Getting a new anti-virus programme? Don’t forget to uninstall the old one.


In our hi-tech world, change comes at a frightening pace. Just look at your new smartphone – by the time you’ve got it home, out of the box, and have learned how to use all the new apps, the chances are that someone has produced something new which renders yours obsolete. The same is true of antivirus programmes. Only this time they are not only competing against other competitors but also the viruses themselves.



Big business


Cybercrime has become one of the biggest industries in the world. Indeed, experts predict that by 2019 the global market could reach $2 trillion. The days when you only needed to worry about a few hackers in their parents’ attic are long gone. Today they are high tech businesses developing new and innovative pieces of software. And their target is you.


In other words, your antivirus has to be nimble and keep getting better if it is to provide adequate protection about everything which may be coming your way. It’s a tit for tat battle. On the one hand the cybercriminal will come up with a new virus. Cleaner developers will come back with a new update to combat it and the criminals will start thinking of new ways around it.


This has always been part and parcel of the business. When you buy a year-long license this will come with updates which can be installed automatically to keep your defences fighting fit. Even so, the time may come when you want to move onto either a new provider or another product from the same company. Perhaps your needs have changed, perhaps you have a bigger budget and would appreciate added piece of mind. Either way, you should uninstall your old software before you introduce its replacement.


There can be only one!


The trouble is, antivirus programs don’t work well together. Even if a program is dormant it still sits at the back of your computer, watching programmes, scanning files and doing its job. Unfortunately, this can often work against an existing virus scan harming performance and causing your computer all sorts of problems.


Before you uninstall, though, give it one last scan to make sure all is well. Then close all web browsers and your email clients to avoid any cross infection during the uninstall process.


Most programmes will come with their own uninstall function. Simply go to the Control Panel on your computer, select ‘add/remove programmes’ and select your old antivirus. If you right-click, it should come up with the option to uninstall the file. It may ask you if you want it to delete the quarantined or backed up files. Select ‘yes’ as the new software will find these when it starts up.


The uninstall process should only take a few minutes, but in some cases the old program may not be completely removed. Sometimes it leaves behind remnant such as configuration files. These will probably not do any harm, but it’s better to be save and sorry. Start with as clean a slate as possible by selecting and removing these files. You should find them under the company name. For example – Symantec.


Once your old piece of software has been fully removed, you can start to install its replacement. Follow the prompts and wait as it uploads to your computer. Once the installation is completed run an initial scan to make certain everything is in full working order. You may need to update the definition files if it doesn’t do this automatically.


Ready, set, go


If you’ve fully uninstalled your old antivirus software your new program should work without too much trouble at all. However, if you’re still not certain, check with the company’s customer support hotline.


Most antiviruses will work well in the background, but when trouble does strike it’s often because it’s conflicting with another program which is still on your computer. As with anything else, the performance you get from a system often depends on the way in which you approach it in the first place. Take the right steps, and have a clean uninstall and you should be fine.