I often get calls from customers who 30 or 60 days after buying a new computer begin receiving prompts to “renew” their antivirus subscription. This is a common tactic of McAfee and Norton to get more users. These companies give incentives to computer manufactures to install their antivirus products (along with a 30 or 60 day subscription) on new computers. The idea is that most people will get used to the product, and then when the trial subscription expires, will readily pay $50+ for another year.
With the availability of great free antivirus programs (such as my favorite, AVG), I usually recommend removing the pre-installed Norton or McAfee programs and replacing them with a free alternative. I’m not sure whether it is poor design on the software side, or a great marketing gimmick, but it can often be hard to remove the products. It can be so bad, both McAfee and Norton have released utilities specifically designed to remove their programs.
Below are download links and instructions for removing McAfee and Norton programs. These tools will remove ALL McAfee/Norton products. If you have multiple installed and want to keep one or more, you will have to remove all the programs and then reinstall those you wish to use. While I have never had a problem with these tools, you should still back up your data before attempting to use either of these tools.
- Attempt a normal uninstall of the McAfee products using the Add/Remove Programs control panel applet.
- Download MCPR.exe.
- Double-click on MCPR.exe
- A Command window will be displayed, and then close. Wait for a second Command window to open. Do not double-click MCPR.exe again, it may take some time for the next window to appear.
- After the second window appears, the program will begin the cleanup. You will be prompted to reboot the machine when the cleanup process has finished.
- Press Y on the keyboard to restart.
- Attempt a normal uninstall of the Norton products using the Add/Remove Programs control panel applet.
- Save your product key and any ACT! or WinFax databases you have.
- Download Norton_Removal_Tool.exe.
- Double-click Norton_Removal_Tool.exe.
- Click “Setup.”
- The program will walk you through the steps to completely remove the Norton products.