Exclude Files from Norton Antivirus Scans

Ignore False Positives With File and Folder Exclusions

Woman selecting a virtual folder
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Norton AntiVirus or Norton Security might alert you that a file or folder has a virus even though you know it doesn't. This is called a false positive and can be very annoying. Fortunately, you can force the program to ignore those files/folders.

Like most good antivirus programs, the Norton AV software lets you exclude files and folders from being scanned. What this does is essentially tells the software to no longer look at that file/folder.

It blocks it from the program's view so that it won't tell you whether there's a virus there or not.

Obviously, this can be a good feature if Norton keeps telling you that a document file, for instance, is a virus when you know it isn't. However, excluding whole folders from being scanned is not always wise, especially if it's a folder like the Downloads folder that commonly collects new files (which could potentially be viruses).

Exclude Files and Folders From Norton Antivirus Software Scans

These are the steps for excluding custom files and folders from Norton Security Deluxe, but it should work similarly in other versions of Norton's AV software:

  1. Open the Norton antivirus software.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Choose the Antivirus option from the Settings screen.
  4. Go into the Scans and Risks tab.
  5. Find the Exclusions/Low Risks section.
  6. Click Configure [+] next to the option that you want to make changes to.

    There are two sets of options here; one is for exclusions to antivirus scans and the other is for exclusions to the real-time protection features of the Norton software, like Auto-Protect, SONAR, and Download Intelligence Detection.
  1. From the exclusions screen, use the Add Folders and Add Files buttons to make new exclusion rules.
  2. Be sure to click OK in the exclusions window to save the changes.
  3. At this point, you can exit any open windows and even close down or minimize the Norton software.

Important: Only exclude files and folders if you're confident they're not infected.

Excluded items will not be seen by Norton antivirus software, and will therefore not be protected by the program. Anything ignored by the software might end up having viruses later on that the AV application won't know about because they're being excluded from scans and real-time protection.