Avast Antivirus is a suite of internet security applications, some of which are free and some of which are paid, proprietary versions. Avast was the most popular antivirus software on the market but some issues have led a number of users to opt to learn how to delete Avast from their machines. In this article, you will learn why people want to know how to delete Avast and also what you need to do before you do so.
Avast is one of the top-rated antivirus programs on the market and consistently scores highly in a variety of testing applications. If you plan to remove Avast from your computer, make sure you have a replacement antivirus protection software in mind to use or your machine could be vulnerable.
Why People Want to Know How to Delete Avast
Avast offers a number of features, including:
- Antivirus software
- Anti-spyware software
- Scanning services
- Removal products
- Automatic updates
- Secure shopping and banking
- Spam blockers
- Hacker blockers
- Phishing blockers
Avast’s comprehensive series of offerings, many of which are tested out as free offers that come in the automatic updates, are usually the reason people decide to learn how to delete Avast. When issues arise with the free upgrades and updates, it can be difficult to find out where they came from or remove them from your machine if you did not know they were installed in the first place.
Probably the highest-profile issue Avast experienced recently was its 2016 exposure by a Google researcher who found an issue with some new (at the time) sandboxing software that was part of Avast SafeZone. The SafeZone was part of a suite of offerings that protected online banking and shopping information. Unfortunately, it had a huge loophole that could have been catastrophic if the software engineer at Google had not discovered it.
Although Avast quickly remedied the problem and
no one was hacked, the loophole still created a problem for Avast. Users did not like that the SafeZone software was installed without some sort of notification. It was part of an automatic update, which technically means Avast did have permission; but it still rubbed many people the wrong way and they decided to learn how to delete Avast at that time.
Occasionally, a user will find that when they upgrade their Avast programs from free to a paid or business-level service, they are told to uninstall the program before they can install the upgrade. In this case, a user must learn how to delete Avast from their machine even though they will then install an upgraded version immediately thereafter.
If you are getting ready to delete Avast, make sure you have completed the following first:
- Backed up any important data on your machine
- Determined what type of computer you are using
- Identified the operating system you are using
- Determined the location of your Avast files currently
Having this information on hand before you delete the Avast software will make the process go more smoothly. Especially if you find you must delete Avast using Avast’s own removal software, you may need to perform the process in “safe mode” on your computer. That could make it difficult for you to accomplish these preparatory items while you are attempting to use the uninstall program.
Method 1: How to Delete Avast Using Add/Remove Programs
If you need to know how to delete Avast without using the company’s uninstall software program, then try this method first. It does not always work, but if you do not want to download additional Avast software, it could be a good idea to try.
Step 1: Open The Control Panel
On your computer, open the control panel. You can do this by searching in the start menu for the words “control panel” or by opening any folder and then browsing the left-hand side to find the folder labeled “Control Panel.” Usually it will be a desktop app or you will find it in the drive with your apps and program files. Once you open the control panel, you will see an option labeled either:
- Uninstall a Program
- Add or Remove a Program
Select whichever option is visible and continue.
Step 2: Select the Avast Programs You Want to Delete
Once you click the “remove a program” option, a list of programs on your computer will appear. Select the Avast file or files you wish to uninstall. When you learn how to delete Avast, you are essentially learning how to uninstall the program.
If you are upgrading your Avast software from free to a business suite, for example, then you will look for the program labeled “avast! Free Antivirus” and click it. On some machines, you may need to right-click, while others will offer you options once you have double-clicked it or with a single left-click.
Step 3: Uninstall the Avast Program
Once you select the program, you will receive a series of prompts about how to delete Avast from that point. On some machines, you will be asked if you want to uninstall the software. On others, you may need to select “Remove” or “Change/Remove” after right-clicking. If you select the “Change/Remove” option, you will then need to follow whatever prompts follow so that you actually remove the software.
Step 4: Follow Any Additional Prompts
In most cases, once you complete Step 3 you can conclusively say you know how to delete Avast. However, in some cases, you may have to follow additional prompts, such as confirming you want to delete the program or restarting your computer, before the uninstall is complete.
Method 2: How to Delete Avast Using Avastclear Software
Often, Avast users report that their attempts to delete Avast using their machines’ removal systems fail. Because Avast is difficult to uninstall even if you are only removing it so you can upgrade to a “pro” level, Avast offers its own custom software for those seeking to learn how to delete Avast.
To use Avast’s removal software, you will first need to download it. You can download it on the Avast website. Avast calls the program an “uninstallation utility” and has named it avastclear.
Step 1: Download the Uninstallation Utility onto Your Desktop
To download the utility, simply search for “avastclear” and then go the Avast website in order to get the download. The full name of the download is avastclear.exe. To download it, simply click the download link on the Avast website, follow the prompts, and wait for the utility to appear on your desktop.
Step 2: Start Windows in Safe Mode
Avast recommends you start Windows in “safe mode” before performing the uninstall on your Avast software. Safe mode is the best mode to use when you are removing any software, although it was designed to assist with removing rogue security software. This is essentially what your Avast program has become if you cannot remove it on your own.
The best way to make sure your computer is in safe mode is to shut down and save everything, then search “safe mode” in your startup menu and restart the computer so that it reopens in this setting. You can also access safe mode by:
- Pressing F8 as the operating system boots for Microsoft Windows
- Setting your Unix system to single-user mode so that X Window System is inoperative
- Holding down the shift key after powering up in Mac operating systems
Step 3: Open the Avastclear Uninstall Utility
Even though you are now in safe mode, the avastclear.exe program should still be visible on your desktop. Double-click the program to open it and follow the prompts, which will lead you to finding your Avast program files.
Step 4: Remove the Avast Files
Once you have found the Avast program files, select “remove” or simply click on them, depending on how the avastclear.exe program runs on your machine. When you do so, the Avast software should be permanently removed from your system.
Step 5: Restart Your Computer
As with most removals, deletions, and uninstallations, you will need to restart your computer after you have removed your Avast software. If you can no longer find that software once you reboot, then you have learned how to delete Avast and successfully done so. If you still can see the software, then retry the avastclear.exe process and, if that is futile, then contact Avast for assistance.
Do Not Forget to Back Up Your Files
If you wanted to learn how to delete Avast because you were experiencing issues with your computer already, then you should back up your files on another machine or in the cloud before you start deleting programs.
In some cases, users report that their own errors actually resulted in the loss of valuable data, documents, and images because they deleted the wrong things when they were trying to remove Avast.
While sometimes these items may be recovered, in many cases
they are lost forever. Make sure you back up your data before uninstalling this type of program.