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Uninstalling McAfee for Avast?


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#1 je10

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 09:08 PM

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:

https://service.mcafee.com/webcenter/portal/cp/home/articleview?_afrLoop=2322771836977130&_adf.ctrl-state=19ms5e63pt_49#!

 

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.

 



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#2 MoxieMomma

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 09:21 PM

Hello and welcome:

 

You are on the right track, but you may be over-thinking it a bit.

 

First question, though: Are you on Windows 8 or Windows 8.1????

If you are still on Windows 8, then that issue probably needs to be addressed first, as Windows 8 is no longer supported.

You need to get upgraded to 8.1 probably before you do anything else major with this computer.

 

Next, if you are on 8.1, here are the basic steps to remove the McAfee trial version from your OEM computer:

 

1) Before you uninstall it, you *might* want to activate the McAfee license, just in case you ever decide -- for whatever reason -- to go back to using it.

2) Be sure you have run Windows Update several times and have installed all available critical and important patches, until you are told your Windows is up to date (no available updates).

3) Download and save -- but do NOT run yet -- the installer (aka "setup file") for whatever 3rd-party AV you choose (Avast or other).

4) Download -- but do NOT run yet -- the McAfee MCPR removal tool from THIS LINK (and print out the instructions).

5) Uninstall McAfee from the Windows control panel.

6) Reboot.

7) Run the McAfee CPR tool.

8) Reboot.

9) Once you get the all-clear that McAfee was completely removed, run the installer file for your new AV.

10) You will likely need to reboot at least once after it is installed, as well as update it, configure its settings and (if a paid program) activate it.

 

You should be good to go.

 

Cheers,

 

MM

 

{Edit: Step #2 edited for clarity}


Edited by MoxieMomma, 16 January 2017 - 09:22 PM.


#3 quietman7

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 09:57 PM

... 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?...

avast! Free Antivirus has been becoming more of a disappointment for the past several years and I no longer recommend it.Further, avast! pushes a support package for $180 offered by a third-party which prefers to take remote control of your computer in order to fix problems.
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#4 je10

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 10:17 PM

Dear MM,

 

Thank you for the reply.

 

Let's see--I checked and it's indeed Windows 8.1, sweet victory.

 

Ok, I had a couple questions on your instructions (please forgive me if these are extremely basic) --

 

EDIT: Also, I don't believe it was a trial version, I'm pretty sure it was a purchased version that I bought with my computer, though I am not sure what "OEM computer" means, actually.

 

1)  I'm not entirely sure what "activate the McAfee license" means actually...for reference, McAfee came with the laptop, and its subscription expired, so it's asking me to renew the "McAfee LiveSafe" subscription.  I vaguely remember buying a 3 year subscription when I bought the laptop, and I believe this would be the third year...but I can't remember definitively, though these timelines seem to line up.  So as far as I can tell, it's not asking me to "activate the McAfee license," but rather "renew the subscription" I had this whole time (apparently).  That said, I don't anticipate going back once I switch, since my main takeaway from using McAfee has been that it just springs these scans on me at inconvenient times and I have to hit "scan later" almost immediately before it launches into a scan that makes using the computer impractical.

 

2) Ok, I believe Windows Update is up to date, but it does say there are 10 optional updates...do I need to select those boxes?  Right now it says, "You're set to automatically install updates. 10 optional updates are available" 

Clicking that "10 optional" part, the next page shows two groups of listings, the top group is called "Windows 8.1 Drivers (4)," which has two updates that say "Intel - System" followed by 2016 dates and what look like version numbers, then one that says "Intel Corporation - Graphics Adapter..." then finally one that says "Qualcomm Atheros Communications - Bluetooth Controller."

Under that group is a "Windows 8.1 (6)" grouping with six different versions of "Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems (KB...)" with different strings of numbers after the "KB..." part for each version.
So do I need to install these or do I ignore them and move on to the next step?  For instance, I don't use Bluetooth (as far as I know--it's the cellphone ear plug thing, right?), so I can't imagine the Bluetooth update being necessary.  Since I don't see anything else beyond these 10 things, I'm otherwise all updated, and ready to move on to the next step, right?

