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How To Disable McAfee on a Windows PC

Posted by Jamie on March 7, 2019

McAfee is a legit antivirus and security application company that offers decent protection from the worst of what’s out there on the internet. It often comes bundled with Windows 10 on new computers or with certain program downloads. If you have it on your system, this tutorial will show you how to disable McAfee on a Windows computer and safely remove it.

McAfee is a perfectly competent security company with good quality products. However, the look and feel isn’t for everyone and there may be better options out there for your situation. Arguably, improvements in Windows Defender have been such that the need for third party security software is now completely optional and perhaps not required at all.

Personally, I dislike it when manufacturers bundle software onto devices. Phone manufacturers do it, laptop and PC manufacturers do it and even individual software companies like to bundle other software in with our downloads, especially if it is free.

Either way, if you want to disable McAfee on a Windows computer, you can.

Disable McAfee SecurityCenter on a Windows computer

You can disable McAfee SecurityCenter on a Windows computer manually or use a purpose-built tool for the job. Doing it manually allows you to control the removal but the tool makes short work of it. I’ll show you both.

There are quite a few steps to this process but all are necessary to be able to successfully remove the program.

To remove McAfee SecurityCenter manually:

  1. Right click the SecurityCenter icon in the Windows Taskbar.
  2. Select Change Settings and Real-time Scanning.
  3. Turn it off in the popup window that appears.
  4. Select When I restart my PC and Turn Off.
  5. Right click the SecurityCenter icon again in the Windows Taskbar.
  6. Select Change Settings and Firewall.
  7. Select Turn Off and select When I restart my PC.
  8. Right click the Windows Start button and select Apps and Features.
  9. Select the Programs and Features text link on the right.
  10. Select McAfee SecurityCenter from the popup window and select Uninstall/Change.
  11. Follow the wizard to remove McAfee SecurityCenter from your computer.
  12. Reboot your computer when prompted.

Use the McAfee Consumer Products Removal Tool:

  1. Download the McAfee Consumer Products Removal Tool from here.
  2. Install and use the tool to remove McAfee SecurityCenter.
  3. Reboot your computer when prompted.

Now McAfee SecurityCenter has been removed, you need to make alternative arrangements for your computer security. Don’t ignore it!

Disable McAfee Antivirus on a Windows computer

The process for disabling McAfee Antivirus and removing it is similar but also slightly different.

  1. Right click the McAfee Antivirus icon in the Windows Taskbar.
  2. Select Change Settings and Real-time Scanning.
  3. Turn it off in the popup window.
  4. Select When I restart my PC and Turn Off.
  5. Right click the Windows Start button and select Apps and Features.
  6. Select the Programs and Features text link on the right.
  7. Select McAfee Antivirus from the popup window and select Uninstall/Change.
  8. Follow the wizard to remove McAfee Antivirus from your computer.
  9. Reboot your computer when prompted.

Again, you can also use the  McAfee Consumer Products Removal Tool if you prefer.

These methods will work on most McAfee products whether you have the older SecurityCenter product or their newest Total Protection. The tool definitely works to remove the files as well as the protection so use it with confidence.

There are some advantages to using the McAfee Consumer Products Removal Tool over manually removing it. Sometimes the Windows installer leaves files behind and doesn’t completely clean the registry. The tool, designed by McAfee themselves, removes all traces of the program from your computer. If you’re like me though, doing it manually gives you the confidence that the program really is gone.

Securing your computer after disabling McAfee

In older versions of Windows, third party protection was a necessity. Windows wasn’t in a position to look after itself and early versions of Windows Defender were woefully inadequate. Windows 10 is different and is now perfectly able to protect itself. The new version of Windows Defender is more competent than ever before.

If you don’t want to depend on Windows, there are many great antivirus products on the market. Many have free versions. Free versions of security products offer the same level of protection but fewer features. Usually they will provide core antivirus and malware protection but not extras like secure storage, browser extensions or value-add features.

If you want an effective antivirus, check out AV-Test. It is one of the most authoritative sources of testing on the web and the place to check if you’re looking for a new product.

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