What Happens If You Have Multiple Antivirus Programs on Your PC

When buying a new computer, it comes with a free trial version of a built-in commercial antivirus (such as Norton). Once the trial expires, the user will receive notifications for upgrading the antivirus to the premium version, which is usually expensive.

This is when one starts to search for alternative measures, like installing free software that doesn’t charge any money. But, when they install that new software, most users forget to uninstall the previous antivirus, which was already on their PC. This might not seem like a huge obstacle, but it can become really problematic after a while.

Besides keeping multiple security software without any knowledge, some users also think that the more antivirus software they have, the faster and safer their computer will be. However, that is entirely a misunderstanding.

Running any program excessively eats up the operating speed of your computer, and when it comes to antivirus, it uses a lot of resources to scan and detect viruses, malware, and unnecessary files on your PC.

If you run more than one antivirus, not only it won’t help make your computer faster, but it will degrade the contemporary performance of your PC. How so? Before moving into that, you must understand how an antivirus works and how it processes for the betterment of your computer.

How does antivirus work?

Antivirus software is stored in your computer memory and runs by scanning any code or files and folders exchanged through your computer network. The internal storage and RAM of your PC shares its memory and helps run it smoothly.

Besides that, it goes through all your existing files to search for detectible viruses and eliminate them. All this takes a lot of processing power, especially when you do a full scan and are using the other features of that same antivirus such as VPN, Firewall, Cloud, etc.

While you can customize the schedule of automatic scans and can disable excessive features to speed up your PC, it still takes up some of the space when you have multiple antiviruses. Space, however, is not the only thing you would have to worry about. Let’s see more about that below.

Can you run more than one antivirus on your PC?

A short answer to this question is yes, you can run more than one antivirus on your computer. But that doesn’t mean you should. In many cases, running multiple AV software simultaneously is a bad idea.

As we discussed earlier, an antivirus program monitors all the data stream in your PC, such as incoming emails, downloads, web surfing, etc. This consumes a lot of processing power as well as memory. If you install more than one antivirus, it could drastically slow down your computer.

Besides consuming the memory and processing power, when you have numerous antivirus, they might sometimes fight each other, ultimately eating up the operating speed of your computer. More of the risks are described below.

What are the risks of running multiple antiviruses?

Having multiple layers of security sounds good in theory, but it’s not exactly healthy when practically implemented. Instead of protecting your computer or making it faster, downloading more than one antivirus could potentially expose you to various other risks concerning the performance of your PC. Following are some of those problems you may face:

1. Overcompetitive against threats:

Imagine you’ve downloaded a file with a malware infection. With just one antivirus, it would detect and remove it pretty quickly and appropriately, depending on the malware. But when you have multiple antiviruses, they both want to handle the threat even if it has already been quarantined.

One might detect it first, but the other will try to rediscover it again and claim that your computer is still infectious. This could lead to an endless cycle of threat alerts, confusing your computer over which software to choose for virus removal.

Along with that, it will become pretty annoying to receive constant notifications about the same threat time and again. Other dangers might also hijack your PC because of this distraction, which makes it quite clear that having multiple antiviruses is a bad idea.


2. Risk of fighting each other:

In a sense, an antivirus operates and fights very similarly to malware. Once your PC is infected with malware, it spreads through most of your files, copying itself multiple times, and makes it difficult for security software to detect and remove it.

Antivirus program, however, tends to identify these kinds of suspicious behavior and flag the unusual software that demands excessive permissions from your device. In the process, the antivirus, too, requires high-level permissions to perform the scanning, detection, and abolition of the virus.

This activity by an antivirus could be easily flagged as a threat by another antivirus program. Both software starts to stop each other when this happens, and the exchange of blockage might crash your computer or let your PC exposed to different threats while unprotected.

3. Unresponsive computer/ Computer lag:

Antiviruses consume a lot of resources, and when you have more than one of those, you shouldn’t be wondering why your computer is lagging or slowing down aggressively.

Usually, antivirus protection uses a reasonable amount of processing power, but when you’ve doubled the amount of software, you’ve also increased the consumption of operating speed required for defending against threats. Even to complete a normal scan, your computer might get exhausted because of the antiviruses’ excessive battery and memory usage.

You can imagine how much this will affect your PC performance when combined with the previously mentioned risks. In a worst-case scenario, your device might crash or freeze due to the combat between the antiviruses. The overworked security system may also let threats slip by and ultimately lead to other problems such as hardware failure, loss of sensitive data, overheating of the CPU, system damage, etc.


After pointing out the risks, it’s quite evident that having multiple antiviruses is not healthy for your computer. Although you might get tempted with the impression of running more than one security booster, doing that would only increase the chances of crashing your computer and corrupting all of your data. The ideal thing to do is to stick with a single antivirus but a powerful one that leaves you with no uncertainties. Choose one software that is the best antivirus for all devices, like Norton 360.

Taking care of your PC is one thing, but you may be overstressing it by installing more than one antivirus. It will help if you delete the excessive programs and keep one that you see fit, and if you were planning on having multiple antiviruses, don’t go with your instinct and just pick a robust and overall satisfying program that protects your device as well as boosts the operating system of your computer.



Abdul Moeez

Abdul Moeez is the founder and content writer of TechGrinch. He writes about Technology, Science, Gadgets, Security, Social Media, Social Networks, Android, Computer, Internet, etc. He is an Experienced Blogger, SEO Expert, Developer & Social Media Expert. .

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