How To Completely Remove Norton Or McAfee From Your Computer

removal logo   How To Completely Remove Norton Or McAfee From Your ComputerThey slow your computer down, they ask for your money annually and they rate no better than various free products when compared by AV-comparitives.org. If you have an ongoing relationship with Norton or McAfee, it’s time to break up. Happily, both companies provide free software for doing just that.

Most people who have Norton or McAfee found the software on their computer when they bought it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – it’s important to get a working anti-virus onto a new computer as quickly as possible – but the default software on your computer isn’t necessarily the best. Just ask any former IE user who today uses Google Chrome or Firefox.


Removing Norton and McAfee’s products has a tendency to leave a lot of crap behind, even if you go through the proper channels offered in your control panel. Both companies acknowledge this, and both offer removal tools for the complete uninstallation. If you’re looking to learn how to remove Norton or McAfee and replace them with something free and effective, you’ve found the right article.

Before you do anything you should probably disconnect from the Internet. Leaving a Windows computer connected to the web without protection can be dangerous. That’s why I recommend you read through the guide, download what you need to download and then follow the steps below.

Getting Started

Both Norton and McAfee recommend that you remove your program through the control panel before running their tools. I’ve found that simply running the tool is enough, but if you like playing by the rules you might as well do this first.

  • Click your start button, then click “Control Panel“. Click “Add or Remove Programs” if you run XP, or “Uninstall a Program” if you’re using Vista/7. Find the program(s) you need to remove, then uninstall it!

uninstall   How To Completely Remove Norton Or McAfee From Your Computer

  • This may take a while, or in some cases may fail completely. Don’t panic; we’re only halfway through the process.

Completely Remove Norton

Are you a soon-to-be-ex-Norton-user? Congratulations! What you need now is the Norton Removal tool. The best product Norton offers, this program will completely remove all Norton-related software from your computer (including shortcuts and annoying toolbars).

Click here to download the Norton removal tool, then run the executable. You’ll see something that looks like this:

Nortonremovaltool   How To Completely Remove Norton Or McAfee From Your Computer

Follow the on-screen directions, mostly clicking “next“, to rid yourself forever of all Norton leftovers. You may have to prove you’re human by typing a few lines of text, but for the most part this is painless. Best of all: when you’re done there’s no sign left on your computer of Norton’s existence.

Completely Remove McAfee

If you’re trying to remove McAfee you’re going to need a different piece of software: the McAfee Cleanup Tool. This program will remove everything to do with McAfee from your computer, and is by far the best product they offer. It does exactly what it says it will do.

mcafeeremoval   How To Completely Remove Norton Or McAfee From Your Computer

Go ahead and click here to download the McAfee removal tool. Run this executable and it will take care of the rest!

Install Something Better

Looking for a better piece of anti-virus software? I myself really love Microsoft Security Essentials, for three reasons: first, it offers great protection; second, it features a really clean and simple user interface; third, it will never ever ask you for money.

But read the comments below and you’ll quickly discover not everyone agrees with me. Check out their recommendations, and be sure to check out our list of the top ten free anti-virus programs if you still need ideas.

Can anyone offer links to tools for completely removing other annoying bits of software?  If so, please share them below.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

34 Comments -

0 votes

Ashutosh Mishra

Sorry, but Norton has actually been pretty light and effective since the 2009 version. McAfee is probably still all bloat though.

PC Decrapifier can bulk uninstall crappy software, probably including both Norton and McAfee.

0 votes

Ashutosh Mishra

Sorry, but Norton has actually been pretty light and effective since the 2009 version. McAfee is probably still all bloat though.

PC Decrapifier can bulk uninstall crappy software, probably including both Norton and McAfee.

0 votes

Zcompguy

I wouldn’t pay a dime for Norton simply because what you believe to “light” still fills you’re computer with hidden garbage you would never find on your own.
Get rid of it and say good riddence!

0 votes

Bob

dealt with here complete with links!

http://www.raymond.cc/blog/arc

0 votes

Mgbarotto

I’m a huge Avast! fan, never really tried Microsoft Secure, one of the first things I usually do when installing an OS is installing 3rd party AV and firewall and disabling OS defaults, but I’ll try MSE whenever I have the chance.

0 votes

Lnimtz

People- please go to matousec.com, click projects, click proactive security challenge, scroll to results. There’s no question who the best anti-virus is. And it’s free.

0 votes

Lnimtz

People- please go to matousec.com, click projects, click proactive security challenge, scroll to results. There’s no question who the best anti-virus is. And it’s free.

0 votes

Mayank

But Be Sure That You Have A Genuine WINDOWS OS or Else MSE Will Put A 30 Sec. Time Bomber To Your Computer If It Is Detected As Pirated.

Because Microsoft Has Updated it’s MSE To Ver 2.0.522.0.
This Update To MSe Is A Silent Update Which Means You Will Not No When It Got Updated.
And Then You’ll Be in Trouble.
You May Refer To The Full Article: http://www.askvg.com/microsoft

0 votes

jhpot

Yeah, it checks, but not if you use Ninite to install it: ninite.com

If it was a corporate prize I’m sure the license is legit, but even if it wasn’t all MSE will do is tell you so. I’ve tried installing this for a client with a less-than-legal license and they didn’t lose their system…they just got AVG instead of MSE.

