Wondering how to remove antivirus on Windows? Whether you’re looking to install new antivirus software, want to speed up your computer’s performance or need to access files it’s preventing, it’s easy to remove an antivirus installed on your Windows device.
It’s always a good idea to protect your device from malware, viruses and malicious email attachments, but not all antivirus is equal. Some may not provide the protection you’re looking for, while others may hound you with safety notifications. What’s more, they may even interfere with your daily tasks at work.
That’s when it’s time to get rid of the antivirus installed on your PC and switch to one of the best antivirus software around. Whatever the reason, it’s simple to remove antivirus on Windows, and all you have to do is follow the steps below.
How to remove antivirus on Windows
The best way to remove and uninstall antivirus from your Windows PC is to head into the Control Panel. From there, you can easily uninstall any program.
Uninstall with Control Panel
- On your Windows PC, type in “Control Panel” in the search field located on the Task Bar.
- Click on the Control Panel app.
- A window will pop up. Under Programs, click on Uninstall a program.
- A list of installed programs will show up. Right-click the antivirus you wish to uninstall, or double-click and select “Yes”.
- Follow the steps the antivirus service provides to uninstall the antivirus.
- Restart your device.
Uninstall in Safe Mode
Sometimes, an antivirus won’t be able to uninstall because it is running in Windows. If you’re unable to remove the antivirus, it’s best to uninstall it using Windows Safe Mode. Follow the steps below to use Safe Mode.
- On your Windows PC, type in “Change advanced start-up options” in the search field located on the Task Bar.
- A Settings window will pop up. Under Recovery options, click on Restart now next to Advanced startup.
- In the next window, click Restart now.
- A menu will appear. Click Troubleshoot.
- Select Advanced options, then Startup Settings.
- Click Restart.
- Using the number keys, select Enable Safe Mode.
Use an uninstaller
If an antivirus is still unable to uninstall, the software may be corrupted or missing a file. In this case, you’ll need to download an uninstaller program from the antivirus company to remove all files. These can be found on the antivirus provider’s website. Below is a few notable antivirus companies with uninstallers.
- Avast – Uninstall link
- AVG – Uninstall link
- Bitdefender – Uninstall link
- ESET – Uninstall link
- F-Secure – Uninstall link
- Kaspersky – Uninstall link
- McAfee – Uninstall link
- Norton – Uninstall link
- Sophos – Uninstall link
- Trend Micro – Uninstall link
Why you should use antivirus software
The best antivirus software will detect and remove malicious programs and software affecting your device – including browser hijackers, ransomware, adware, spyware and more. Simply installing an antivirus and performing a system scan should be able to detect the source of the issue and get rid of it. What’s more, you don’t need to pay for all the security tools an antivirus service offers, as free antivirus software from providers such as Bitdefender, Avast One or AVG offers the same detection and removal features.
Still, antivirus software such as Malwarebytes Premium or Norton 360 Platinum offer plenty of fantastic features that will keep you guarded from threats you may not even be aware of. Plus, they even throw in VPNs, password managers and more to make navigating the internet a breeze.
If you’re wondering which antivirus to choose, check out our best antivirus software guide and get yourself protected.
Best antivirus for Windows PC
You can find out the best antivirus software below.
Best overall antivirus
Bitdefender takes the spot as best antivirus, and for good reason. It’s not enough that it boasts near-perfect lab test scores across the board, as it goes the extra mile by giving users access to a plethora of advanced security features.
Bitdefender goes above and beyond in the features department, all while keeping known malware, ransomware, and viruses at bay. It will defend your device against new attacks, provide security for online transactions, keep you safe with a reliable VPN, and protect your accounts with a password manager.
It’s a no-brainer when it comes to defending your devices against virtually any form of cyberattack, and its top-notch protection extends to its most affordable package, too. Protecting your PC and smartphone, from Windows and macOS to iOS and Android, is becoming even more necessary, and Bitdefender is the tricked-out shield you need.
See our full Bitdefender review
Best free antivirus
With Avast One, you can protect your device from viruses, malware and ransomware for free. That’s right, and you don’t have to pay a dime for the extra security features the antivirus throws in, including its VPN, firewall and more.
Avast One will safeguard your device from malware, comes with ransomware protection, blocks harmful websites and downloads from the web, scans your emails for malicious attachments, stops hackers from infiltrating your device through Wi-Fi with a firewall – the list goes on. That’s a lot of tools for software that’s free, and the included VPN and the ability to speed up your PC are a welcome bonus.
It’s the ideal antivirus software for home use, as it takes the hassle out of staying wary of cyber threats lurking around, even if you’re not a tech whizz. What’s more, if you are looking for added precautions, its paid Individual and Family packages still boast great value. Hard to go wrong with this best antivirus.
See our full Avast One review
Best antivirus for families
“Norton” and “antivirus” are synonymous these days, as the well-established cybersecurity brand has successfully fought against malware, viruses and nasty software threats since 1990.
Norton 360 offers excellent antivirus protection and extra features that make for a valuable, all-in-one security product. Its Norton 360 Deluxe and Premium package may cost a pretty penny. Still, with security across multiple platforms, a full-blown VPN, Dark Web Monitoring, Parental Controls and more, it will have a household free of cyber threats.
Norton’s certainty of its antivirus software’s capabilities is clearly defined by the brand’s 100% Virus Protection Promise. If a device protected by Norton 360 can’t get rid of a virus, the user receives their money back. It’s a big claim, but unquestionably, no one should expect to get that refund.
If you have the money for it, you can also check out the premium Norton 360 Platinum package for even more online protection, including from identity theft. Without a doubt one of the best antivirus to get.
See our full Norton 360 review
Another best antivirus for free
You can never go wrong with free antivirus protection, but some deliver even better detection and protection rates, along with extra security features, without costing a dime. This is where AVG antivirus shines.
AVG provides reliable protection and only a small impact on performance for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. It safeguards your devices against malware, viruses and zero-day exploits, along with blocking malicious links and attachments in emails. Throw in phishing protection when surfing the internet and extra security features such as its SafePrice browser extension and Network Inspector, and you’ve got yourself a do-it-all antivirus.
Sure, you can find all of these perks with Avast, but if you like a slick, darker user interface that’s easy to navigate, then AVG is for you.
See our full AVG Antivirus review
Best antivirus for Windows PC
Hundreds of malware emerge every minute, and it’s Malwarebytes’ mission to detect and conquer them all. Does the antivirus do this successfully? Yes, but there’s wiggle room for improvements.
Malwarebytes’ no-nonsense approach to protecting your devices from the onslaught of malware and viruses is effective for those who need a reliable antivirus that will detect and remove malicious software, especially with its free version. However, while its premium service provides 24/7 real-time detection, conveniently blocks vicious ransomware and shields users from malicious websites, it doesn’t go beyond on the feature front.
That’s no bad thing, as sometimes a user only needs a powerful antivirus to keep them safe from cyber threats. But considering its competitors add a few more security tools, such as data breach monitoring and a firewall, there’s room for improvement.
See our full Malwarebytes review