 

3) I had downloaded and saved Avast, and I installed, but it tells me it's in "passive mode" so it won't conflict with my main program, which is identifies as McAfee...do I need to uninstall Avast at this point so I can recreate this step?

 

4) Ok, it looks like I did this already using the link in my original post, but will repeat with your link...Ok, it looks like it's the same exact thing (it prompts me to choose between two identically named files), so that seems ready to go.

 

5) - 8), Ok, sounds pretty straight forward.

 

9) So, since I seem to have already done this...does this change anything?  Would I just click "turn off passive mode" in Avast to complete the process?

 

Also, any advice on the firewall question--again, I don't seem to see any mention of firewall with Avast, and I don't know if Windows Firewall is being forced off by McAfee and will come back when McAfee is gone or if it is permanently set off for some reason.  At present, I can only see that it is there and set to off and the McAfee Firewall is there and set to on, but I can't toggle any switches or anything.

 

I hope that helps clarify my questions...

 

[Edited with added info before the list section]


Edited by je10, 16 January 2017 - 10:51 PM.


#5 je10

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 10:21 PM

 

... 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?...

avast! Free Antivirus has been becoming more of a disappointment for the past several years and I no longer recommend it. Further, avast! pushes a support package for $180 offered by a third-party which prefers to take remote control of your computer in order to fix problems.

 

Dear quietman7,

 

I see, that is quite the news...what do you feel would be the best recommendation at this point?  Just stick with McAfee, since nothing seems to have changed?

 

Thanks for any help,



#6 je10

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 02:26 AM

A quick update -- I've uninstalled McAfee and that seems to have allowed Defender to come back on, firewall included, and Action Center's System and Security listed items all say On or Ok on everything as before...It says I'm fully protected and everything looks as I foggily remembered it looking before McAfee took over. Avast still asks if I would like to turn off passive mode. Should I just uninstall Avast? Quietman7's guide mentioned MSE or Defender (for post Windows 7 users) being sufficient, so I am not sure that Avast is still necessary. Please let me know your thoughts when you get a chance. Thanks as always.

#7 MoxieMomma

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 04:30 AM

Hi:
 
It sounds as if you have made some progress:

  • Uninstalled McAfee
  • Installed all available critical and important security updates from Windows Update
    • No, you do not necessarily need the "Optional" patches, especially driver updates
      • For "Optional" updates, each user needs to research them individually and decide whether or not the fix applies to his/her computer -- if not, just ignore or hide them
      • For driver updates, Windows Update is not the best place to get those -- if you have an OEM computer (aka "brand name" computer, such as Dell, HP, Asus, Acer, or Toshiba), especially if it's a laptop, then the best place to get drivers is from the computer manufacturer's own website
        1. But there is no need to update drivers unless you need to resolve a particular performance or stability issue
  • Identified that, under Windows 8.1, there is already a built-in, free anti-virus, called Windows Defender (this is NOT the same as Windows Defender under Vista or Win7), and a built-in, free firewall, called Windows Firewall

If you wish, you can stay with Windows Defender -- it is probably "as good" as any other free anti-virus (AV) and it is relatively easy to use.
If you wish to replace it with a different, third-party AV (either free or paid), then you might want to research some options by reading @quietman7's excellent articles, such as these:

Having said that, in today's threat landscape, an AV alone is probably not sufficient protection for most computer users. 

You might also want to read these helpful articles, also written by @quietman7:

 

I hope this helps a bit,

MM



#8 quietman7

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 05:28 AM

If a trial anti-virus (i.e. McAfee, Norton, Webroot, etc) came preinstalled on your computer or you installed one, Windows Defender will be turned off (disabled). The disabling of Windows Defender during the installation or pre-install of a third-party anti-virus is a design by Microsoft. Windows Defender recognizes the install and automatically disables itself when other anti-virus products are used to avoid conflicts...(see bottom note). Windows 8/10 Defender will remain disabled until that anti-virus software has been completely uninstalled. When uninstalling the third-party anti-virus Defender should automatically turn itself on after rebooting the computer and begin protecting your system as it did in your case.

