Are Norton 360 And Microsoft Security Essentials Compatible?
Norton 360 is a comprehensive toolkit for dealing with any virus, spyware, malware or other nastiness that can attack your computer. It’s generally considered the best on the market. Microsoft Security Essentials is another program that gets rave reviews. With these two antivirus weapons in your arsenal, your computer will run even better than ever, right?
Actually, no. Many people don’t realize this but it’s not good to run two real-time scanning software protection programs at the same time. That’s why it always asks you if you want to uninstall the old one when you install the new one. This is not a clever trick by Norton to eliminate its competitor’s programs. There’s a good reason why it does this.
Two Programs that Don’t Get Along
The problem isn’t unique to Norton 360 and Microsoft Security Essentials. Any two antivirus software programs will fight with each other. Antivirus programs don’t get along with each other because they perform essentially the same tasks. Furthermore, they perform a complex array of tasks. So, you can imagine how they’ll end up stepping all over each other.
This is different from, for example, a web browser that only performs one simple function – connecting you to the web. You can run multiple web browsers with no problems.
The Cause: The Real-Time Scanning Issue
Antivirus programs do two types of scanning. One type is scanning your computer for files that look like viruses. You can run multiple security programs to do this because all their doing is searching your computer and reporting back to you.
The other type of scanning is called real-time scanning. The program scans each file that your computer downloads to look for viruses. If you install a second real-time scanning program, it’ll detect the other antivirus program that you’ve got installed and ask if you want to uninstall it. If you choose not to, they’ll both run but you’ll have a slow computer that crashes often and restarts mysteriously.
In some cases, actually having multiple antivirus programs running can compromise your security even more. Norton 360 and Microsoft Security Essentials may do this, and that’s why Norton warns that you not do it.
Uninstalling Your Security Program
When you install a new antivirus software program, it’ll ask you if you want to uninstall the old one. This is a pretty standard feature of security software these days. If it doesn’t, or if you choose to uninstall what you’ve got now, you can do it manually. However, it’s important to keep in mind that as soon as the software is uninstalled, your computer is completely unprotected and vulnerable to attacks.
If you’re running Windows XP, open the ‘start’ menu, click ‘run’ and at the prompt, enter appwiz.cpl. If you’re using Windows Vista or Windows 7, search for appwiz.cpl in the ‘start’ menu’s search box. You’ll get a list of all of the programs that are installed on your computer. Click the ones that you want to uninstall and then restart your PC.
If you want to double up your security but you don’t want to have performance problems, there are on-demand scanners that you can use for free online. Two of the most popular are SuperAntiSpyware and Malewarebytes. Both of these programs will scan your hard drive for malware and they won’t interfere with your other antivirus programs or your computer’s performance.
The important thing to keep in mind is that it’s real-time scanning that leads to performance problems and compromised security. Whatever programs you’re going to use, as long as they don’t scan in real-time, you shouldn’t have any problems. This is why security experts recommend picking one good program to use.