Ask the Experts: Can I replace the antivirus software that came on my PC/laptop?
Kevin R. Smith
Sheryl writes in to ask,
OK, so I'm not happy with the anti-virus software that came on my laptop, and it's nagging me all the time to "renew my subscription"--one I didn't even know I had.
"I'd love to get rid of it just because I'm fed up with their nagging me.
"I'm assuming it's possible to replace with a new anti-virus program, but I don't know how.
"Can you help?? Please??
Here's my reply:
Yes, it's possible. It's easy, and I'm glad to help.
STEP 1: PICK THE NEW SOFTWARE
For starters, you'll want to figure out what antivirus software (or Internet security suite) you're going to get to replace what's on there now with.
Doesn't make sense to rip the old one out 'til you know what's going in its place.
My suggestion would be to start with our antivirus software Buyer's Guide. (It's on the right side of every antivirus software review page of our site.)
STEP 2: UNINSTALL THE OLD SOFTWARE
We'll assume you've got the new software chosen, so next we'll get rid of the old software.
The easiest way to get rid of uninstall any (legitimate) program on Windows is to use the "Uninstall a program"1 link within the Windows Control Panel.
[Shown here: Accessing the "Uninstall a Program" link]
[Shown here: Find the program in the list. Click "Uninstall".]
STEP 3: INSTALL THE NEW SOFTWARE
"Duh... of course," some of you might be thinking, but here's the deal: in Step 1, your goal is to figure out what A/V software you're going to use NOT to install it then and there.
First we've got to get rid of your old antivirus software. In the mean time, we want the PC to go without security software for as little time as possible.
Since figuring out what antivirus program is best for your needs takes more than a few seconds, you don't want to uninstall the old 'til you know what the new program is going to be.
1If you're using a versions of Windows prior to Vista, you'll find it in the "Add/Remove Programs" button in the Control Panel.
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