Antivirus software can be among the hardest software to uninstall, because its hooks dig so deeply into the operating system. I’ve seen it fail to uninstall for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it requires a password, which was entered by someone other than you and never written down. Or sometimes something gets corrupted, and the program’s uninstaller fails. If you need to remove stubborn antivirus software, there’s a solution.
Appremover is a free application that removes, by my count, 144 different antivirus programs (I count each version as a different program).
I’ve had incidents in my career where antivirus programs just wouldn’t uninstall. It could be due to corruption. Or it could be due to a password. Maybe a consultant installed it and didn’t write down the password. Or maybe whoever installed it quit and didn’t leave the password behind before moving on. And then there was the time the management server died. We rebuilt it, but not all of the clients acknowledged it. So those clients had nothing to authenticate to, so even when we entered the password, it never took.
Sometimes a series of registry hacks would clean things up to the point that I could install something else. Sometimes. But it usually took a lot more time than it needed to. And I once worked in a shop where the standard fix action for Symantec Antivirus messing up was to reformat and reinstall the machine. You could reinstall, but we had recurring problems so often that we preferred to just rebuild when a problem happened.
I can’t guarantee that using a program like Appremover will always prevent you from having to do a full rebuild, but if it works, it could save you a lot of time.
But even if you’re not having any troubles, you might want to use Appremover anyway. I found the included uninstallers for both Symantec and McAfee products always leave stuff behind. Stuff I’d rather it didn’t.
The next time I have to uninstall antivirus software, I’ll be reaching for Appremover.