What is an Antivirus Removal Tool and why you might use one.

What is an Antivirus Removal Tool and why you might use one.

Antivirus Removal Tool? Why would I need one?

We all have heard for several years now that it is an absolute necessity to have antivirus if you have a Windows based PC connected to the internet.  The days of Windows prior to WIndows XP Service Pack 2 were days filled with widespread virus outbreaks and trouble for Windows users that connected to the internet without a firewall.  Even with a firewall there are possibilities for a Windows system to be infected by a virus today, whether it’s by browsing a site that embeds a bit of malicious code within the page, or an email posing to be from someone you know.  There are many ways Windows machines might receive a virus, so WHY, why on earth would you ever need an ANTIVIRUS removal tool?

Well, the plain and simple truth is that antivirus software like all other software is susceptible to the same bugs and flaws that any other program might have.  Many times, the antivirus vendors will instruc their users to fix problems they have with the antivirus products by uninstalling and reinstalling the software.  Sometimes, that is not as easy as it seems.  I have run into many occasions where either Norton or McAfee or another antivirus product is not working properly and attempting to uninstall it fails.  Of course, this means you can’t reinstall it until it’s properly uninstalled and you reach to pull out another clump of hair in frustration.

Well, that is exactly the type situation that calls for a specialized tool to completely remove the antivirus software and leave the system in a state as though it had never been installed so that you can then go and reinstall the program and get it working properly.  This so-called antivirus removal tool is usually made by the same company that makes your antivirus software, so if you are having problems uninstalling their software, definitely check with them to see if they provide such a tool to help fix issues with their software.

After you have successfully run your antivirus removal utility, make sure to keep working at it to get your antivirus working properly again so that you will have adequate virus protection.

Antivirus Removal Tools

Collected here is a list of some of the antivirus removal tools available:

To clean out Symantec’s Norton antivirus products you’re looking for the Norton Removal Tool.

If you’re needing to clean out one of McAfee’s antivirus products you will need the McAfee Consumer Product Removal Tool.   (The link points to the support document on using it and there is a link to the download halfway down the page.)

Avast has a removal tool as well and it’s address is here.

The links above connect to the support pages at each respective site and do not link directly to the named tools.

For other products, if there is not a removal tool available it may be possible to reinstall the software (to repair the uninstall information), then to uninstall it.

Virus Removal Tools

The above Antivirus removal tools should not be confused with virus removal tools that are designed specifically to remove a certain type of virus.

Many of the antivirus vendors do provide free virus removal tools and a partial listing of those can be found here as well:

Here is a collection of McAfee’s removal tools.

AVG has a collection of free virus removal tools here

Kaspersky lists theirs here.

Bitdefender has some free tools here.

Norton/Symantec has their list here of removal tools.

And Microsoft of course, has their Malicious software removal tool


Norton Antivirus 2013 – 1 User / 1 PC [Download]
Amazon Price: $14.99
List Price: $49.99
Norton 360 2013 – 1 User / 3 PC [Download]
Amazon Price: $24.08
List Price: $89.99
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2013 – 3 Users
Amazon Price: $18.59
List Price: $59.95
Norton Internet Security 2013 – 1 User / 3 PC [Download]
Amazon Price: $19.27
List Price: $79.99

Rogue Security Software

Now, sometimes people searching for an antivirus removal tool are actually in need of specific instructions to remove rogue security software.  Rogue security software is software claiming to be antivirus or antispyware and is installed by shady methods, is typically “noisy”.  That is to say, it complains about finding a lot of problems.  Of course, to solve the problems the user is told that they will need to purchase the software.

Unfortunately such rogue antivirus or rogue security software can be as bad (if not worse) than some of the viruses out there.  They can be quite challenging to get rid of and I do have a few tutorials related to those:

Remove Windows Police Pro

Remove Green Antivirus 2009

Have you ever had problems with your antivirus software?

What antivirus software?
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