How Do I Uninstall Antivirus Software?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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The need to uninstall antivirus software may occur for a number of reasons. Typically, the action must be taken when a user chooses to go with a new type of antivirus protection and must make sure the old one is completely removed before beginning the installation of the new product. When undertaking the task of uninstalling antivirus software, it is important to consider the type of operating system involved and the steps associated with removing any type of program from a hard drive running that system.

With most operating systems, the process to uninstall antivirus software is relatively simple. The first step normally involves accessing a screen that displays all the installed software programs. Depending on how the system is configured, this list will normally be in alphabetical order, making it easy to find the antivirus program by name. With many of the more popular operating systems, highlighting the program to be removed will be the first step in the process.


At this point, the process used to uninstall antivirus software will often require clicking on an icon that is either identified as “uninstall” or “remove.” Assuming that the proper program has been highlighted, this will trigger the opening of the program itself and the initiation of an uninstall sequence. Depending on how the software itself is written, there may be a number of points in the sequence that the user must provide authorization to proceed. For example, the software may ask several times if certain files are to be removed from the hard drive. Just about all antivirus software programs will require that the user respond to a query regarding the desire to move forward with the uninstall action, usually by clicking on an icon that is marked “yes.”

While the process to uninstall antivirus software is running, it is important for the user to remain nearby, since prompts to respond to one or more queries may appear at any time in the sequence. Once the process is completed, it is not unusual for the activity to require that the computer be rebooted before the changes take affect. Many programs will display a dialogue box asking if the user wants to reboot immediately or delay the reboot until later. Typically, it is a good idea to close all other programs before initiating the uninstall. If programs are left open until the system queries about a reboot, stop for a moment and close all the remaining programs before moving forward. This will reduce the possibility of having difficulty opening those other programs once the system is rebooted and ready for the installation of the new antivirus protection software.


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