You ask, we answer.

This week is the deadline for U.S. government contractors to get Kaspersky software off their computers.

Some people outside of government work are following suit and removing it from their computers, too.

But getting antivirus programs — Kaspersky or any brand — off your system isn’t always easy.

This question came up during the Ask Archer live Facebook show on computer security.

“How do you get Kaspersky off your computer? I have it on my computer and I cannot get it off,” asked Audrey.

Watch here:



Staying Power

We turn to Patrick Miller of Archer International for the answer. Archer International is Archer News Network’s parent company.

Antivirus programs go deep, he said.

“In order to do what they do, they have to install themselves at a very deep level in your system,” said Miller.

“They can’t just kind of sit on the surface, for example, like a sticker you could peel off,” he explained. “They’ve got to embed themselves in the computer so they can watch all the operations and protect those things.”

That means removing antivirus programs may take a little bit of extra work on your part.

“It’s not that Kaspersky is any worse than any other vendor from a hard-to-uninstall perspective,” Miller said. “They are all hard to uninstall and there are good reasons why that’s the case.”

Kaspersky Controversy

The U.S. government banned Kaspersky software on government computers last year overs fears that the Russia-based company was too close to the Russian government.

Contractors working for the U.S. government had until October 1 of this year to take any Kaspersky software off their systems.

Controversy aside, how do you remove any antivirus from your computer?

How to Remove Antivirus

“Most of them have a removal tool,” said Miller. “Kaspersky does as well.”

If you want to change out your antivirus — of any brand for any reason — go to the company’s site and look for “removal tool or “uninstall.”

“Run the removal tool and it will get the software off of your system. And it won’t leave any remains that we know of,” he said.

“Just grab the removal tool for whatever platform you’re using if you want to change platforms,” he added. “You’ll likely need something like that to get the antivirus tool out because it does have to interact at such a deep level with your system.”

How to remove the top ten antivirus products (top ten list according to PCMag):

McAfee removal

Norton removal

WebRoot removal

Uninstall Bitdefender

Kaspersky removal tool

Uninstall Avast

Uninstall ESET

Uninstall Emsisoft

Uninstall Trend Micro

Uninstall Sophos


See more Ask Archer questions & answers:

Which operating system is secure on a computer?

How often should I turn off my phone?

Should I pay for antivirus protection?

Can the electric grid be hacked?