As someone else suggested, you can boot into Safe Mode in order to resolve this. I tried multiple options, from using
taskkill /f to downloading the MCPR software to trying to change the file permissions, but all were to no avail. However, instead of renaming files, I found it easier to just delete all (or many) of McAfee's core files so that their services can not start up when you reboot your computer.
I had WSL installed on my PC, so I navigated to my C: drive (
cd /mnt/c) and then executed
find ./ | grep -i mcafee. This process will likely take a bit of time, but it should reveal the location of all of the McAfee-named files on your C: drive. If you installed McAfee on your other drives, they should be accessible within the
/mnt/ directory within WSL. I'm sure there's a way to do it natively in PS/cmd, but I couldn't be bothered.
All steps occurred on Windows 10 Pro Build 19041.
- Before you start, backup your storage drive(s) as well as any BitLocker keys you have.
Boot into Safe Mode
- Go into
Settings > Update & Security > Recovery
Advanced startup, click on
- You will be asked to enter in your BitLocker key at this time if you have BL-encrypted drives.
- In the
Choose an option screen, click on
Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt
- I believe your PC should restart after you choose this option--during the startup screen, press F4 or F5 for Safe Mode (or Safe Mode w/ Networking, respectively--you probably won't need networking for the next steps)
- You will probably be booted into
X:\Windows\System32. Navigate to your C: drive (
cd /, then
C: should do the trick).
- I found McAfee files in
C:\Program Files\Common Files\AV,
C:\Program Files\Common Files\McAfee,
C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\McAfee, and
C:\Program Files (x86)\McAfee. (edit: also
C:\ProgramData\McAfee, as well as various other McAfee-labelled files from my PC vendor) There may very well be more, but deleting the files in these directories was enough for me to prevent any McAfee services or executables from running after I booted up.
cd into the McAfee-labelled directories, then run
del /s /q *. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU ARE IN THE CORRECT DIRECTORY WHEN YOU RUN THE
del COMMAND AS THIS COMMAND DELETES ALL OF THE FILES IN THE CURRENT DIRECTORY AND ANY SUBDIRECTORIES.
- Note: you can probably run
rmdir /s /q and it will automatically remove the subfolders as well. I learned about this command after the fact, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- After you run
del, it will list out all of the files that it deleted, but will leave the actual folders themselves where they are. You can delete them from within
cmd or just delete them from Windows Explorer once you restart the computer.
exit to leave the command prompt and reboot into Windows.
That's it! You can open Task Manager and
services.msc to double-check that no McAfee executables or services are running. I haven't figured out how to remove the services themselves, but they aren't running and that's good enough for me.