Along with Norton Utilities, Norton produced Norton Commander, a file managing tool for DOS; Norton Guides, a TSR program which showed reference information for assembly language and other IBM PC internals, but could also display other reference information compiled into the appropriate file format; and Norton Editor, a programmer's text editor.
Norton and his company, Peter Norton Computing, also produced several other programs, technical manuals, and introductory computing books. Norton is best known for The Peter Norton Programmer's Guide to the IBM-PC, a popular and comprehensive guide to low-level programming on the PC platform (covering BIOS and MS-DOS system calls in great detail). The first edition of this was nicknamed "the pink shirt book", after the pink shirt (especially popular at the time) which Norton wore for the cover photo. Although the second edition showed Norton wearing a white shirt, in the third and subsequent editions he returned to a pink shirt.
In 1990, Norton sold his company to Symantec. However, the Norton brand name lives on in such Symantec products as Norton AntiVirus, Norton 360, Norton Internet Security, Norton Personal Firewall, Norton SystemWorks (which now contains a current version of the Norton Utilities), Norton AntiSpam, Norton GoBack (formerly Roxio GoBack), Norton PartitionMagic, and Norton Ghost. Norton's visage was used on the packaging of all Norton-branded products until 2001.
Norton and his wife later founded the Peter Norton Family Foundation, which gives financial support to visual and contemporary non-profit arts organizations, as well as human social services organizations. He also serves on the boards of Creative Capital Foundation, the California Institute of the Arts, Reed College, Crossroads School, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Acorn Technologies.
The Nortons separated in 2000. They own one of the largest modern contemporary art collections in the US. Many of the pieces are on loan all over the world at any given time, and many were on view at Symantec Corporation which purchased Peter Norton Computing in 1990. The foundation and the Norton Family Office are located in Santa Monica. ARTnews magazine regularly lists Norton among the world's top 200 collectors. Norton was married to Gwen Adams in May 2007.
In 1999, Norton purchased letters written to Joyce Maynard by reclusive author J.D. Salinger for US$156,500. (Salinger had a year-long affair with Maynard in 1972 when she was 18.) Maynard said she was forced to auction the letters for financial reasons. Norton announced his intention was to return the letters to Salinger.
Peter Norton’s crossed-arm pose is a U.S. registered trademark.
"Assembly language programming is an extravagant waste of not only human talent and should be avoided whenever possible. (In 1986 and 1991, Norton published books on assembly language programming.)