How To Completely Remove Antivirus Software


antivirus-multipleAn antivirus program is not something we tend to change very often but, when we do, it’s important to make sure the existing antivirus software is completely removed from the system. This is not always easy to achieve as antivirus programs tend to add components deep into the system in order to provide the sort of protection necessary.

Simply removing antivirus software via Control Panel>Programs and Features is almost certain to leave remnants behind which can, and often do, interfere or conflict with installation and/or running of the replacement antivirus. Fortunately, antivirus vendors recognize this situation and most provide uninstallation tools that will remove all traces of their products from the system; including files, registry items, profiles and any other settings or options.

Here is a list of official removal tool downloads for a number of popular antivirus products:

Official Antivirus Removal Tools:

Please be aware that many of these tools need to be run AFTER you’ve gone through a normal uninstall via Programs and Features. Also note that removing antivirus products is generally best performed from within Safe Mode where the files will not be in use or locked. Please read the vendor’s instructions beforehand.

If your antivirus software is not listed above, you can try performing an online search using the search term “antivirus name removal tool” – where “antivirus name” is actually the name of your antivirus product.


Alternatively, you could try one of several third-party universal removal tools that are available and support a wide range of different antivirus products. My suggestion here would be ESET AV Remover which, as the name suggests, is provided by the ESET security company. If anyone would want to make sure that your previous antivirus product was completely uninstalled from the system, I’d imagine it would be a security software vendor.

ESET AV Remover is available in both 64-bit (10.7MB) and 32-bit (10.3MB) flavors and it is a portable application, just double click the downloaded executable to run. *NOTE that ESET AV Remover will also help fix incomplete uninstallations.

eset av remover - interface

(Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a full list of supported programs, just click on the name of your operating system)

Uninstalling Antivirus Software Bottom Line

Incomplete and failed antivirus software uninstalls can really mess up the system so, if you are planning on changing from one antivirus product to another, don’t rush in boots and all. Look around for an official removal tool first, and if none are available, try one of the universal third-party tools.

Getting the job done right in the first place will often save a lot of angst in the long run. Amen


 

About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

7 Comments

  1. Hi Jim
    Probably one of the leading cause of PC trouble is out of date AV software and trying to remove AV software. At the top of the list for me would be the removal of Norton and McAfee, because it usually comes preloaded and usually never gets updated.
    The best method of AV removal for me is to boot into safe mode and use the Geek Uninstaller and run CCleaner for registry cleanup. Always set a System Restore before any AV removal, this has saved me several times. Good read and good advice. Daniel.

  2. Hello Jim,
    To remove Avast, it is still recommended to first use the normal uninstall procedure through Programs and Features before using the Removal Tool.
    The removal tool can also be run in regular mode. It will ask you to allow it to switch to Safe Mode before it actually removes any remaining parts of Avast. It’s recommended that you grant that permission if you want it to work properly.

  3. Do you think running Revo Uninstall in advance mode will do just as good a job?
    If so, should it be run in SafeMode also?

    • No and yes.

      Running a dedicated uninstaller provided by the antivirus vendor would be the best possible method. That said, Revo in advanced mode would certainly be an excellent plan B – that is, when there is no dedicated uninstaller available.

      Uninstalling antivirus products is always best done in Safe Mode, regardless of the method.