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Removing McAfee

Walt from OK asks: How do I remove McAfee from my computer completely so I can install a different anti-virus?

McAfee offers products for home and business users alike. Both can be removed from any computer, but sometimes it takes more than just a few steps. Products available for home computer use include; Internet Security, VirusScan Plus, and Total Protection, to name a few. For business computers, there are a multitude of downloads for corporate products, betas, virus definition files, patches, and even removal tools for viruses.

Most downloads available through McAfee can be used on a trial basis, before you decide to purchase them. If you decide to buy one, subscription renewals are provided for each product. This will allow you to continue using the security product you prefer – instead of it expiring, causing you to have to download something new. There’s even an option to upgrade a trial, in case you require a different type of security for your computer. Whichever type of software you’ve chosen, you should be able to uninstall it with relative ease.

Updates for each type of product are offered, when they become available. If you don’t update often, sometimes your software won’t provide as much protection as you’d hoped. This can allow viruses through and make it seem like your software isn’t as good as you thought it was. This is often why many people decide to uninstall their current anti-virus program. They feel it isn’t doing its job, when all it actually needed was an update.

Uninstall in XP

To begin removing McAfee, you’ll need to click on the Start button at the bottom left corner of your desktop. When the box opens up, go to the Control Panel link and click on it. In the Control Panel, click on Add or Remove Programs.


The list of programs to add or remove will appear in a smaller box on your monitor. You can scroll down the entire list, until you find the McAfee program you want to uninstall. Click on the desired program once and there should be a button or two that appear as the program name is highlighted. The buttons are usually Change or Remove, but sometimes there is only a Remove button. You’ll want to click on the Remove button.

Once the uninstall is complete, close all the programs that you have running and then restart your computer. After the computer has rebooted itself, check to see if the program has actually been removed. You can look in the Add/Remove programs list. If it is still there, then it has not been removed and you can again try the removal process described above, or download a removal tool. A McAfee Consumer Product Removal tool can be found on the McAfee website [1].

Uninstall in Windows 7

To remove McAfee from Windows 7, you also begin at the Start button and the Control Panel. However, the Control Panel will be slightly different (see below). Click on Uninstall a program, and the list of programs described above will appear. You can then select McAfee and begin the removal process.


Once the removal is successful, you can install the anti-virus software of your choice. If the new software is on a disc, just insert the CD and follow the prompts on the screen. Downloading new software takes you through the same process. The screen will tell you which buttons to push and when it’s time to restart your computer.

A word of warning; make sure you are actually removing the McAfee program and aren’t accidentally clicking on something else. This might cause another program to quit working, which can lead to a huge mess.

I hope this removal process is helpful and you are able to uninstall your McAfee program successfully!

~Cory Buford