McAfee Security Center help

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McAfee Security Center help

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I bought a Dell Inspiron 1545 for my daughter a little over a year ago. At the time I bought it, I also subscribed to the McAfee Security Center offer that came up when I turned on the computer. When the subscription to McAfee Security Center expired a couple of months ago, I decided to purchase the McAfee AntiVirus Plus from a local retailer and installed that. Every now and then, I would notice that the McAfee AntiVirus Plus would be uninstalled and the McAfee Security Center reinstalled. The McAfee Security Center software would then prompt me if I would like to renew the license. I called McAfee Tech Support. After some time trying to diagnose the problem, the McAfee Tech Support engineer told me that the system is restoring to manufacturer settings. My question is, how do I turn this off? How do I stop the McAfee Security Center software from reinstalling?

Thanks,

Rick

All Replies
  • Hi Rick,

    What steps did McAfee Tech Support take to try and resolve your problem?

    Also, can you open McAfee, click subscription > subscription details, and tell me what it says under Status and Days Left?

    Regards,

  • Hi,

    The McAfee Tech Support looked into my computer to make sure that there were no other versions of McAfee installed. They did not find any other than the McAfee AntiVirus Plus that I had installed from a CD I had purchased a couple of months ago. As I mentioned in my original post, I have found myself having to reinstall my new McAfee AntiVirus Plus because the McAfee Security Center one would time-and-again remove it and reinstall itself.

    With regard to the subscription information on the "problematic" McAfee Security Center software, it expired on 1/22/2012.

    Thanks,

    Rick

  • Ok.

    I don't think your system is restoring itself to manufacturer settings. Otherwise you would notice more changes than just  what's happening with McAfee. You would also be losing all your personal files and settings, as well as having to recreate your Windows user account(s) again every time it happens.

    Most likely a problem occurred from installing your new McAfee over the one previously installed, and/or a subscription issue.

    .

    When you first installed the McAfee software you recently purchased, did you activate or register it to your online McAfee account?

    Open McAfee, click subscription > subscription details > view my account.

    Log in to your account.

    Do you have any products registered there, and what is the expiration date?

    Regards,

  • Important note for everyone.   Due to the plethora of problems caused by McAfee's security programs, I recommend you DUMP McAfee.

    You MUST run McAfee's removal tool after uninstalling any McAfee program.  Even when you are going to install a different McAfee product.  McAfee interferes with many programs and causes problems even if it is installed properly.   The problem is that McAfee has so many linkages in the registry with parts and pieces of the program scattered in many different locations.  If you don't know where they all are and pieces of the program are left, those pieces cause problems with a clean installation and smooth use of McAfee security program(s).

    I have found the following method to be the best to get rid on all remnants of McAfee. 

    1) Download and install REVO Uninstaller here:  http://www.softpedia.com/get/Tweak/Uninstallers/Revo-Uninstaller.shtml .  REVO does a much more thorough job of uninstalling programs than the Windows Add/Remove Programs does.  It cleans more of a program's pieces from the registry.

    2) Download & Save to your Desktop McAfee's Consumer Removal Tool (MCPR.EXE) here:  http://service.mcafee.com/FAQDocument.aspx?lc=1033&id=TS101331

    3) Run REVO Uninstaller to uninstall McAfee.  Reboot on completion.

    4) Run a good safe registry cleaner such as CCleaner.  Reboot.

    5) Run the McAfee Consumer Products Removal Tool (MCPR.exe).  Reboot.  All the Reboots help to clean up any leftovers.

    6) Install the new AntiVirus program.

    I find one of the best to be the FREE Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) loated here:   http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/security-essentials   Unlike McAfee, it is very fast.  I used McAfee for years until recently and it could take over 8 hours to complete a scan.  MSE does not interfere with other programs.  It speeds up boot time significantly compared to McAfee.  Renewals are free also.  There are one or two other Free antivirus programs available that are also BETTER than McAfee.  IMSE is easy to use and is not only antivirus, but antimalware including all kinds of bots, worms, trojans, spyware, and other unwanted software.

