HTD Tech Tip #3: Security Programs Don’t Always Play Well Together


bullies_on_playground It’s always important, if not critical to have anti-virus & security programs installed on your PC. I’m actually a big fan of the various Security Suites that you can get that come with all of the different types of protection packaged together (firewall, anti-virus, ant-spyware, anti-malware, anti-spam, etc.). With the all-in-one package, you don’t have to worry about compatibility. There are still some purists out there who piece together different programs (there are several great free firewall/anti-virus/anti-spyware programs out there), but those people who do opt for their own “security suite” run the risk of incompatibilities.

Every year, the Security Software companies update their protection programs to the next version (it seems like the next year’s version is always out in the 4th Quarter of the year before) and then start discounting these new versions right around the holidays (which I don’t quite get, “Look Honey, instead of that ring you wanted, here is a 3-seat anti-virus program. Who loves you!”). It is good to stay current with your security programs; I recommend upgrading to “next year’s version” when you can. Be sure to check the licensing to see if when you buy a 2-3 year license that it includes all future versions/upgrades as well.

If you decide to change software suppliers (e.g., move from AVG to Kaspersky or Norton to McAfee), you may run into some compatibility issues. Here are some tips to make the change-over process a bit easier:

  • Fully uninstall the old software before attempting to install the new one using software’s uninstaller [OK method]
  • Use a complete uninstaller (like Revo Uninstaller) that first runs the program’s uninstaller and then scours your computer to remove all left over traces of the old software [Better method]
  • Search the old software provider’s site for their own uninstaller [Best method]

I recommend using the last method listed above because then you are guaranteed that the software is fully removed. Here are a couple of links to popular A/V uninstallers:

  • Norton/Symantec – choose your version of Norton to uninstall
  • AVG – look for the “AVG Remover”
  • McAfee – be sure to read through the directions
  • Nod32 – no software that I could find to help uninstall; just follow directions
  • Kaspersky – seems like they want you to just use the uninstall function (but there are removal tools available based on the version you have)
  • ZoneLabs/ZoneAlarm – they recommend you use the uninstall function; go to the KB and search for “uninstall”
  • Avast – read the directions
  • AntiVir – download and run the “Avira AntiVir Removal Tool

Obviously, there are many different AntiVirus and Security Suites out there. Here are some more general tips:

  • Use F8 to boot into safe mode on your computer and try the product’s uninstaller again. Simply hold F8 when your computer starts.
  • Check out the various support forums for each of the products (yes, this is a pain)
  • Look at sites like MajorGeeks or TuCows for 3rd party anti-virus products and uninstallers.
  • Remember, Google is your friend. Just do a search for “[insert program name here] uninstaller”

Good luck! Have you encountered any issues regarding compatibility between Security software programs that you couldn’t resolve? If so, let me know!

HTD Says: When upgrading or changing security programs, just be patient and don’t panic!

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Michael Sheehan (“HighTechDad”) is an avid technologist, writer, journalist, content marketer, blogger, tech influencer, social media pundit, loving husband and father of 3 beautiful girls living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site covers technology, consumer electronics, Parent Tech, SmartHomes, cloud computing, gadgets, software, hardware, parenting “hacks,” and other tips & tricks.

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