How do you uninstall an anti-virus program when the uninstall routine fails? Anti Virus programs are much more powerful than your average program or app. They often have some form of “tamper protection” built into them to prevent malware from disabling them. But this can make it a challenge to remove when the normal uninstall routine fails.
To uninstall any anti-virus or anti-malware program, the best course of action is to use the Apps and Features page How To Uninstall Programs & Apps In Windows 10 & 11. But sometimes that simply doesn’t work.
It’s not so unusual. Because of this, most AV companies make available a free “removal tool” for their products. These tools are small software packages that specifically target the maker’s own programs.
Below we’ll look at using removal tools from some of the most common anti-virus makers.
Before You Uninstall Your Anti-Virus Program.
Before you use one of these removal tools to uninstall your anti-virus program, there are a few things you should consider particularly if you’re uninstalling a premium (paid for) anti-virus.
- Planning to re-install. If you plan on re-installing the Anti-virus program, make sure that you can log into your account online. You’ll need to log in to re-download the new version of the software. You may also need to have the serial number that came with it.
- Password managers and cloud backup. Many of the premium anti-virus programs have either password managers and/or cloud backup built into them. If you user either, then download or backup your data before running these removal tools.
- Cancel your subscriptions. If you’re NOT planning on re-installing the anti-virus, then check that you’ve cancelled your subscription. Most (if not all) premium anti-virus products have an auto renewal policy and generally you will have been enrolled into it when you first bought the product. Be sure to cancel before uninstalling the anti-virus program.
With that said, it’s time to uninstall these problematic anti-virus programs.
How To Uninstall Avast Anti Virus.
To uninstall Avast when it’s playing up you can use the Avast removal tool called Avast Clear. It’s very easy to use and generally does a great job of removing all of Avast’s products.
You can download Avast Clear by clicking this link
On the Avast download page, click the link avastclear.exe
The program will download to your computer, it shouldn’t take long because it’s only a very small program.
Once the download has finished, run Avast Clear.
After a few moments, Avast clear will open with a pop-up message.
“It is recommended to run the tool from Windows Safe Mode” etc.
You don’t actually have to do anything other than click the YES button.
Avast Clear will then restart your computer in Safe Mode and re-launch itself.
When your computer starts up again, it’ll be in Safe Mode.
If you’ve never used Safe Mode before, it looks quite different from what you’d normally be looking at.
If your browser launches, which it often does when entering Safe Mode, just close it out of the way, or simply ignore it.
Avast Clear will open. There are options that you can change, but I’d say don’t. Just leave everything as it is.
Click the UNINSTALL button.
After clicking the uninstall button a progress indicator window will appear.
There’s nothing to do now except to wait for the process to finish.
Exactly how long it’ll take will depend on your computer, but it shouldn’t be too long.
When the uninstall process finishes, Avast Clear will notify you that Avast has been removed.
Click the DONE button and then restart your computer.
How To Uninstall AVG Anti Virus.
Uninstalling the AVG antivirus is very similar to Avast (which makes sense since they are actually the same product. The removal tool is called AVG Clear.
Download the AVG removal tool from here
And then run it.
To Uninstall AVG, the removal tool will require you to boot your computer into Safe Mode.
Click the YES button to continue.
You’ll see another confirmation window pop up, click the Yes button again.
When your computer restarts it’ll be in Safe Mode.
AVG Clear should automatically open.
You can select both the folder where AVG is installed and where it saves its data..
But for my money, just leave them as they are.
Click the UNINSTALL button.
How long it takes to find and remove AVG will depend on your computer, but eventually, you should see the message “The product was successfully uninstalled”.
Click the RESTART COMPUTER button and AVG will be gone.
McAfee antivirus (in its various product types) is very commonly pre-installed on computers. If you have issues when trying to remove it from your PC, then you can use the McAfee Consumer Product Removal (MCPR) tool.
The download page for McAfee’s removal tool is also an instruction page for how to uninstall McAfee products.
As such it can be a little difficult to find the download link that you need, but it is there.
Scroll down the page and then click the MCPR tool link.
You can find the page here
To Be Fair.
To be fair to McAfee, the instructions for uninstalling McAfee products are pretty good. My only complaint is that finding the download link for the MCPR tool is a little difficult. Maybe if they used a large button it would be better, clearer.
When the tool has finished downloading (it shouldn’t take long, it’s only very small), run it and then click the NEXT button.
After agreeing to the terms and conditions, you’ll then need to solve this puzzle as part of McAfee security validation.
Don’t you just love these (not), but at least this one’s not too difficult.
Simply type the letters or numbers into the box and click the NEXT button.
Note that the letters ARE case sensitive.
The MCPR tool will search your computer for any and all McAfee products.
It might take a little time, so please be patient.
Eventually, it’ll finish and you’ll need to click the RESTART button.
The Norton removal tool is a little different from most other tools of this type in that it is a combined remove and reinstall tool.
Click the link below to go to the Norton removal tool download page.
Scroll down the page and click the link Norton Removal and Reinstall.
Run the Norton Remove and Reinstall (NRnR.exe) tool and agree to the license terms that appear.
You now have a choice to make. Do you want to reinstall Norton?
If you do, click the REMOVE & REINSTALL button.
If you’re just trying to completely uninstall Norton, then click the ADVANCED OPTIONS. button.
Remove And Reinstall.
If you click the REMOVE & REINSTALL button, Norton will be uninstalled from your computer and then automatically the newest version will be downloaded and installed.
After clicking the Advanced Options the Remove Only window opens.
Click the REMOVE ONLY button to proceed.
Next, you’ll see a warning that your computer will be unprotected, click the REMOVE button. After that, the Norton Remove and Reinstall tool will search your computer for Norton’s products and uninstall any that it finds. Finally, after completion, you’ll need to restart your computer.
Removing Kaspersky Anti Virus.
Kaspersky also provides an all in one solution for removing their security products for when the usual uninstall process fails. It’s called kavremover.
Download and run the Kaspersky removal tool from here
When kavremover first starts up you’ll have to accept the license terms.
Kaspersky removal tool opens.
Solve the puzzle by typing the numbers or letters into the relevant box.
Then you’ll need to select which Kaspersky product you’re trying to uninstall from the drop-down list.
Then click the REMOVE button.
The security puzzle for the Kaspersky removal tool is particularly tough, or at least I find it so.
Opposite you’ll see a close-up view with the digits circled in red.
The numbers and letters that you get will be different from these, but there should be 8 of them.
Kaspersky is the only removal tool that I came across that actually needs you to specify which product you’re trying to uninstall.
That’s a little unfortunate because Kaspersky makes a huge range of security products.
If you’re not sure which Kaspersky product you’ve actually got installed, I’d suggest choosing this option
Kaspersky Free\Anti-Virus\Internet Security\Total Security\Kaspersky Security 2021.
You’ll find it about halfway down the list and it covers the products you’re most likely to have on your PC.
When the remover has finished its work, you’ll need to restart your computer.
Click the OK button and then reboot your machine.
As I said at the top of the page, you should only use these removal tools if the usual uninstall fails. These tools shouldn’t be thought of as a first choice, but rather as a last resort.
Another thing is that I’ve seen these removal tools offered for download on file repository websites and from other download sites. Never use them. Always download directly from the makers website. The tools are completely free so there really isn’t any need to go anywhere else.
There are so many anti-virus programs out there that I simply can’t cover them all. If you’re struggling to uninstall one of the many that I haven’t covered here, then simply Goole for the name of the program followed by “removal tool”. Eg
bitdefender removal tool, or eset removal tool etc.