    Tacoslammer - eating too many tacos too fast: - slammin'  'em down Ick!  

    Signature now approved by Dell  Big Smile

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  • Thank you for your opinion, tacoslammer.  I'm glad that your MSE is working well for you. There are many opinions on what might be the "best" security software. There is no one anti-virus/anti-spyware/anti-malware program that finds everything. Many of the volunteers at Dell Community use a layered approach. The regular members here are quite happy with McAfee, Eset, or other security that seems to be working well for them.

    While I use CCleaner for cleaning temps and such, I do not agree with your #4 suggestion. So called "registry cleaners" and registry cleaning components of general utilities can aggravate a situation and take steps we are many times not manually aware of.

     It is better not to resort to such programs if you don't know what is happening with the proposed fix and the registry.
    Otherwise, a change to the registry can make a system unbootable by one mistake.

    Here are some good discussions:

    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Are-registry-cleaners-necessary
    http://aumha.net/viewtopic.php?t=28099
    http://cwsandiego.com/2010/11/16/registry-cleaners-proceed-with-caution/
    http://blogs.technet.com/b/markrussinovich/archive/2005/10/02/registry-junk-a-windows-fact-of-life.aspx
    http://www.whatthetech.com/2007/11/25/do-i-need-a-registry-cleaner/
    http://billpstudios.blogspot.com/2007/04/do-i-need-registry-cleaner.html


    If you absolutely must use a registry cleaner, always backup the registry first:
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Back-up-the-registry

     


     

    Microsoft MVP - Consumer Security
    Social Media and Community Professional
    SpywareHammer

    I am not a Microsoft or a Dell employee. I am a volunteer.

     

  • tacoslammer:

    I don't think it's good advice to recommend users "dump" McAfee at all. Especially when based on unsubstantiated claims of a "plethora of problems". If users are presented with documented evidence of widespread problems with a particular AV or vendor (McAfee or otherwise), then certainly that would be foolish to ignore. But to change one's AV, if it is working well and doing its job, doesn't sound like a wise move to me.

    I understand you may have had problems in the past with McAfee, as have possibly many others, but if you take a look at any AV's out there, I'm quite sure you'll find just as many of their users, with just as many problems. McAfee is far from bottom rung, with thousands of happy users worldwide.



    tacoslammer

    You MUST run McAfee's removal tool after uninstalling any McAfee program.  Even when you are going to install a different McAfee product.



    True, but also very true for the majority of other AV's out there.


    tacoslammer

    McAfee interferes with many programs and causes problems even if it is installed properly.



    Not sayng this isn't possible, happens from time to time, but as above, this can also be said for the majority of other AV's out there.


    tacoslammer

    The problem is that McAfee has so many linkages in the registry with parts and pieces of the program scattered in many different locations.  If you don't know where they all are and pieces of the program are left, those pieces cause problems with a clean installation and smooth use of McAfee security program(s).



    Again, same as any other AV. That's why most vendors provide specific removal instructions, often employing a specialized removal tool.


    RE: Your removal instructions.

    While some may like and use Revo, I would highly recommend not using it to uninstall security software. Revo works by using the softwares own uninstaller, followed by a scan for registry and file leftovers. While this may seem good, there is a chance Revo may delete certain registry keys that are needed to complete the uninstall process during reboot.

    http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=1490554&postcount=47

    http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=1490589&postcount=48


    Also, Revo's follow-up registry clean, like any reg cleaner, can and does make mistakes. I strongly advise avoiding using Reg cleaners in general. Good rule of thumb for registry keys - Better to have 10 too many, than 1 too less.

    http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic121827.html/page__p__1571219#entry1571219


    My Advice: Always follow the vendors removal instructions when it comes to security software.


