What is nprotect.exe?

The .exe extension on a filename indicates an executable file. Executable files may, in some cases, harm your computer. Therefore, please read below to decide for yourself whether the nprotect.exe on your computer is a Trojan that you should remove, or whether it is a file belonging to the Windows operating system or to a trusted application.

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Nprotect.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with nprotect
Nprotect.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as Norton Protection Status belongs to software Norton Utilities (version 2003 for, 2003 for Windows, 2002 for Windows, 2002 for) or Norton SystemWorks (version 2004) by Symantec (

Description: Nprotect.exe is not essential for the Windows OS and causes relatively few problems. Nprotect.exe is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files"—usually C:\Program Files\Norton SystemWorks\Norton Utilities\ or C:\Program Files\Norton AntiVirus\AdvTools\. Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 135,168 bytes (43% of all occurrences), 95,832 bytes and 6 more variants. 
The program has no visible window. The nprotect.exe file is not a Windows core file. Therefore the technical security rating is 29% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Uninstalling this variant: You have the option to uninstall the associated program (Start > Control Panel > Uninstall a Program > Norton Utilities or Norton Utilities 2003 for).

Recommended: Identify nprotect.exe related errors

External information from Paul Collins:

Important: Some malware camouflages itself as nprotect.exe, particularly when located in the C:\Windows or C:\Windows\System32 folder. Therefore, you should check the nprotect.exe process on your PC to see if it is a threat. We recommend Security Task Manager for verifying your computer's security. This was one of the Top Download Picks of The Washington Post and PC World.


User Comments

sony.exe virus attached to the nprotect file. scanner ignored virus. Norton Power Eraser detected virus and removed.
  Tommy Jones  
I had over 3 MILLION files in NPROTECT (206GB on 2 drives) which had been accumulating since 2005, including transfer to a new PC. Emptying the Recycle Bin didn't fix and it wouldn't allow deletion using Explorer. A Norton customer assistance contact didn't recognise the file as Norton's so didn't help in deleting it. I have just carried out the procedures outlined by "Turtle" and "D Hartman" and finally succeeded in getting rid of the monster. My grateful thanks to both, and to this website!
PCTools findes it as a *high threat* and it has over 20,000 files that virtually bring the PC to a standstill.
  Roger Halstead  
NPROTECT.EXE can be disabled in Administrative Tools, Services as Norton Unerase Protection in WinXP and 2000. I’ve had problems in the past with NPROTECT.EXE and just ran into some with a new install of WinXP SP3 I’m working on. Folders I was working on appeared and disappeared. The F: drive disappeared briefly from the Norton Protected Recycle Bin then reappeared after loging off and back on. This could have caused serious data loss. Checked volue for errors with auto correct. The files lost were easily downloaded again from
  D. Hartman  
nprotect is not dangerous but safe.
  Ray   (further information)
NPROTECT is a subdirectory of the RECYCLER file , a hidden file on the root directory in C: drive. I was concerned at the amount of space taken up by it.. The solution was dead easy: simply emty the Norton Protected Recyce Bin!
  Alan B  
IT can be dangerous but most of the time its not. Visit the link if you are an expert.
Its your trash can, right click on your recycle bin, go to properties, and change the 10% to like 2%. Its the amount of space your computer defaults to and sets aside for "trash storage".
More comments can be found here:
    (further information)

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of nprotect.exe: based on 48 votes with 9 reviews. 30 users think nprotect.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 5 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 5 users suspect danger. 8 users think nprotect.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 9 users don't grade nprotect.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving nprotect issues

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with nprotect. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using 1cleanmgr and 2sfc /scannow, 3uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using 4msconfig) and enabling Windows' 5Automatic Update. Always remember to perform periodic backups, or at least to set restore points.

Should you experience an actual problem, try to recall the last thing you did, or the last thing you installed before the problem appeared for the first time. Use the 6resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off repairing of your installation or, for Windows 8 and later versions, executing the 7DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.

To help you analyze the nprotect.exe process on your computer, the following programs have proven to be helpful: ASecurity Task Manager displays all running Windows tasks, including embedded hidden processes, such as keyboard and browser monitoring or Autostart entries. A unique security risk rating indicates the likelihood of the process being potential spyware, malware or a Trojan. BMalwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.

Other processes

nprotect.exe [all]