Antivirus software are complex programs designed to identify, neutralize or eliminate malicious content that invade your computer. Many people over a period of time will change from one brand of antivirus software to another. Antivirus software is big business and today there are many flavors and options available.
For example; There are (3)-three “FREE (for personal use)” reputable antivirus packages that are widely recognized (see below). I prefer any one of these over the major brand antivirus software packages due they are light on system resources, and are not bloated. As a matter of fact, I cannot remember ever having a commercial (paid for) version of an antivirus program on any of my computers at home.
The points of this article is to educate you to the fact that there are FREE antivirus software options available and that follow-up research may be required to “completely” uninstall (remove) antivirus software from your system in the event you desire to install another antivirus program.
Antivirus software, when running on your system, is hooked into many areas (i.e. registry, file system, resident memory, etc…) and uninstalling it can leave debris behind that can cause other systemic issues. Antiviruses are like viruses; they can be hard to get rid of… To prove my point, I researched (9)-nine antivirus programs and found that every one of them had supplemental removal instructions or tools, in addition to following the typical Add/Remove console process found in Windows. I have listed the sites below for convenience and reference. During this research I also found that locating this information was often buried deep in their sites and was not readily accessible.
Uninstall Information & Links
Norton Removal Tool – The Norton Removal Tool uninstalls all Norton 2009/2008/2007/2006/2005/2004/2003 products, Norton 360 and Norton SystemWorks 12.0 from your computer. If you use ACT! or WinFAX, back up those databases before you proceed.
McAfee Consumer Products Removal tool (MCPR.exe) – uninstall or reinstall supported McAfee consumer products using the McAfee Consumer Products Removal tool (MCPR.exe)
Avast! uninstall utility – Sometimes it´s not possible to uninstall avast! the standard way – using the ADD/REMOVE PROGRAMS in control panel. In this case, you can use our uninstallation utility aswClear.
Avira AntiVir -Normally the Avira Registry Cleaner removes all entries that were created by AntiVir. In this way, it prepares your system for the installation of a new AntiVir version.
BitDefender Uninstall Tool – There are two methods of uninstalling BitDefender from your computer: using the system tools and using the special uninstall tool provided by BitDefender.
Kaspersky’s Antivirus Removal Tool – Some errors might occur when deleting Kaspersky Anti-Virus product via Start > Control Panel > Add\Remove Programs. As a result the program will not be uninstalled or will be partially uninstalled. The removal tool is required to remove a variety of their products.
F-Secure Internet Security (and antivirus) – Should you decide to uninstall, F-Secure does not provide its own uninstaller. You must use the Microsoft uninstaller found in Add and Remove Programs within the Command Console. After a reboot we found no Registry files, but we did find several program and log files in an F-Secure directory tree on the root drive.
Trend Micro Antivirus – Trend Micro Support to remove Trend Antivirus plus AntiSpyware from my computer?
AVG – Open the directory with AVG Free Edition installed in and run the SETUP.EXE file or download the current installation file of AVG Free Edition from here and run it to start installation process. A window with following options will be displayed during the installation process: Add/Remove Components, Repair installation or Uninstall