IMO Windows 8/10 Defender is just as good as any other free antivirus solution (and probably easier to use for the novice) without bundled toolbars or nagging popups.Although Windows 8/10 Defender provides some anti-malware protection...it is weak, meaning it does not provide comprehensive protection and cannot prevent, detect and remove all threats at any given time. This is true for most anti-virus solutions. Anti-virus and anti-malware programs each perform different tasks as it relates to computer security and threat detection. Essentially, they look for and remove different types of malicious threats. Therefore, you need both an anti-virus and an effective anti-malware solution for maximum protection. Read the Supplementing your Anti-Virus Program with Anti-Malware Tools link provided by MoxieMomma above.
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#9 TazzyOpz

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 12:30 PM

I agree with Quietman, If you're wanting a free Anti-Virus. Windows Defender does fine. But having Windows defender and an Anti-Malware will help close any open doors to Malware that tries to slip by. 


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#10 je10

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 10:54 PM

Ok, thanks to everyone for the wonderful advice--so from my readings, it looks like Defender is a sufficient AV but I should supplement that with Malwarebytes, and as the free edition doesn't have real-time scanning, I would be recommended to scan manually about once a week, is that right? 

 

Also a couple lingering questions: Avast is still present, and when I hover over its icon in the "Show Hidden Icons" section of my taskbar, its logo gives off a big, green "You Are Protected" message.  But recall it's still in passive mode, and Defender seems to have taken back control after uninstalling McAfee as per MM's instructions, meaning Avast isn't in control so as to avoid the dual-programs issue.  So, can I safely uninstall Avast now?  Avast says it strongly recommends I turn off passive mode, but I imagine that is because it thinks I don't otherwise have a program (in this case, Defender).

 

And lastly, when going through my start menu, I still see a tile for McAfee Security Scan Plus then when I click the down arrow to view "Apps," I see McAfee Central under the M section and then scrolling further right, I see a McAfee Security Scan Plus header with "McAfee Security Scan Plus" and "Uninstall" underneath that heading.  When I click the up arrow on my taskbar to Show Hidden Icons, then click Customize in the little popup that emerges I noticed there's a "McUICnt.exe" with the subheading "McAfee LiveSafe: Your computer is at risk," but I believe this is again because it thinks I don't have a program like Defender.  Hovering over Defender's castle icon, it says, "PC Status: Protected."  So am I correct there's no problem here and McAfee just thinks I don't have an AV?  If so, do I need to do anything with these lingering logos or are they just vestigial, not serving any function at this point?  I followed the uninstall guide MM gave, which was using the uninstall from McAfee itself, then uninstalling via Windows' uninstall programs route, and Defender regaining control indicates the uninstall was successful...

 

There is also a instup.exe listed in that same taskbar up arrow customize icon listing, which has the subheading "Avast Free Antivirus is being installed."  This and the McUICnt.exe have no logos, but scrolling up, there's the yellow Avast logo that has the subheading "Avast Antivirus: your system is secured."  I'm not sure what the purpose of these logo-free icons is, or if they serve any purpose at this point. 

 

So, in a nutshell:

Is it still accurate as of 2017 that Malwarebytes free is a good idea?

Am I in the clear to uninstall Avast?

Should I just ignore the remaining McAfee logos in my start bar and the McUICnt.exe in my taskbar's icons tray?

 

Ok, I believe that's everything, thanks for any advice you can offer.



#11 quietman7

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 06:52 AM

You were previously provided instructions for running the Consumer Products Removal tool (MCPR) after uninstalling so make sure you do that if you have not done so already. Any shortcut links left after that can be manually deleted.

avast also has anUninstall Utility which should be run in safe mode after uninstalling.

McAfee Security Scan Plus is a free diagnostic tool which allows you to check your anti-virus, firewall protection, and web security status. When a scan is completed, you will be provided with a report indicating the status of your security protection and recommendations for solutions if any problems are detected. McAfee Security Scan is not meant to be a replacement for anti-virus software...it is a compliment to your existing security software. Major software vendors like Adobe, Java and others have been bundling third-party software and utilities like this from McAfee and Norton in their product download packages which allows users to perform a system checkup of their computers.

Until the issues are all resolved in Malwarebytes 3,0, I would just use Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2.0.
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#12 je10

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 11:31 PM

Ok, thanks again, queitman7 for the additional advice.

