How to remove antivirus software and other security software

How do you remove antivirus software in Windows and other security software? Use an uninstaller. Not any uninstaller, but ones designed to do the job properly from the software developers.

There are several reasons why you might need an antivirus or security software uninstaller. One is because it is sometimes hard to completely remove all traces of it on the computer. The uninstaller provided with the software may fail to work or it might not remove everything. The remnants left over by an uninstaller can cause problems when the same software is reinstalled or when switching to different security software.

Failure to install antivirus software and other security apps could be related to traces of previous apps. They can become deeply embedded in the operating system so as to protect it from malware, but then it can be difficult to completely remove it.

Whenever you need to remove security software, the first thing to do is to try the uninstaller provided with it. This is usually sufficient. In Windows 11 for example, open Settings, click Apps, click Installed apps, then click the three dots to the right of any app. Uninstall is on the menu. In any version of Windows, open the Control Panel and then open Programs and Features and double click an app to uninstall it.

What if it does not work or still leaves traces? I looked at advanced uninstaller utilities and found some good ones that remove all traces of an app. However, the following uninstallers should be even better because they have just one task – remove security software.

If you are having problems installing or uninstalling security apps, try them. All are free and they do not need installing. Just double click the downloaded file in the Downloads folder.

Uninstall AVG Antivirus

AVG uninstaller tool for Windows PC
Uninstall AVG antivirus and security software

AVG Uninstall Tool, or AVG Cleaner as it calls itself on the website, is able to delete all files related to AVG, registry keys, installation files and user files. It says it is a last resort and it should only be used if the regular uninstaller has repeatedly failed. It asks if you want to restart in safe mode, which makes the task more likely to succeed.

Avast Uninstall Tool

Avast uninstaller tool for Windows PC
Uninstall Avast antivirus and security software

Avast Uninstall tool looks and works like AVG’s tool and it has along list of Avast security software that it can remove: Free Antivirus, Pro Antivirus, Internet Security, Premium Security, Business Security, Omni, Small Office Protection, One and One Essential.

Don’t just run it, right-click the avastclear.exe file in the Downloads folder and run it as an administrator. Do this even if you are logged in with an admin account. It can restart Windows in safe mode and this may be needed if a regular uninstall fails.

McAfee Consumer Product Removal Tool

McAfee antivirus uninstaller for Windows
Remove McAfee products

There is plenty of help if you want to remove McAfee software at the website and it is not just for Windows. There are links to articles showing how to uninstall McAfee software on macOS, Linux, iOS and Android.

McAfee Consumer Product Removal Tool (MCPR) is available for download for Windows and this should be used if the standard Windows uninstaller fails. There is a useful video showing how to use it.

McAfee has been bundled with some new computers and if you don’t want it, don’t try to remove it straight away. Run it to activate it first, then remove it. There are also instructions to enable the super administrator account, which may be required in particularly difficult cases.

Norton uninstaller tool

Norton uninstall tool for Windows
Remove Norton software in the Advanced options

This utility is called Norton Remove and Reinstall and in addition to cleaning up Norton security software, it enables you to reinstall it. This makes it a bit of an odd tool and if you only want to remove a Norton security product, you must click Advanced Options and then select Remove Only. Don’t accidentally reinstall it if you don’t mean to.

Another slight oddity is that it says you must uninstall Norton Family before using Norton Remove and Reinstall. There is a YouTube video showing how to use Norton Remove and Reinstall.

Avira uninstaller

Avira uninstaller tool is no longer available and if there are problems getting rid of it, then follow these these manual instructions to remove Avira. They delete files and folders, but not registry entries. You might want to try a general program uninstaller utility.

Bitdefender uninstaller tool

Bitdefender uninstall tool for Windows
Uninstall Bitdefender security software

There are instructions to uninstall Bitdefender software and it is the standard Windows method. However, a little way down the page, it says that if the regular uninstaller fails, then use the uninstaller tool. Click the link and it takes you to a page where there are uninstallers you can download for every version of Bitdefender security software dating back to 2015.

Kaspersky uninstaller tool

Kaspersky uninstall tool for Windows
Uninstall Kaspersky security apps

Kavremover is Kaspersky’s software remover tool and it gets rid of unwanted Kaspersky security software. Expand the section titled How to remove a Kaspersky application… There is a link to download kavremvr.exe and if you scroll down to the end of the section, there is a link explaining how to restart the PC in safe mode and rerun the tool.

Kavremover lets you choose the Kaspersky product from a long list. It looks Like every security application since 2009 is covered.

ESET uninstaller tool

ESET uninstall tool for Windows. Remove antivirus and other security software
Uninstall ESET and many other third party security apps

ESET AV Remover is unusual for a couple of reasons. One is that in addition to a standard Windows 32-bit and 64-bit apps, there is also a version of the uninstaller tool for Windows 11 on ARM. Is this the only ARM uninstaller? Maybe.

The second reason that it is unusual is because it does more than just uninstall ESET security software. It removes a wide range of third party security applications too. For example, it can remove antivirus from Avast, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, Bullguard, F-Secure, Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, McAfee, Panda, Sophos, Trend Micro and many more.

No matter what security software you need to remove, ESET AV Remover may be able to do it. One uninstaller to rule them all!

Malwarebytes uninstaller tool

Malwarebytes uninstall tool for Windows
Clean Malwarebytes security software from your PC

Malwarebytes Support Tool has several functions and one of these is to uninstall Malwarebytes security software. Run the app and then select the Advanced tab in the sidebar. Click the Clean button. In case you want to reinstall Malwarebytes, it saves a copy of your Premium license key to the desktop.

It removes all Malwarebytes products and it also has some repair options, which reset some Windows services back to their default state, which could be useful.

Panda uninstaller tool

Panda uninstall tool for Windows
Panda uninstaller is a minimalist app

Panda Generic Uninstaller is a utility provided to remove Panda Antivirus Pro, Dome, Gold Protection, Internet Security, Global Protection, and VPN. As with all of these tools, you should try the standard Windows uninstaller first and only use this utility if it does not work. There are no menus or features, not even a proper window. It just displays an animation while it does its job and then ends.

Trend Micro uninstaller tool

Trend Micro uninstall tool for Windows
Uninstall Trend Micro security software

Trend Micro Uninstall Tool is a simple tool with no important features other than to uninstall Trend Micro apps. The site says the tool should be used if you get an error installing Trend Micro security software due to remnants of previous versions of apps and it cleans up so you can try again.

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