Norton 360 subscription add-ons are a rip-off

I have had a Norton 360 subscription for several years to keep by computer and other devices safe. However, in the past couple of years Norton seems to be slicing off parts of the original subscription and offering them as “must-add-on”, at additional annual costs! I now pay extra for driver update and other security add-ons. Just now Norton also wants extra to fix performance issues, broken registries, speeding up the computer and defragmentation. Suddenly these basic covers are no longer included in the current plan. A Norton Utilities Ultimate plan at an extra $39.99 p.a. is recommended!! This smells like a rip-off. Norton is not delivering what was originally agreed on and paid for.


Hi @trefoilian, welcome to the community.

It is possibly breaking a suite into parts to try and make more money from the parts.

It is becoming more common everywhere. A good example is airlines where everything was included in the ticket, now many things are optional paid extras (such as luggage, seat selection meals etc).

Are you saying they made the change mid-subscription - say a few months into an annual subscription? If they did, you may have grounds for requesting a prorata refund or the services included until the end of the subscription period.

If the change occurs on renewal of a subscription, when there is little one can do as one accepts this change as part of accepting the renewal.

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ProductReview might not be a definitive guide to a product’s value, but it is interesting that Norton got only 3% positive reviews out of 262, for an average of 1.2 stars.

Perhaps it’s time for you to give up on Norton and seek something better?

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Many of those so-called features you listed are in the regular Windows updates, assuming you are using Windows. For mobile devices, Android or Apple, drivers are not (or very rarely) updated individually but apps are - and that usually happens automatically.

My current LG notebook has an LG app that does driver and updates, but has never found one because the Windows update does everything that is needed.

As for viruses and malware, unless one goes to risky web sites Windows default works fine. Some of the AV sales pitch creates unnecessary fear and paranoia to get buyers on board.

As for broken registries, it is usually best not to mess with them because ‘fixing’ something usually has one of two outcomes - one being it breaks the registry and the computer does not work properly, two being there is no discernible improvement in performance.

Also modern computers often have SSDs rather than HDD devices. HDD (hard discs) need an occasional defrag when they get more than about 80% full (a historic number relevant to many things computer) but SSDs do not and defrag software has mostly been updated to ignore them. FWIW defragging an SSD as if it was a HDD will shorten their useful life. The optimisation for an SSD is called TRIM, a different process.

Whatever you do, educate yourself on what is value added for yourself and circumstances versus what is profit added to the vendor for no/questionable value to yourself.

Some related and a bit dated topics include (updated this year)

and a few you can find using the Community Search tool, good and less good, that ‘dodgy default’ to auto-renewing.

Popular AV products include Bitdefender (Romanian) and AVG/AVAST (Czech Republic). Kaspersky was once highly regarded but as a Russian company many no longer trust them. Just because a company is based in a western country (Norton and McAfee - USA) does not make them the best. There are other good AV products and suites beyond those I mentioned.

If you choose to shop around use your internet search on the products of interest, discount sites that claim to be ‘the best of’ in their names because they survive on clicks and are often partial if not outright dodgy and look for relevant magazine and respected tech outlets such as PC Mag, CNET, and a few others as well as Choice. Just because a site is an .org instead of a .com does not necessarily give it more credibility.


I bought a new laptop a few months ago. Preinstalled with Win11. And also, as usual with these things, some trial version of some anti-virus, anti-malware software.

After getting the laptop onto the network, and enabling Windows, the next order of business was to hunt down and uninstall and generally kill any of these AV/AM applications. They are an insideous parasite. Pesterware at best, system killers at worst.

Windows defender, built-in and free, and pretty damn good, is all I need or want.


Additional information: the Norton 360 “add-ons” are coming in mid-subscription. The company then offers a pro rata add-on fee until the renewal is due, whereupon the full $39.99 pa is whacked on the original subscription. Looks to me like defaulting on an original agreement which should have the basic items included.


Is it possible it is a badly implemented campaign with consequence of asking those using the product to unnecessarily pay to the end of the present subscription, while for those having the product it might keep working for the paid duration?

‘should have’ may not be congruent with the original T&C for the product.

Scanning the Norton licensing document they present their unilateral ability to change their product although only for implied proactive improvements. They do not suggest they can also reduce their product mid-subscription.

In your position I would let any features expire while replacing them if you felt you needed to and moving on at the end of your current subscription. If you chose this route make sure auto-renewal is disabled, delete your payment method, and check again near the expiration date with screen shots.

Norton has an anecdotal reputation for what they call ‘Australia customer service’. If you have a go keep it all formal. You could send Norton (Australia) a formal Letter of Complaint regarding your ACL rights, describing your claim that your original purchase included a basket of products and services for a specified time, and Norton does not have the right to remove any.

Let us know what you decide and how you go as your experience may assist others.

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Norton cannot do anything particularly special that Windows cannot to ‘speed things up’. Most of your software and hardware will seek its own updates, Windows manages drive defragmentation for spinning drives and SSDs manage their own hardware.

