uninstall and reinstall another program. You don’t have to go through a new learning curve to figure out how it works. Just upgrade with a few clicks and Norton will deliver a higher level of threat protection.

Is LifeLock Included With Norton Antivirus Plus?

LifeLock’s identity theft monitoring service is not included with Norton Antivirus Plus, even though they have a partnership. Lifelock only comes with Norton’s much more expensive computer protection programs.

Norton Antivirus Plus GUI / Interface

The main interface dashboard is simple and straightforward. There is a status section that gives information on each main menu option. These include:

  • Security
  • Internet Security
  • Backup
  • Performance
  • My Norton


This section handles Scans, LiveUpdate, History, and Advanced Options.

Internet Security

This menu option holds the Password Manager, Password Generator, and Browser Extensions. If you are just starting out with Norton Antivirus Plus, this will not be set up yet.


This option handles Run Backup, Restore Files, Backup Sets. This will not be setup when just beginning the program after install.


This contains Optimize Disk, File Cleanup, Startup Manager, and Graphs. Graphs are especially interesting because they visually show program and system performance levels over time.

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My Norton

This is the opening program window with Device Security, Cloud Backup, and Password Manager. From here you can enter the main program options, such as scanning.

You can choose to Search for relevant functions in the program, and get Help for any issue you have. We liked that Norton put the Help menu front and center like this. No fishing around for a Help link when you really need it!


Norton Antivirus Plus includes a firewall utility that does not usually come with basic antivirus programs. To get a firewall often requires paying for premium software packages. The fact that Norton includes it is a big bonus.

Norton makes its firewall protection more secure by not exposing settings in the Registry. This prevents dangerous programs from turning it off.

To see the Firewall settings you can go to Settings (gear menu item at top of the main window) > Firewall.

The firewall settings can seem overwhelming to the average user. It is recommended that most users leave the firewall settings alone. We advise changing them only if you are a security- and tech-savvy user.

Firewalls are designed to protect your machine and network connections from outside threats. They also stop your local programs from using your Internet connection for harmful purposes.

Firewalls are especially useful for mobile computing when you are accessing the Internet through a public hot spot. Home networks are usually very secure, but no protections are absolute. Norton’s firewall definitely increases your overall protection.

File Cleanup

The File Cleanup tool will help speed up your system by deleting temporary Windows and browser files. However, for a more complete cleanup, another specialized utility program may be necessary.

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Password Manager

The Norton Password Manager can be accessed in the My Norton window. You must first set it up by adding an extension to your Chrome web browser.

The Password Manager holds all your complicated passwords used to log into online accounts in one secure folder. This manager secures passwords from being swiped and makes them easily accessible. The extra protections around the password manager make it difficult for keyloggers and other prying eyes to snatch login credentials, steal your identity or swipe bank, credit card, and other account information.

Norton’s Password Manager is a useful tool to hold all your long passwords that you use to login to your online accounts. Using a password manager can go a long way toward protecting your identity.

Online Storage

Norton Antivirus Plus includes 2 GB of online storage to protect against lost data from a compromised system. This is useful for protection from ransomware which can lock your important documents and demand a ransom to release them.


Norton Antivirus Plus provides full tech support and remote fixes by experts when needed. A refund is offered if the program completely fails to do what it says it can. However, this requires an automatic renewal setup on your part for this to apply.

My Norton

The My Norton app helps to keep all Norton elements centralized and visually convenient. Three key items are listed:

  • Device Security
  • Cloud Backup
  • Password Manager

The main antivirus window falls under Device Security and is opened with one click. This window has all options in large tabs that expand and open within this window. There are hidden options that appear in the main window when each menu tab at the bottom is clicked.

Cloud Backup

This option will run a backup of your system, restore files, or backup sets. This is not initially set up, so it must be so if you want to use it.


Norton’s Performance menu option includes the following:

  • Optimize Disk
  • File Cleanup
  • Startup Manager
  • Graphs

Scans and Tasks

Clicking Scan will bring up the different scan types, including:

  • Quick
  • Full
  • Custom

A Quick Scan will scan critical areas of your system.

A Full Scan will scan your entire system for threats.

A Custom Scan provides the user with the ability to choose which files and folders they want to focus on for scanning.

Norton Antivirus Plus Review Custom Scan

Norton Power Eraser

You can use the Norton Power Eraser Tool to clean up malware that may have escaped a scan. This is provided in the final report screen after the scan is complete.

Norton Insight Scan

Insight Scan will check all your files and skip the ones that are not threats. Skipped items are not included in virus scans.

Diagnostic Report

The Diagnostic Report shows where any troubles are with Norton Antivirus Plus. These can help solve issues with the software, and provide information for the tech support team if you choose to contact them. This can be found in the Security > Scans window.

Live Update

Clicking on this will run a live update of the product. Once complete, a green checkmark will appear on the top of the window.