 

Right, I followed MM's instructions, which are to the FAQ you linked to, though while I remember entering information for step 6's Captcha, I don't distinctly remember seeing the "CleanUp Successful" message, though I am pretty sure I saw it, as it did ask me to reboot to complete the uninstall, which I did and there were no problems that I observed.  So with that, I will delete the MCPR.exe shortcut on my desktop.

 

Similarly, I should delete the desktop's avastclear.exe, too right?  It looks like Avast has been successfully resolved, having returned from the safe mode uninstall's reboot, though when I go to my taskbar, click the upward triangle, then click "customize" in the Notification Area Icon tray, I still see:

 

avastui.exe

Avast Antivirus: Your system is secured.

 

and

 

McUICnt.exe

McAfee LiveSafe: Your computer is at risk.

 

and

 

instup.exe

Avast Free Antivirus is being installed

 

I noticed a few of the Notification Area Icons are no longer visible, too, including:

 

Windows Defender User Interface

PC status: Protected

 

However, I can see Power, Network, Volume, etc. and their icons (and Avast's and McAfee's themselves are no longer there).  On the taskbar itself, I see the castle logo for Defender and on hover-over it says, "PC status: Protected," though it's see-through...I seem to recall it being gray...I should note there doesn't seem to be any way to manipulate these entries: hovering over doesn't yield more information, and I can't click or right click on them either.

 

So, while I no longer see the programs themselves, should I be concerned that I still see entries for the McAfee- and Avast-related items?

Should I be concerned about not seeing some logos in the Notification Area Icons area?

 

Also, after beginning the Avast uninstall, a dialog box came up that said "fatal error" but the computer rebooted before I could read more, though I believe it had the logo and heading of the Avast Safezone web browser, which I never used besides right-clicking and trashing the shortcut that had appeared on my desktop after installing Avast.  Despite the frightening tone of "fatal error," is this dialogue box of no concern now?

 

Next on the agenda then, is installing Malwarebytes.  The page quietman7 linked to has version 2.2, but not strictly his recommended v2.0, but I imagine this is the same thing, as it is specifically not 3.0 right?  I just want to be super sure I'm not messing up your instructions.

 

So, in preparation, I have downloaded the 2.2, and it's on my desktop, waiting to run, but I will have to close everything, as per this BC guide:

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/how-to-use-malwarebytes-anti-malware-tutorial

 

However, one last concern, according to the guide, I have to close everything down, then double click the desktop icon, after which the guide says, "make sure you leave Launch Malwarebytes Anti-Malware checked. Then click on the Finish button. If MalwareBytes prompts you to reboot, please do not do so." 

 

My question(s) is(are), after installing something, isn't it normal to reboot anyway?  At this point is the program considered installed?  Do I have to scan immediately?  The guide says "MBAM will now start scanning your computer for malware. This process can take quite a while, so we suggest you go and do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan," so does that mean I can continue using the computer with the scan going in the background, or should I leave simply that and nothing else open and do non-computer work?  I did a full scan with Defender and it looks like it took 9 hours while I went away on a travel meeting.  Also, before canceling my attempt at beginning the install to come here and do one final check on the process, I noticed the install wizard, on the same page where it advised closing all other programs, mentioned I may need to temporarily disable my AV and firewall?  Is this only if it forces me to, but not recommended to do before clicking "next" to begin the install while all other programs are closed?

 

Ok, so dim sum, uh, I mean, in sum:

Some of my notification icons don't show up, is this a problem?

Some of my notification icon entries are for McAfee and Avast, should I just ignore these?

Can I forget about the briefly glanced Avast Safezone fatal error?

Would MBAM 2.2 be sufficient?

Should I truly not reboot after the install?

Should I plan for the first scan to take a similarly long time as the 9 hour Defender full scan?

While MBAM scans, should I have only that open and work on paper, or can I continue working on the computer while it scans?

 

Ok, I believe that's everything, please let me know when you get a chance, and thanks as always for helping with such pedestrian questions(!).



#13 quietman7

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 05:50 AM

Yes you can delete the MCPR.exe and avastui.exe shortcut or files on the Desktop.

Windows 10 will hide the icon most of the time but it shows any notifications it produces...Windows 10 handles all notifications through the new Notification Center. Setting an app to “On” means that the icon and notifications will be visible in the taskbar all the time.

