Exclude Files from Norton Antivirus Scans

Avoid false positives with file and folder exclusions

woman looking for in the Folders and File.
 Miguel Sanz/Getty Images

Norton AntiVirus or Norton Security might repeatedly alert you that a particular file or folder has a virus even though you know it doesn't. This is called a false positive and can be annoying. Fortunately, you can instruct the program to ignore that file or folder during scans.

Like most good anti-virus programs, the Norton AV software lets you exclude files and folders from being scanned. You tell the software to no longer look at that file or folder, which blocks it from the program's view. 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 is a virus when you know it isn't. However, excluding whole folders from being scanned is not 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

Here's how to exclude specific files and folders from a Norton Security Deluxe scan:

  1. Open the Norton anti-virus software.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Choose the Antivirus option from the Settings screen.
  4. Go to the Scans and Risks tab.
  5. Find the Exclusions/Low Risks section.
  6. Click Configure [+] next to the option where you want to make changes. There are two sets of options here: One is for exclusions to anti-virus 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.
  7. From the exclusions screen, use the Add Folders and Add Files buttons to locate the file or folder you want and make a new exclusion rule.
  8. Click OK in the exclusions window to save the changes.

At this point, you can exit any open windows and close down or minimize the Norton software.

Warning: Only exclude files and folders if you're confident they're not infected. Excluded items are not seen by Norton AntiVirus software and are not 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 excluded from scans and real-time protection.