As most people with a reasonable amount of knowledge will tell you, it’s not the best idea to have more than one Antivirus or Internet security package running at the same time on your PC. They usually don’t like each other and end up causing severe performance or stability issues leaving little choice but to try and find removal tools to clean up the mess. There are a few reported Antivirus applications that work together with their real time protection running, but for the most part, it’s a bad idea. The possible exception is having one piece of software to do the main job of actively watching for the threats, and any other software to act as an on demand ‘second line of defence’ scanner to manually scan once in a while for the threats your main software might have missed.
Raymond some time ago wrote a very useful article about Removal tools and the importance of removing one piece of security software completely before installing another because a large amount of problems encountered when installing a new package can be traced to a previous install. Hooking deep into your system to stop the threats getting through might be acceptable in the name of security, but everything is rarely removed using the Add/Remove option in Control Panel alone because the standard uninstall procedure is not as thorough as it needs to be. It’s a bit ironic then, that most of the security software companies these days, as well as having separate tools to remove specific types of threats, now have similar removal tools to help remove their own software!
It’s worth pointing out that programs like Revo Uninstaller, IOBit Uninstaller and Advanced Uninstaller Pro which do a good job of removing remnants left behind from a number of pieces of software, may well be able to remove enough, or all of the leftovers from some pieces of security software, but it’s no guarantee. If you have used a program like this to uninstall an Antivirus or Firewall and still have problems, then try one of the dedicated removal tools below.
Most removal tools are easy to use with just a couple of mouse clicks required in most cases. Where possible, there are links to any useful support pages should you require more information.
As in the previous article, AppRemover deserves a mention because it claims to remove several security applications from one single portable executable. Although it by no means supports the removal of all products listed here, there is still a lot that AppRemover can possibly remove. Visit the Supported Applications page for the full list.
While AppRemover does seem to generally do a good job, this is perhaps a tool to be used if you still have issues after trying an official removal tool because there could possibly be remnants of other security software still causing a problem. The general consensus seems to be AppRemover is a useful tool to have, but looking round the web some results seems to be rather mixed after using it.
Supports all Avast products including v4 – v7 (free and paid), BART CD Manager, Managed Client and Home Server.
Note: Needs to be started from Safe Mode. If you did not install the Avast product to the default install location, you need to point to it in the box.
Supports all AVG products
The Remover Tool is usually the top two links on the page. Make sure to download the correct 32bit or 64bit version.
Avira’s removal tool is more of a registry cleaner to clean any left over keys the software has created. It scans HKEY_CURRENT_USER and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE by default. If you need to expand the search, click the ‘Configuration’ button and select the other keys.
Supports Antivirus, Internet Security and Total Security products 2008 – 2012
Alternative Information and Download
Computer Associates / Total Defence
Note: This is a web based removal tool so an internet connection is required.
Note: The Comodo Uninstaller utility is not an official Comodo product but is developed by the community in the Comodo forums. Use at your own risk.
Note: As you can see, there’s a captcha to fill in, just enter the numbers and click remove.
Supports NOD32 v2 – ESET Smart Security v5
Note: The utility needs to be started from safe mode. When it finds an Eset installation, you need to press the specified number key (usually no. 1).
Supports F-Secure Service Platform v5 & v6, F-Secure Anti-Virus and F-Secure Internet Security 2005 – 2007
Note: Once you accept the license, the uninstaller will reboot the PC without confirmation.
Supports all G-Data products
Note: The BitRemover utility is a third party removal tool and is not connected to IObit. Use this at your own risk.
Supports the removal of K7 Ultimate, Total and Virus Security packages.
Supports Small Office Security 2, and all versions of PURE, Anti-Virus, Internet Security, Password Manager and AVP Tool driver.
Note: Enter the captcha code and if you have more than one product installed, select which to remove in the drop down. If you still have issues with a Kaspersky product, try using the remover tool in Safe Mode.
Anti-Virus / Internet Security 6.0/7.0 cannot be removed using a 64 bit o/s.
Supports all McAfee consumer products 2005 – 2011.
Note: The captcha appears to be case sensitive.
Microsoft (Security Essentials)
As you can tell from the screenshot, this is actually now part of the Microsoft Fix it suite.
Supports Norman Virus Control and Security Suite
Note: Another uninstaller that requires a captcha.
Supports Internet Security / Antivirus 2008 – 2012
Note: After downloading the tool, extract it and run the TISTOOL executable. Click the ‘[B] Uninstall’ tab, and then click the ‘1. Uninstall software’ button. The above procedure is for the Antivirus / Internet Security products up to 2010.
For the 2011+ and Titanium products use the information below:
Note: You will be prompted for a password when you extract these uninstallers, use ‘novirus’. Run the ‘Support Tool’ executable and use the same procedure as above.
AV Uninstall Tools Pack 2012
Last but not least, is the AV Uninstall Tools pack which includes tools for removing more than 40 Antivirus, Anti spyware and Firewall packages. It was originally mentioned by Raymond here but I thought it’s still worth a reminder because if you want to keep as many removal tools as you can, just in case, this one is definitely worth a look.
Note: Because of the sheer amount of removal tools inside, the download is around 64MB and the downloaded zip file unpacks to over 90MB.
The Website is in Russian, but the program is available in English.