Hello, I hope you're well! I wanted to check with current thoughts on the process of switching from McAfee to Avast.
My Windows 8 came with a McAfee subscription, which recently ended, so I wasn't sure what to do, but it appears as if nothing has changed--under the Action Center's Security list, everything seems to be "on" or "ok" except for "Network Access Protection," which says, "Network Access Protection Agent service is not running," but there's nothing clickable to turn this option on, so I don't know what the solution there is or if any is necessary. But given that everything seems to be functioning ok as ever, I searched for "Is McAfee necessary?" and found this site's incredible discussion...but it looks it is from 2013.
From what I can tell, people don't recommend paying for McAfee's renewal, and even getting rid of the program altogether for its sluggishness and so on, which this whole time I had thought was just part of it(!). People comfortably recommend Avast Free among other similar programs, so I'd like to go with that one since I've seen that on computers in the past. So my first question is: is recommending Avast over McAfee still accurate advice as of 2017?
If so, I am still not quite certain how the switching process works. I downloaded and installed Avast (which tells me it's presently in "passive mode" until I uninstall McAfee so it can take over without the two-simultaneous-programs issue) and I intend to uninstall McAfee now so I can fully activate Avast, but I just wanted to make sure I'm doing this correctly, as I have little computer knowledge.
First, since it seems not recommended to use the regular uninstall program option from my computer, I followed this link to uninstall McAfee:
And then clicked the Windows 8 option here:
So all that remains for the uninstall is to use that uninstall file from my computer, is that correct? After which, I then go into Avast and click "turn off Passive Mode" to complete the switching process?
But before I uninstall, do I need to do anything else in preparation? Is it really just that straightforward? Should I do anything afterward, or is that it?
Another specific thing that confuses me is that it doesn't appear as if there will be any replacement for the firewall if I activate Avast and deactivate McAfee. I have McAfee Firewall active, but I can't activate Windows Firewall to replace it. The forum said I should be able to activate Defender (is McAfee : Windows Defender :: McAfee Firewall : Windows Firewall?) and even have that render Avast et al unnecessary, but it looks like I have no option to activate Windows Defender as far as I can tell. I believe I clearly remember early on using just Defender with no issue, but only vaguely remember one day McAfee asking to take over for Defender. McAfee only sticks out in my memory as existing because its scans would surprise me out of nowhere and only give a few seconds' notice before beginning a scan and consequently slowing down the computer for a few minutes, an experience I don't recall during the early period when I believe I was just on Defender. However, trying to follow the forum's instructions, when I click the start button, then the Windows Defender icon, a box opens and says, "This app has been turned off and isn't monitoring your computer. If you're using another app to check for malicious or unwanted software, use Security and Maintenance to check the app's status." But again, I don't see any way to activate Defender. So my question here is: if I uninstall McAfee, does that leave with no firewall if Avast doesn't have one, since I don't seem to have the option to activate Windows Firewall?
Am I overlooking anything?
In a nutshell:
My Windows 8 came with McAfee, its subscription recently expired but it still seems to be functioning, the forums seem to recommend replacing it with Avast rather than paying for McAfee, so I hope to do so, but I don't want to mess anything up switching over, such as with the firewall, and am seeking advice as to how to go about this successfully.
Thank you so much for your time, I sincerely appreciate any help you can provide.