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.
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!
- 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:
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.
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.
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.