Question from Jimmy S.: A few months ago I bought a new laptop that came with McAfee Antivirus pre-installed on it.
I thought it was the real McAfee program but apparently it was just a trial version because this morning I got a notice saying the trial subscription had expired.
I tried to uninstall it so I could install the free Avast but I can’t get it to uninstall. It gives me an error every time I try to remove it.
My question is would it be safe for me to keep using the McAfee program that’s installed on my laptop even though it’s expired. I checked and it’s still running.
Rick’s answer: I hate being the bearer of bad news Jimmy, but I’m afraid the answer to your question is no. It wouldn’t be safe at all to keep using any antivirus product after its subscription has expired.
While an expired antivirus is slightly safer than not using any antivirus program at all, it isn’t anywhere near as safe as using an antivirus with an active subscription.
The reason I say that is because expired antivirus products are no longer eligible to receive virus definition updates that would protect you from newly discovered threats.
And McAfee is no different. Here is a direct quote from this Customer Support page on the McAfee website:
“McAfee products with expired subscriptions still work but do not receive updates, and so can’t protect you from new threats.
When your subscription expires, you can no longer download new updates and virus definition files. You can still use the product, but you are not protected from threats newer than the last update before it expired.”
In other words, while your currently installed McAfee program will still protect your PC against viruses that were known at the time of the last update, it cannot and will not protect it from all the new viruses that will be coming its way in the future.
And trust me, there will be plenty of them because the miscreants that create and distribute viruses over the Internet never seem to take a break.
But that being said, I also have some good news for you…
You can easily force the removal of your current McAfee Antivirus installation using the powerful McAfee Consumer Product Removal Tool.
Simply click the above link to access the tool and then follow the instructions provided. After just a few clicks McAfee will be removed from your PC and you’ll be able to install a new antivirus product of your choice.
I hope this helps, Jimmy. Good luck!
Update from Jimmy: Thanks Rick. The removal tool got rid of McAfee and my laptop is now running Avast. I really appreciate your help.
Bonus tip: McAfee isn’t the only antivirus program that has it’s own dedicated removal tool. This post lists several others that have them as well.
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