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Removing McAfee Anti-Virus From Your Computer

Endpoint antivirus software developed by Symantec
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A lot of brand new computers and laptops come with pre-installed anti-virus programs such as Norton and McAfee anti-virus software. Unfortunately for some of us who like and enjoy using freebies, these pre-installed programs are only trial versions that will usually last for nothing more than a year. While many people wait for 12 months before attempting to uninstall these programs, others just try to remove them immediately after purchasing the laptop or computer device. However, removing trial anti-virus from your computer is not always as straight forward as it seems.

This article was inspired by an experience I had recently with uninstalling McAfee anti-virus from a (Vista OS) laptop computer. Initially I followed the usual procedure of removing unwanted programs from a PC by using the Add or Remove Programs function through the computer’s Control Panel. I also went a step further by checking the Program Files folder in the C:/ drive for any unwanted remnants of McAfee. However, while it appeared as if the anti-virus had been totally removed, I was still puzzled because it was not possible to install a new (yes, free) anti-virus program. This meant that the computer could still find traces of McAfee possibly in the system registry. So here is what I did.

Final Solution

The final solution to this problem was to download and run the McAfee Removal Tool in my last attempt to remove or delete every traces of McAfee anti-virus that was left on the computer and guess what? It worked! You can follow the instructions below if you find yourself in a similar situation:

  1. Download the MCPR removal tool on your computer
  2. Save file and run as administrator
  3. Restart computer

The above steps completed removed McAfee from my computer however more advanced tools might be needed if there are deeper problems associated with your computer registry. I am also interested in finding out what other methods or techniques have been used to remove pre-installed anti-virus software from computers (MAC or PC).

Talking Point

Which anti-virus software do you recommend and why?

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    July 21, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Thanks for this tutorial, I am one of the people that usually wait for the pre-installed anti-virus programs to expired before I removed them from the system. With the ways you just mention, I think I can removed any pre-installed anti-virus programs from my system from one day. My best anti virus is Avast.

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    October 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    i found your site through search engine.i like your web page content and very attractive theme.really i like this it.


  5. Tejo Krishna

    February 12, 2011 at 8:56 am

    thanks for this topic for how to uninstall the pre-installed antivirus before its expired. My suggested antivirus is kaspersky.

  6. Shah

    February 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Ohh this is great post in terms of protecting your Computer and getting rid of Mccafee. It removes one file from your window while uninstalling it. I have bookmarked and most provably will elaborate this post on my antivirus blog.

  7. Jim Olenbush

    August 13, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I usually use a free anti-virus software for my home use. For corporate or professional use, it’s recommended to use a paid version.

  8. Steve

    January 22, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I experienced lots of errors when removing the trial version of McAfee Anti-virus from a fiends new computer. The McAfee Removal Tool also didn’t work properly in this instance. So I opened the registry (regedit.exe), exported the full registry for backup purposes (File/Export whilst ‘computer’ at the top of the hive list is highlighted), then performed an Edit/Find on the word McAfee. I didn’t have any other McAfee products loaded at that time, so any registry keys with the word McAfee in them were deleted. Press the F3 key to automatically search for the next key with McAfee in it once the initial search has found one.

    I tend to use free anti-virus/anti-malware tools. I used AVG for years, but recently switched to the Microsoft Security Essentials tool. Probably not a popular choice, but i think it depends to an extent on your search habits. Granted free AVs usually update the pattern file later than commercial products so you are at more risk of an infection from new viruses/malware. But I have been using free AV programs for years, and so far I haven’t been infected with anything that they haven’t been able to deal with.

    Many Thanks for your interesting article .


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