    Finally:

    Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is indeed a good choice for AV/AM. Many of the regulars here use and recommend it, but it is not a full replacement for McAfee. The McAfee software most would use is the full blown suite, which includes Antivirus, Antimalware, Firewall, Antispam, Anti-Phishing, Parental Controls etc. So while MSE is good, it would be best to use it as part of a layered security setup, and not alone.

    Regards,

  • That is excellent advice, RD! Yes

    Thank you for sharing!


     

    Microsoft MVP - Consumer Security
    Social Media and Community Professional
    SpywareHammer

    I am not a Microsoft or a Dell employee. I am a volunteer.

     

  • I would like to offer my support for the comments made here by both Bugbatter and RedDawn... as well as to commend them for the ongoing quality of their work throughout these forums.

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  • I'm glad we have a V&S regular here to answer all the McAfee questions. Nice post RD!

    Another point worth making, is that a few years back we started seeing a fair number of posts on this forum about problems with McAfee in relation to other AVs. One might conclude that McAfee was more problematic than other AVs.

    It wasn't until I purchased my latest Dell last year that I realised that Dell pre-installs only McAfee security suites on all its models (at least on all I was considering), with no option to decline it. A quick look at a few models currently offered confirms this is still apparently the practice.

    So it is no surprise that we see mainly problems with McAfee posted here, mostly from new users. After all, who wants to uninstall a program they have already paid for? And I suspect most users prefer the convenience of an "all-in-one" security suite.

    I've used AVs from at least 7 vendors over the years, and can't recall one where I didn't have to search the product's help forum to solve problems or answer questions I had.

    _________________________________________

    Dell Forum Member since 2,000

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  • I ran McAfee for a couple of years without any problems and as Joe said you will see more complains about McAfee here in the forums is because DeLL offers McAfee preinstalled in its machines and you are not going to waste 15 or 24 months of a program that you paid for.

    I also agree with RD. Not a good idea to use Revo to uninstall any security program. Just a fact. When uninstalling the program, it will ask for a reboot which it has to be ignored for Revo to continue to look for the registry leftovers. So making the complete uninstall reboot procedure short handed. Moreover when Revo has deleted those registry keys in charge of the uninstall procedure.

    Good place to find original uninstall utilities for security programs and instructions:

     http://singularlabs.com/uninstallers/security-software/

    Hernan.

    Dim9200/XPS 410.C2D 2.40GHz.2GB RAM.XP Pro_86 SPk3.IE8 & FF29

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  • Well I did not think I would cause such a firestorm.  No doubt you are all more expert on antivirus programs than I am. 

    I should point out that I did indicate it was necessary to run McAfee's removal tool, contrary to RD's implication. 

    Regarding McAfee's interfeering with many programs and causes problems even when installed properly.  That is true.  It happens more than RD's "from time to time" and more often than is reported.  One just runs the McAfee auto-technician program that fixes the problem and it contiinues work.  Even McAfee's own information lists a plethora of programs that conflict with McAfee.  Consequently, I think McAfee is still more problematic than other antivirus programs.

    I had been using McAfee for over 6 years with periodic problems requiring use of McAfee Virtual Technician to fix the problem.  Sometimes McAfee had to be completely reinstalled.  In March 2010 McAfee pushed out a bad DAT file #5859.  This caused my system to crash and unable to reboot.  It too about three months to finally resolve,  The disk McAfee sent out world wide to fix the problem did not fix mine.  Their tech service was finally able to help resolve the issue by having me install Ubuntu Linux to get files from my hard disk transferred to another one and then reinstalling Windows.   We had a very difficult time doing the reinstallation and had to use Ubuntu to format the HDD so Windows could be installed from disc.  Then the problem of getting all the files and drivers for WinXP SP3 - the Dell installion disc did not include SP3.  It was June before my PC was back to operational.  McAfee provided a two year extention to their program expiration.  I installed MSE earlier this year before the final expiration due to contunued problems with McAfee.  The McAfee techs informed me they have many problems with McAfee interfeering with other programs even beyond their reported problem program list.  A bad dat file could happen with any antivirus program, but not to this extent.  Every Dat file pushed out should be tested and put through the worst situations before release.

