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McAfee was one of the most popular antivirus products back in the day. However, things are vastly different in the PC landscape today as McAfee is seen as more of an optional software rather than an essential app.

Unfortunately, many laptop manufacturers continue to ship their devices with the antivirus pre-installed. If you want to free up system resources by uninstalling McAfee but don’t know where to start, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, you’ll find all possible ways to get rid of McAfee on your Windows 11 PC.

How to remove McAfee using MCPR.exe

You can use the official MCPR tool to uninstall McAfee if you don't want to mess with Windows Terminal or Control Panel. This free software can be downloaded from McAfee’s official website and can remove McAfee in a few minutes.

  1. Download MCPR from the official link.
  2. Run MCPR.exe with administrator privileges and wait for it to finish extracting the files.
  3. Press Next, choose the Agree checkbox under the End User License Agreement and click on the Next button again.
    A screenshot of MCPR.exe.
  4. Enter the CAPTCHA and select Next.
  5. Click on Restart after MCPR finishes uninstalling McAfee.
    Click on the Restart button to finish uninstalling McAfee.

How to remove McAfee using Windows Settings

If you don’t want to download another tool just to uninstall McAfee, you can use the Apps tab in Windows Settings to get rid of the antivirus software.

  1. Right-click on the Start menu and choose Settings.
  2. Navigate to the Apps tab and click on Installed apps.
    Click on Installed Apps under the Apps tab.
  3. Scroll down until you spot McAfee® Total Protection and click on the three dots next to it.
    A screenshot depicting the steps to uninstall McAfee via Settings.
  4. Choose Uninstall twice and grant administrator privileges when prompted by Windows.
  5. Toggle both the McAfee® Total Protection option and the checkbox underneath it, and click on the Remove button twice.
    A screenshot depicting all the checkboxes you need to enable when uninstalling McAfee.

You’ll also want to uninstall McAfee’s WebAdvisor if you want to completely remove the software from your system.

  1. Scroll to the bottom of the apps list and locate WebAdvisor by McAfee.
  2. Click on the three dots next to it, press the Uninstall button twice, and grant administrator access to the uninstaller.
    Click on the three dots adjacent to WebAdvisor by McAfee and choose Uninstall.
  3. Choose the No thanks, just uninstall it option to remove WebAdvisor.
    A screenshot depicting the procedure to uninstall WebAdvisor by McAfee.
  4. Reboot your system.

How to remove McAfee using Control Panel

You can also use the Control Panel to remove McAfee. The latter half of the uninstallation procedure is similar to what we did in the Windows Settings method.

  1. Type Control Panel into the Search Bar and click on the Control Panel suggestion.
  2. Click on the Uninstall a program option under the Programs tab.
    Choose the Uninstall a program option in Control Panel.
  3. Right-click on McAfee® Total Protection, select Uninstall/Change, and grant admin privileges when prompted.
  4. Ensure the McAfee® Total Protection option and the checkbox under it are enabled and press Remove.
  5. Follow the same procedure as Step 3 to open the uninstaller for WebAdvisor.
  6. Press No thanks, just uninstall it.
  7. As always, restart your PC after uninstalling the McAfee apps.

How to remove McAfee using Terminal commands

Windows Terminal provides a set of commands that you can use to uninstall any program, including McAfee.

  1. Right-click on the Start button and choose Terminal (Admin).
  2. Choose Yes when Windows asks for admin privileges.
  3. Paste the following command and press the Enter key.
    Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_Product | Select-Object -Property Name
    A screenshot illustrating the procedure to uninstall McAfee via Windows Terminal.
  4. Scroll down until you spot a service associated with McAfee on the list. Paste the following code into Windows Terminal and replace app_name with the name of the McAfee service that you wish to uninstall.
    $app = Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_Product `-Filter "Name="app_name""
  5. Reboot your system.

How to remove leftover McAfee files and services in Windows 11

McAfee, like many other third-party apps, can leave some files and processes on your system even after you uninstall it. So, you'll have to use the Windows Terminal to disable and remove the remaining services.

  1. Open Windows Terminal.
  2. Click on the drop-down menu next to the New Tab button and choose Command Prompt.
    A screenshot depicting the procedure to switch to Command Prompt in Windows Terminal.
  3. Minimize Command Prompt, right-click on the Start button and choose Run.
  4. Type services.msc and press Enter.
  5. Scroll down until you spot the McAfee services.
  6. Right-click on one of them and choose Properties.
    A screenshot depicting the leftover McAfee services.
  7. Copy the name of the service.
    Copy the name of the McAfee service.
  8. Go back to Command Prompt, and press Enter after typing the following code:
    sc delete mfefire
  9. Repeat steps 5, 6, and 7 for the rest of the McAfee processes. Be sure to replace mfefire with the name of the services.

In some cases, Windows Terminal may show the "Access is denied" error message. This means you’ll have to remove the services via the Registry Editor. To do so:

  1. Type regedit into Windows Search and click on the Registry Editor suggestion.
  2. Paste the following address into the Search Bar and locate the McAfee service that you wish to uninstall.
  3. Right-click on the service folder and select the Delete option.
    A screenshot depicting the registry keys of leftover McAfee services.
  4. Agree to delete the key when asked for confirmation.
  5. Repeat the process for all the services you were unable to remove via the Command Prompt method.

Be sure to double-check whether the folder you're deleting is associated with a McAfee service as accidentally deleting the incorrect key can break your operating system.

Finally, it's time to delete the remaining McAfee folders. To do so:

  1. Open File Explorer and paste the following address in the search bar.
    C:\Program Files
    Be sure to replace C:\ with the name of your boot drive.
  2. Delete all the folders associated with McAfee.
    A screenshot depicting the steps to remove the leftover McAfee folders.
  3. Repeat the procedure for the following folders:
    • C:\Program Files\Common Files
    • C:\Program Files (x86)
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files
    • C:\ProgramData
    • C:\Users\user_name\AppData\Local
    • C:\Users\user_name\AppData\Roaming
      For the last two addresses, be sure to replace user_name with the name of the user profile on your boot drive.
  4. Head to the Documents folder and delete the McAfee Vaults folder.

How to enable Windows Defender after uninstalling McAfee

If you haven't noticed already, only one antivirus can be enabled on your Windows 11 machine at a time. So, once you uninstall McAfee, you'd want to enable another antivirus to protect your system from malware. The Windows Defender antivirus that's built into the Windows Security application is adequate for most users, and these are the steps you can take to re-enable it.

  1. Type security into the Windows Search Bar and choose the Windows Security app suggestion.
  2. Click on the Turn on button under the Virus and Threat Protection tab to re-enable Windows Defender.
    A screenshot depicting the steps to enable Windows Defender.

Is it safe to remove McAfee from your system?

Hopefully, this guide helped you get rid of McAfee and all its associated files and services. If you're concerned about your system's security after removing McAfee, then don't worry! Windows Defender has come a long way since its early days and is a fantastic antivirus that can safeguard your system from malware.

Users who still don't want to leave their PC vulnerable to viruses, keyloggers, spyware, and other malicious software can look into MalwareBytes. It's a great antivirus that can detect and remove most security threats from your system. Another tool worth highlighting is the VirusTotal website, which allows you to analyze files and URLs for malware by running them through more than 70 antivirus scanners.