Most commercial anti-malware also creates its own vulnerabilities in order to do what it claims. I dropped one when I realised that it had installed its own root certificate to scan all of my Internet traffic - but I suspect this is par for the course (and extremely problematic).

Windows Security is now almost up to par with the best of the commercial offerings, and it is built into the operating system so does not have to break stuff to be able to do its job. It does not have the same ease of use of the commercial offerings, but if you dig deep you will find a lot of power there - like the ability to block all but chosen programs from writing to your ‘document’ directories or other select locations.

I suggest that you not waste your money. According to the most recent Choice reviews of desktop AV Windows Security does not score as highly as some other options, mainly presumably because of some missing features that you should be able to get from free software. This article and its links may help you to understand what exactly you need.

@BrendanMays I suggest that future reviews be of ‘security’ software - as AV is only a tiny part of what these products now do. I am also puzzled that email product functions such as anti-phishing and anti-spam are considered as part of the ratings for current AV software. Your email provider has a major part to play in these functions, as does any email client you use.


I hve had zero faith in Norton since they bought my favourite firewall (I was a Windows user once!) which was called @guard and turned it into a prettied up, dumbed down, bloated piece of crapola and called it Norton Security or somesuch. Can’t really remember, it was so long ago. Would not have a Norton product for all the tea in China (or should that now be India, or Sri Lanka)


I have been using Norton’s for many years now, and every year they jack up the renewal price much beyond what you would pay at Officeworks, JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys or Harvey Norman. Not only that, they are offering subscriptions for 2 and 3 years, so as to lock subscribers in for longer and retain the customer into the future. All this with automatic renewal nag emails.
The extra add-ons they keep coming up with are way overpriced, and for the most part not necessary. Norton’s keep sending me emails to scare me into buying add-ons, but being as I am a skeptic, I take no notice. Yes I could be using other Security Suites that offer better value, but one feature that I like about Norton’s is the ability to block certain programs from accessing the internet and/or upgrading or updating themselves.


To do that, these type of programs have to burrow themselves into the privileged levels of the operating system. Where they can do whatever they like to any other programs. Including the operating system itself.

Once you allow that, you have lost control of your system.


If I want to block a program from accessing the internet with Norton’s I go to “Settings” > “Firewall” > “Program Control” and select the program to block.
It is my understanding that Norton’s does not have to “burrow into the privileged levels of the operating system” in order to block a program, but merely blocks the program, as it would any other suspicious programs from accessing the Internet.
I’ve been doing this for the past 20 years and have had no issues or problems whatsoever.

Well input and output of any type is under the control of the Operating System. That includes network.

Any program that can block other programs from the network has to be running with OS level privileges.

To get there it has to be installed using administrator in the Windows world, or Root in the Unix world.
Perhaps you have always run your systems that way. Many home users do, and simply do not notice how these systems programs get onto one’s computer.

Now to be fair, companies that provide system level software like Norton/Symantic and Mcafee do a lot of testing to try and make sure their programs do no harm.

But I would rather not have them on my computers at all.

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Is this a fear of what might happen or is there evidence that running such software does do harm in the way you describe?

What do you use for virus protection etc and how is it free of such concerns?

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Virus scanning and detection software does not need to run at OS priviledge level. And I used to run such programs until I decided MS Defender did everything I needed for free and built into Windows.


Yes, sadly Norton just isn’t the product it used to be … our current subscription expires in the New Year and we certainly won’t be renewing. Happy to hear anyone’s suggestions about replacement before then. Thanks.

Totally agree that Norton is not the product it used to be.
I’ve been a loyal norton customer for many years but I’ve had a gutful of it’s constant suggestions that I buy this and that extra feature and regular crashes and freezes.
I have turned OFF auto renew feature and will revert to Windows Defender when current Norton subscription expires.

And for those who want to stick with Norton, avoid paying their outrageous subscription renewal price. Check the price of Norton at BigW etc and buy that and save at least $50



Coming to Windows Defender in the USA and it’s territories as part of the Microsoft 365 subscriptions very soon will be the new and improved suite of assistance that includes monthly Credit score, Identity theft insurance (up to $1 million USD) and a VPN (10 GB data per month full speed then throttling is possible). Of course the rest of the World (includes that great US ally Australia) must wait and see if the suite gets expanded for them as well. The Credit score reporting iis a single bureau VantageScore 3.0 provided by Experian(R).

Some of the above praise was done tongue in cheek. I think that some of data that must be gathered to conduct the reporting, insurance, and the very limited data allowance of the VPN at full speed (and obviously MS possible siphon of data) are used to benefit MS and the customer is a means to make money. Money making is not a problem unless the way it is done is without any real valuing of the customer and their right to privacy.


Free on demand or monthly FICO credit score reports for US residents come with many credit cards, financial accounts, and even Quicken, all by a single click. Some credit card statements include them on the monthly bill.

Do ANY Australian accounts provide that ease, not considering we only get one per 3 months.


I dread the day Microsoft decides to move home use Windows and Office to subscription only. At that point I will be seriously considering moving to the dork side with Linux and something like Libre Office.