Registry keys are stored in the Windows registry, a database that stores information to run Microsoft Windows and applications in Windows. Symantec's Norton Security uses registry keys to store its settings, access keys and other information to run the program. It also will scan your registry to find problems that other programs may be causing.
How it Works
Symantec stores user data in its registry keys to keep track of trial periods, subscription limits and software registration. These keys stay in your Windows registry even after you uninstall Symantec software, so you can't reinstall and use the software after a trial period without paying for it or extending the subscription time. This information may be sent directly to Symantec to check for software piracy.
Just uninstalling Norton Security is not enough. To fully remove it from your system, you will have to edit your registry in order to remove it. Unless you have experience removing registry keys from the Windows registry, it is recommended you have a software professional do it for you. If you are familiar, back up your registry before editing any keys. Incorrect changes can permanently disable your machine. Open the registry file and locate HKEY_CURRENT_USER. Under software, delete all mention of Symantec and NAV. Do the same under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
Symantec Registry Removal Tools
Becaus of the complicated nature of Symantec products, the company provides a removal tool on its website. However, it will not remove all keys associated with registration. You must save your product key before using the removal tool or you may not be able to reinstall or upgrade your anti-virus/security software.
Bad Registry Entries
Some other PC maintenance tools may show registry keys from Norton Security as bad entries. Always check with tech support before cleaning bad Norton entries; the third-party software may be reporting the entries incorrectly. Norton changes these entries with each new version. Third-party maintenance tools may not be able to detect entries from the latest version.
Older versions of Symantec Norton Security interfere with newer versions. You must completely uninstall them before you can upgrade your software. In order to do so, you must be able to delete old registry keys. Newer versions of Symantec Norton Security may not install if older versions are not uninstalled first. You may receive errors asking for disks that don't exist or for random restarts of your computer when you try to run a newer version without uninstalling the old version of the software.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Stephen Shankland
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