    Now with REVO Uninstaller, I should have mentioned to only use the Medium removal choice as I do.  Even if registry items needed to complete the uninstall process are removed, that is why it is necessary to run McAfee's removal tool afterwards to remove any remanants and follow up with CCleaner.  The point of a register cleaner here is that remanants are still left after using McAfee's removal tool.  If not a canned registry cleaner, then use Regedit and search for McAfee to find the last of the hooks.  For those not comfortable with Regedit is the reason for CCleaner.  CCleaner is probably the safest registry cleaner plus other handy features.

    Now contrary to some implications, Microsoft Security Essentials provides complete antimalware protection (viruses, spyware, worms, trojans, rookkits, and more) per Microsoft.  I use a layered approach as some have mentioned; i.e.use other non-realtime programs for antimalware, sypbots, adware, etc. 

    Tacoslammer - eating too many tacos too fast: - slammin'  'em down Ick!  

    Signature now approved by Dell  Big Smile

    If you can read this, thank a teacher. 
    If you can read this in English, thank a Veteran
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  • tacoslammer:

    My previous post may have come across as a little confrontational, which was unintended. I was merely offering my opinion on some of the comments you made, no offense was meant.

    tacoslammer

    I should point out that I did indicate it was necessary to run McAfee's removal tool, contrary to RD's implication.

    I never implied otherwise, in fact I agreed with that point, and even stated that I believe one should always follow the vendors removal instructions when it comes to security software, which in McAfee's case would be to run their removal tool.

    tacoslammer

    Regarding McAfee's interfeering with many programs and causes problems even when installed properly.  That is true.  It happens more than RD's "from time to time" and more often than is reported.  One just runs the McAfee auto-technician program that fixes the problem and it continues work.  Even McAfee's own information lists a plethora of programs that conflict with McAfee.  Consequently, I think McAfee is still more problematic than other antivirus programs.

    I may just  have been lucky, but in 5 years of using McAfee I've had very little trouble with it. This is one of the reasons I continue to use it, even after testing various other alternatives. I'm not saying McAfee doesn't have its fair share of problems, but I don't think it deserves the horrible reputation some give it. With regards to the list of programs you mention that can conflict with McAfee, nearly every AV vendor has a similar and just as extensive list. These lists mainly consist of other security software, so you can understand why conflicts might arise. Here's Kaspersky's and Trend Micro's for example.

    --------------------------------------------

    I remember that bad update you mentioned above, the one that left some McAfee users with unbootable systems. AVG users also suffered a similar experience back in 2008, I believe.Thankfully these system breaking False-Positives are quite rare, but they do happen, and not just to McAfee. With an estimated 55,000 to 75,000 new malware samples appearing every day, vendors are under extreme pressure to keep up, so mistakes are not uncommon. Though a FP that leaves one's system unbootable, is for many, unforgivable and reason enough to move on.

    My only advice to protect yourself from such a disaster happening again, is to use some sort of Disk Imaging software (that is if you're not already now using it). That way you can be back up and running in minutes should you ever encounter a similar situation again. Win 7 comes with its own built-in Imaging tool, but there are many free and paid alternatives available.

    If needed, here's some useful links to get you started:

    http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-drive-imaging-program.htm

    http://dottech.org/featured/11628/

    http://dottech.org/featured/6194/

    http://www.redobackup.org/

    tacoslammer

    Even if registry items needed to complete the uninstall process are removed, that is why it is necessary to run McAfee's removal tool afterwards to remove any remanants and follow up with CCleaner.  The point of a register cleaner here is that remanants are still left after using McAfee's removal tool.  If not a canned registry cleaner, then use Regedit and search for McAfee to find the last of the hooks.  For those not comfortable with Regedit is the reason for CCleaner.  CCleaner is probably the safest registry cleaner plus other handy features.