0 votes

Anonymous

Does Microsoft Security Essentials check if you have official Windows or not? When we were given this laptop (as a corporate prize), we weren’t provided the documents to verify if software in it was legal or not. I want to try MSE, but not so much that I’d risk losing PC authorization for it.

0 votes

jhpot

Yeah, it checks, but not if you use Ninite to install it: ninite.com

If it was a corporate prize I’m sure the license is legit, but even if it wasn’t all MSE will do is tell you so. I’ve tried installing this for a client with a less-than-legal license and they didn’t lose their system…they just got AVG instead of MSE.

0 votes

Elliott

personally I adore AVG in both it’s Free and Paid versions. Never let me down yet.

0 votes

Hector M.

Avg all the way. I’ve been using it for a long time, recommended.

0 votes

Ggam1

MSE is the best thing Microsoft has put out there lately(I’m still on the fence about Win 7)..best tool for a tech to have.

0 votes

Vintage

MSE is absolute crap. We purposely infected systems with old and new viruses to determine which anti-virus software was better. Most of the viruses we put on the systems were never discovered by MSE.

0 votes

venkat

These removal tools released by security vendors are quite useful to troubleshoot these products.

0 votes

snert

I like Revo Uninstaler for getting rid of stuff like this.
Hey, it works for me.

0 votes

timmyjohnboy

LOL, I like what you said about the removal tools being the best software the companies put out!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to uninstall programs such as Norton and McAfee for people. Norton used to have to be uninstalled in a certain order in the control panel but it’s really not all that difficult anymore.

I usually use AVG but I hear it isn’t the lightest free AntiVirus out there. I’m personally running ubuntu on my personal laptop so this articoe really doesn’t apply to me anymore :)

0 votes

snert

I like Revo Uninstaler for getting rid of stuff like this.
Hey, it works for me.

0 votes

Wolfgangwhs

Here are the uninstallers for most AV programs: http://vistaandwindows7tutoria

0 votes

timmyjohnboy

LOL, I like what you said about the removal tools being the best software the companies put out!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to uninstall programs such as Norton and McAfee for people. Norton used to have to be uninstalled in a certain order in the control panel but it’s really not all that difficult anymore.

I usually use AVG but I hear it isn’t the lightest free AntiVirus out there. I’m personally running ubuntu on my personal laptop so this articoe really doesn’t apply to me anymore :)

0 votes

Guest

Anyone know the difference between Microsoft Essentials and Defender?

Thanks

0 votes

Guest

Anyone know the difference between Microsoft Essentials and Defender?

Thanks

0 votes

Aibek

Based on my personal experience I can say that MSE is more
comprehensive. In fact it’s a very good piece of security software.

For the detailed comparison i suggest you ask this on MakeUseOf Answers,
http://www.makeuseof.com/answers/

Aibek

0 votes

Wolfgangwhs

MSE is a pretty full blown AV program. I use it on a couple of systems and it seems to do a good job (although I still prefer NIS2011). MSE uses the same process name as the old Defender (MsMpEng.exe) but there is no comparison. The old Defender was what I would call “very rudimentary protection”. So think of MSE as a Defender on steroids.

0 votes

zlftcav

MSE crapped out on me and I was never able to get it to work properly again, went back to AVG and will probably never leave again. Don’t fix what ain’t broke!

0 votes

Wolfgangwhs

ziftcav, that is very strange. I have installed MSE on several systems and a lot of my friends have too. I never heard of a trouble like you have. Going with AVg is about the worst option you could have chosen. We got six “AVG protected” systems in my computer club that were heavily infected – unbelievable. If you do not like MSE, I recommend free Avira.

0 votes

Arjun Bajaj

The Cloud Antivirus from Panda is really awesome….CHeck out that at : http://cloudantivirus.com

0 votes

Arjun Bajaj

The Cloud Antivirus from Panda is really awesome….CHeck out that at : http://cloudantivirus.com

0 votes

Aibek

Based on my personal experience I can say that MSE is more
comprehensive. In fact it’s a very good piece of security software.

For the detailed comparison i suggest you ask this on MakeUseOf Answers,
http://www.makeuseof.com/answe

Aibek

0 votes

Chelsea W

Tried add/remove but it simply wouldn’t work for me. I don’t understand why among the many security applications I have encountered, this one is the hardest thing to remove.

I just followed this article on how to remove norton to find the removal tool made by symantec. and I was able to uninstall it from there.

0 votes

WizardOfID

I am disgusted with Norton 360! I’ve never had a problem with its AV or firewall except for slowing down my machine to a crawl. Besides being a terrible resource hog, the interface is dumbed down so much that there’s no visibility to what it’s doing, technical support is useless, and its backup is a disaster. I can never tell if a backup has actually been done–I’ve had backups sit for hours and not do anything–and it has to build “backup sets” before you can even select the set you want to run. I’m usually not this hard on a product but I was a software architect for many, many years and I would have held my head in shame to release a product like this.

0 votes

Zcompguy

I wouldn’t pay a dime for Norton simply because what you believe to “light” still fills you’re computer with hidden garbage you would never find on your own.
Get rid of it and say good riddence!

0 votes

Sujit Metrochicken

Can I remove AVG in a similar manner?