Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Uninstalling McAfee and Symantec suites

When you purchase a new computer, the chances are good that it will come with an Internet Security Suite pre-installed which will protect you for a “trial period” of, say, 120 days. When the trial period ends, so does the suite’s ability to download new anti-malware “definitions” (also known as “signatures”) unless you purchase a year’s subscription. Once you are no longer getting the updates, you really are not protected.

The two companies that do this new PC pre-loading the most are McAfee and Symantec. They do this in the hopes that you will not educate yourself about other (often free) products, that you will not seek out and install a more effective anti-spyware/parental control/spam filter/etc., and simply submit and send them your $30 each year. It’s not a bad deal, if you decide to go that way.
Some people do subscribe. The vast majority simply let it lapse, and then just ignore, and close, the warning dialogue windows that pop open from time to time urging them to get protected. They think, “some protection is better than no protection, right?” Well… no!

Eventually these folks get tired of the pop up warnings, and decide to just remove the security suite, and I don’t blame them. (Do they install a replacement(s)? I certainly hope so!) So they go into their Control Panel and then to Add/Remove Software and try to remove the suites (of programs). And why shouldn’t they? That is how you uninstall programs in Windows… and what both McAfee and Symantec’s websites’ tell you that’s what you should do.

It won’t work. Both products will only partially uninstall, become unusable, and now instead of “get protected” pop ups, you will get a bunch of error messages.

Tip of the day:Properly uninstall expired security suites. Both McAfee and Symantec acknowledge that Add/Remove Programs doesn’t always work at removing their products, and they offer special tools as downloads to do the job. These tools are the way to go when the time has come to remove their products.
These downloads are buried rather deep on the websites and aren’t highly advertised, so I will provide direct links. It is only fair to warn you that these tools remove all of each company’s products from your machine… but that’s the point here, isn’t it?

Today’s free link(s):The McAfee tool is the MCPR; McAfee Consumer Products Removal tool.
The Symantec remover is the Symantec Norton Removal Tool.

Please note:it is very important that you run up-to-date anti-malware products on your PC, and I have written several advice articles on this topic and provided links to the better free tools available, which you can view by clicking on the appropriate keyword in my Tag Cloud. I have posted a more complete listing of free downloads on my website.

 Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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October 1, 2007 - Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, how to, PC, security, tech, Windows

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