    I still don't think using Revo to uninstall security software, or any software that requires a reboot to finish the uninstall, is a good idea.

    Even if the vendors removal tool could clean up a botched uninstall by Revo, which I'm not saying it would, why risk it? And you also have to take into account not every vendor will have a removal tool available to rescue you should things go wrong. Also, what happens if Revo accidentally uninstalls some shared .dll files, which I've seen reported on more than one occasion, where does that leave you?

    I've uninstalled McAfee many times using the proper removal instructions, and to tell you the truth I was hard pushed trying to find any leftover remnants. I think a couple of reg keys on a different user account, that was about it. While on the other hand, using Revo a couple of years back to uninstall Windows Live Mail, the follow-up reg scan reported ~10,000 reg entries to be deleted. Turned out Revo was also trying to remove Vista's inbuilt Windows Mail.

    What I'm saying is that the average user will rarely go wrong sticking with the normal uninstall procedure, or vendor's instructions if available. Whereas using tools such as 3rd-party generic uninstallers and registry cleaners, you're just asking for trouble.

    tacoslammer

    Now contrary to some implications, Microsoft Security Essentials provides complete antimalware protection (viruses, spyware, worms, trojans, rookkits, and more) per Microsoft.  I use a layered approach as some have mentioned; i.e.use other non-realtime programs for antimalware, sypbots, adware, etc. 

    No one claimed it didn't, I personally wouldn't rely on MSE alone though for real-time protection. Best not to put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak Smile.

    Edit: Wording.

    Regards,

  • Seconding CCleaner to remove McAfee. Get something like Avast, ZoneAlarm, or Malwarebytes instead. McAfee is terrible. What you have on your hands is basically a "legal" ransomware application that is hounding you. "Legal" because it is McAfee's own program.

    You  may want to download malwarebytes free and scan your system with it ASAP. you probably have a goodly amount of viruses on board that McAfee didn't catch.

  • Choxbar wrote:  "Seconding CCleaner to remove McAfee".   CCleaner does NOT remove the McAfee program.   It may help remove some of the temp files created by McAfee, but the program itself will remain.

    Choxbar wrote: " Get something like Avast, ZoneAlarm, or Malwarebytes instead".    Use of  "or" implies the user has a choice, to select one of the 3 programs mentioned.   Avast (free) is an anti-virus.   ZoneAlarm (free) is a firewall.  MalwareBytes (free) is an anti-malware scanner/remover --- the PRO (paid) version offers real-time protection.   All three may be combined (i.e., used together), to form a "security suite".   [I'm not keen on ZoneAlarm, but that's another matter.]   So it's not an "either-or" decision.

    The decision on whether to use (or keep) McAfee is up to the individual user.   Like Choxbar, I am not a McAfee fan.   But for those who paid for it, use it, and are happy with itthere is no reason to drop it just because others have issues with it.  [Emphasis on users who "are happy with it" ... anyone who is UNhappy with McAfee (or any other program) should certainly consider viable alternatives.]

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  • Not sure if this thread is too old for anyone to see my question. A lot of great information here! for someone computer stupid as myself I did understand a lot of it. If this is not the place to ask this please link me or let me know where to go for answers.

    I purchased my XPS8500 Windows 8) in Dec. 2012. It has been a great choice and ran amazing. I'm careful with opening suspicious emails or sites and have had no problems. I also do not leave my computer running all the time. I shut it down when finished each day. The 1 year McAfee software was an included option to download. I did not download it until 3 days ago. Since I installed McAfee my computer will not shut down. I have to hold down the power button until it stops.

    I am ready to uninstall McAfee by the above instructions but want to see if it can be fixed.

    Can anyone please help?

    Thank you!  Hal