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It is well known that it is pretty hard to remove McAfee from a computer once it has been installed.
Unfortunately my new Windows 10 PC came with a test version of McAfee installed.

I uninstalled it with Revo Uninstaller, which should be more thorough than the Windows uninstaller as far as orphaned files and registry entries are concerned. So I thought every trace was gone.

But this morning after my PC booted I got this message:

enter image description here

I used Everything to find remaining files, and indeed there were some, esp. the following .exe files:

McAfeeSecurityStartup.exe
McAfeeSecurityFT.exe

Trying to delete them doesn't work.

Also, the Registry still contains myriad McAfee, which I started to delete (after making a backup). I gave up after I found that several keys wouldn't let them be removed. I tried this running Windows in Safe Mode as well, but I still couldn't remove files or Registry entries.

One possible explanation could be that there is still a McAfee service running, but I couldn't find it.

Next thing I tried: The McAfee Removal Tool. Files are still there.

So I've run out of ideas. How can you remove all traces of McAfee from your computer?

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  • "I uninstalled it with Revo Uninstaller, which should be more thorough than the Windows uninstaller as far as orphaned files and registry entries are concerned." - This is a common misconception perpetrated by the snake oil company behind "Revo Uninstaller", it does exactly what Add/Remove programs does, except in a prettier UI – Ramhound Aug 4 '17 at 11:07
  • The best way to remove the McAfee UWP application is to reinstall it then remove it yourself like any other UWP application. If this is a new installation, you could also just use the Refresh feature, but it sounds like besides the broken UWP application, McAfee is actually already uninstalled – Ramhound Aug 4 '17 at 11:09
  • @Ramhound: I must differ on Revo, since it does do much more than Add/Remove, and in any case it runs first the product's uninstall. – harrymc Aug 4 '17 at 11:16
  • @Ramhound Like harrymc says: Revo runs the program's own uninstaller, and then cleans up after it. – Joris Groosman Aug 4 '17 at 11:17
  • @harrymc Except that's what the "uninstall" button within Add/Remove Programs does. I have had experience trying to remove a broken application, I attempted to use both Revo and Uninstall, the end result was the same process. The uninstaller would run, fail, in both cases – Ramhound Aug 4 '17 at 11:22
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To eradicate all startup entries belonging to McAfee, use the free autoruns.

Go on the Everything tab, then use the menu Entry/Find with the string "McAfee". You may delete (carefully) any entry that it finds, then reboot to verify.

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  • This would indeed find the registry Startup entry that is attempting to start a removed UWP application – Ramhound Aug 4 '17 at 11:22

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