Antivirus Software Won’t Uninstall Properly

If the normal uninstallation procedure failed, we show you how to uninstall an antivirus program. So you need to uninstall your antivirus software – perhaps because it has stopped working or the license has expired and you want to replace with a different antivirus package?

Uninstalling it is normally straightforward – just uninstall in the usual way from (Add/Remove) Programs, restart your computer afterwards and it should be gone. However, sometimes antivirus software won’t uninstall properly.

Antivirus software integrates deeply into Windows and is designed to be difficult for viruses to switch off or remove. However, this ‘stickiness’ may itself cause problems when you need to uninstall the software, stopping some parts of the program from being removed.

Also, the part of any software that deals with uninstallation is likely to be the least well tested part – it is not something software designers spend much time on as they can’t imagine you ever wanting to uninstall their wonderful work!

How To Uninstall It Fully? If you have tried the normal uninstallation procedure but you can’t uninstall the antivirus program, you need to use a special uninstallation tool to get rid of it completely. Almost all antivirus companies produce such a tool – a small program purposely designed to completely remove their antivirus software if normal uninstallation fails.

A list of these tools, categorized by antivirus vendor (company), is posted in my review of antivirus uninstallers.

  • Scroll down to find your antivirus vendor and you will find 2 links – 1 ‘Info’ link to information about the tool and 1 ‘Download’ link to download the tool.
  • Read the ‘Info’ page first as there may be special instructions E.g. you may need to run the tool in Safe Mode or need to close the antivirus program first.
  • Now click on the ‘Download’ link and download the tool – if there are separate 32-bit and 64-bit versions make sure you choose the right one. If you are unsure, see my article on how to check if your computer is 32-bit or 64-bit.
  • Once you have downloaded the tool, follow any special instructions given earlier in the ‘Info’ page and run it.
  • After the tool finishes you will usually have to restart your computer.
  • The old antivirus software should have been completely removed – you should now install another antivirus package to keep your computer protected.

For more information on good antivirus software, see my articles comparing 25 antivirus packages.

2 thoughts on “Antivirus Software Won’t Uninstall Properly”

  1. Great list of uninstallers – always a pain to try to find one from the maker’s website. Its like they dont think anyone will ever need it so hide it away!

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