How to remove or uninstall an antivirus program

Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope

Computer VirusThere are a number of different antivirus programs on the market. If an antivirus is already installed on your computer and you want to install a different antivirus on the computer, you must uninstall the current antivirus program first. Below are the steps on how to uninstall an antivirus program.

Caution: Having more than one antivirus program running on a computer at the same time often causes problems, including errors, slow computer performance, and possible failure of the antivirus protection.

Note: Keep in mind that if you have a subscription with the antivirus company, uninstalling the program may not cancel your subscription.

Tip: If you are uninstalling the antivirus because you believe it is causing problems you can also temporarily disable the antivirus before uninstalling.

Uninstall through the Start menu

Uninstall antivirus through Windows Start menuThe first way is to utilize the built-in uninstall feature of the program by finding the folder for the antivirus program in your Windows Start menu. To do this, click Start, All Programs, and look for the antivirus program in the list of programs.

When you find the antivirus program in the list, locate the uninstall option, which should be in the same folder. If this is available, click the uninstall option and follow the prompts to complete the uninstallation of the antivirus.

Uninstall through Add or Remove programs

The second way is to utilize Add or Remove Programs.

Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10 users

1. Open the Add or Remove Programs.
2. In the list of installed programs, find the antivirus program and select it by clicking it once with the left mouse button. Once the antivirus program has been selected, above the column headers, click the Uninstall option as shown in the picture below to initiate the uninstall process.

Uninstall avg antivirus

Note: Some antivirus programs may be listed several times in the list of programs. Make sure you've uninstalled all associated parts of the antivirus before rebooting the computer or installing another antivirus.

If you're unable to uninstall the antivirus through Add or Remove Programs because of an error, skip to uninstalling from Safe Mode. If the antivirus program is not listed in the Add or Remove Programs, you may have a bad antivirus install or a rogue antivirus.

Windows XP users

1. Open the Add or Remove Programs.
2. In the list of installed programs, find the antivirus program and select it by clicking it once with the left mouse button. To the right of the program name, click the Change/Remove or Uninstall button to initiate the uninstall process.

Note: Some antivirus programs may be listed several times in the list of programs. Make sure you've uninstalled all associated parts of the antivirus before rebooting the computer or installing another antivirus.

If you're unable to uninstall the antivirus through Add or Remove Programs because of an error, skip to uninstalling from Safe Mode. If the antivirus program is not listed in the Add or Remove Programs, you may have a bad antivirus install or a rogue antivirus.

Uninstalling from Safe Mode

In some cases, the uninstall process may not be able to proceed because the antivirus program is currently loaded and running in Windows. If the program cannot be disabled, uninstall the antivirus in Windows Safe Mode. In Safe Mode, the antivirus program will not be loaded and running, making it possible to uninstall using either method mentioned earlier.

Bad antivirus program

In some situations, a legitimate antivirus program cannot uninstall because it or the software used to uninstall it is corrupt, bad, or missing. In these situations, you must download an uninstaller program from the antivirus scanner company to remove all files associated with the antivirus. Below is a list of known uninstall links for many of the major antivirus scanner companies.

Antivirus Uninstall Link
Avast Avast uninstall link.
AVG AVG uninstall link.
Avira Avira uninstall link.
BitDefender 2015 BitDefender 2015 uninstall link.
BullGuard BullGuard uninstall link.
Comodo Comodo uninstall link.
Dr. Web Dr. Web uninstall link.
eScan eScan uninstall link (direct download).
ESET ESET uninstall link.
FRISK F-PROT Antivirus F-PROT uninstall link.
F-Secure F-Secure uninstall link.
G Data G Data uninstall link.
Kaspersky Kaspersky uninstall link.
K7 Total Security K7 uninstaller (direct download).
LavaSoft LavaSoft uninstall link.
McAfee McAfee uninstaller (direct download).
Norman Virus Control/Norman Security Suite (now part of AVG). Norman uninstall link.
Norton antivirus Norton Antivirus uninstall link.
Norton Internet Security Norton Internet Security uninstall link.
Norton Security Scan Norton Security uninstall link.
Panda Panda uninstaller (direct download).
Panda Cloud Internet Protection Panda Cloud uninstall link.
Sophos Sophos uninstall link.
Trend Micro Trend Micro uninstall link.
Vipre Vipre uninstall link.
Webroot Webroot uninstall link.
Windows Live OneCare Windows Live uninstaller (direct download).
Windows Security Essentials MSE uninstall link.
Zone Alarm Zone Alarm uninstall forum link.

Rogue antivirus programs

There is also the possibility that the antivirus program attempting to be uninstalled is actually a spyware or malware. There are fake antivirus programs on the Internet and they can do harm to a computer or help someone steal your information. One of the better-known ones to have plagued many computer users is called AntiVirus 2011.

If your computer is infected with this or other similar spyware or malware programs, posing as an antivirus program, it is strongly recommended that it be uninstalled as soon as possible. You should run a spyware removal program such as Malwarebytes to clean your computer of any other possible spyware or malware programs.

Additional information