It is recommended to immediately run Live Update upon completing the installation, regardless of what the status panel says.

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This window will show all your software activity from the past. This is labeled for Severity, Activity, Status, Date & Time.

Online Backup

You get 2 GB of online backup with Norton Antivirus Plus. 2 GB may not seem like much in today’s data-intensive world, but it should suffice for your most important files. This is essential as last-resort protection against ransomware that directly targets your important files.

Online backup must be set up with the files you choose. These can include pictures, documents, contacts, and others. Default settings provide a good start and you can decide to just go with those.

The end of the setup includes choosing when to run the backup. You can choose the automatic setting, weekly, monthly or another manual schedule.

Run backup by saving the settings you have selected then click “Run Backup.”

The backup system maintains multiple versions of files, giving you the option to go back to an earlier version as needed. The 10 previous versions of each file don’t count against your 2 GB total. Backups older than 60 days get purged, but the system always keeps the latest and next-latest versions.

Restoring files from backup is fairly easy. You can choose to only restore some files or all of them. They will go back to their default location and overwrite those that are still there.

Report Card

The Report Card option is located on the top of the Device Security main dashboard window. This gives information on System Status, LiveUpdate status, and Backup status. There is also a number showing the total files scanned, the amount of HD space cleared, the number of file cleanups and the number of scans run. Going into the details option gives a list of each of these, plus some extras.

Startup Manager

Norton’s Startup Manager has a list of all startup programs. This is designed to allow the user to choose which ones to have running at startup. Minimizing the number of programs running at startup can decrease the overall system usage.

Optimize Disk

The Optimize Disk feature will analyze a drive for fragmentation and defrag it if necessary.

Norton Antivirus Plus Review Norton Performance Optimize Disk


At any time, you can view the program settings by clicking the gear icon next to “Settings” at the top of the “Device Security” main window.

Here you can view and change the settings for the following:

  • Antivirus
  • Firewall
  • AntiSpam
  • Tasks Scheduling
  • Administrative Settings
  • Backup Settings
  • Exploit Prevention

There are also “Quick Controls” on the right-hand side that allow you to quickly check-box the following:

  • Silent Mode
  • Backup
  • Backup Status Overlays
  • Automatic LiveUpdate
  • Smart Firewall
  • Norton Tamper Protection

Administrative Settings allow for easy on/off switching for options such as power-saving mode, silent mode, and idle time-out.

Task Scheduling is a very useful option and allows for setting up automatic tasks, such as removing temporary files, clearing the internet search history, and disk optimization. You can schedule scans to run automatically, weekly, monthly, or on a custom schedule.

Bonus Features

There are some useful additional bonus features included with Norton Antivirus Plus. These are:

  • Anti-Spam
  • Password Manager

Anti-Spam is helpful for Microsoft Outlook users who want spam handling, blacklisting, and whitelisting of correspondents.

Norton Password Manager is very convenient as it is built into My Norton. It can handle basic password management including:

  • Password Replay
  • Password Capture
  • Web Form Filling
  • Windows, Android, iOS Device Syncs

Password Manager does not include all tools that may be useful. Some are not there, such as two-factor authentication and password sharing.

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Our Norton Antivirus Plus Test

We tested Norton Antivirus Plus on our standard mid-level PC antivirus test machine. It has the following specifications:

  • Desktop PC Model: HP Pavilion 595
  • Processor: 8th generation Intel Core I5-8400
  • RAM: 12 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM Memory
  • Hard Drive: 1 TB 7200 RPM HD, 128 GB PCIe Solid State Drive
  • Video Card: Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Software: Microsoft Office, Google Chrome, included pre-installed software on the system.
  • File types: xls, txt, doc, mp3, mp4, jpeg, jpg, bmp, png, pdf, docx, exe, wav, wma, bat
  • Average file size: 4.4 MB

Norton Antivirus Plus Scan Performance

A Quick Scan took two minutes to complete on our system.

Total items scanned: 11,931

Full System Scan took 1 hour and 6 minutes.

Total items scanned: 645,235

A Custom Scan that only included the documents folder took less than 1 minute.

Total items scanned: 441

Very Good Independent Lab Test Results

Independent labs around the world, such as SE Labs and AV Comparatives, charge software companies to test their software under strictly controlled conditions.

Norton Antivirus Plus is a well-known software that is regularly tested by such labs. These labs bombard the software with malicious malware and viruses to find any weaknesses in their scanning and detection capabilities.

Norton Antivirus Plus has received strong reviews from these independent labs, providing a level of trust beyond the company’s claims.

Norton Antivirus Plus FAQs

For frequently asked questions and answers about Norton Antivirus Plus, see our Norton Antivirus Plus FAQs page here.

Norton Antivirus Plus Review in Summary

Norton Antivirus Plus is a popular program with many capabilities at a reasonable price. If you are a working parent, active professional or student, Norton Antivirus Plus provides an effective means of protecting your system from online threats.

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