How to Manage and Hide Notification Icons on the Windows Taskbar in Windows 7/8/10
How to Customize the System Tray Icons in Windows 10
How to use the notifications from the Action Center in Windows 10
How to set which icons are shown in Windows 10's notification area

Malwarebytes 2.2 is the most current version of 2.0 (2.x)...that is the one to use.

The How to Guide is more for those who have been infected with malware and need to download, then scan with Malwarebytes. When installing it normally, there is no need to close everything else. Some programs do prompt you to reboot after installation so ensure in installed correctly. If not prompted, then there is no need to do so.

Malwarebytes offers three types of scans.
  • A THREAT SCAN (formerly QUICK SCAN) looks at the most prevalent places for active malware so scanning every single file on the drive isn't always necessary. This is the recommended scanning mode.
  • A CUSTOM SCAN (formerly FULL SCAN) allows you to customize where and what folders and files you want to scan including any external (removable) drives. If you choose to check the entire C:\drive (all files/folders) it will perform similarly to a FULL SCAN.
  • A HYPER SCAN (formerly FLASH SCAN) is a faster scan that will search for immediate threats that are currently active on your computer. If anything is found, a THREAT SCAN is recommended afterward. Hyper scans are only available for Malwarebytes Trial or Premium users
In most cases when performing routine security checks, only a THREAT SCAN is needed since it checks the areas of your computer most likely to contain malware...the most prevalent and common places where malware typically hides. A Full scan is generally recommended only for heavily infected systems. Same applies to Windows Defender only it is called a QUICK SCAN. If you are doing FULL SCANs, that is why it is taking so long.
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#14 je10

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 10:28 AM

Dear quietman7,

 

Thanks so much for the latest update. 

 

Ok, I followed your directions and it looks like everything went well.  After MBAM installed, my MBAM home screen had a yellow, neutral face (as opposed to a green happy face) and it said I haven't scanned yet and so it invited me to get my first scan.  I decided to give it a try and it only took maybe half an hour at most, chimed, then my home screen showed a green happy face, and the scan details reported zero problems detected.  I wasn't sure if this intro scan constituted the "Threat Scan" you mentioned, so I went to the scan tab, clicked on that style scan, then clicked scan now, and it seemed to engage in the same scan as the intro scan, so I gather this was the same thing.  20 or so minutes later, this scan chimed and reported zero problems detected as well, and the green happy face remained.  As it looked like everything was successfully accomplished, I closed MBAM.

 

Now the final(?) curveball.    I see MBAM in my Notification Area Icon tray, but no icon is visible.  More concerning, though, is that when I click Start I have to click the down arrow to view my apps, then scroll right to view by letter, where I see MBAM, but when I click on that tile, it's like I'm clicking the run .exe installer again.  The screen goes dark and a User Account Control dialog box comes up and asks, "Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?"

Then it gives details including --

Program name: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Verified publisher: Malwarebytes Corporation

File origin: Hard drive on this computer

 

Clicking certificate information, this is issued to Malwarebytes Corporation.

 

So this all seems just like exactly what I already did to install the program.  Double clicking the shortcut on my desktop yields the same thing, with the same dialog box over a darkened screen.  So did I mess up the installation and have to do it again?  I heard double installing stuff was a bad idea, so I'm a little unsure if it's wise to just do it again without first consulting BC.  I thought it was successful because I clearly had opened the program and had successfully scanned twice, once with their introductory scan, and then again with the manually selected Threat Scan you described.

 

Note the desktop shortcut's M logo still has the blue and yellow shield icon over it, which I associate with not-yet-installed programs.  I can right click files and there's now the option to "Scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware," but clicking that option takes me back to the dark screen and same dialog box.

 

Should I just run this again and see what happens?  Do I need to uninstall and then reinstall?

 

I hope I described that thoroughly and correctly and that my description makes sense.  Please let me know if you have any thoughts on this last hurdle, sincere thanks as always.



#15 quietman7

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 11:36 AM

From what you described MBAM is fully installed otherwise you would not have been able to do a scan and see the green happy face. Just delete the setup file on your desktop or where ever you saved it.

Some of the things you are describing sounds like something strictly applicable to Windows 10. I don't use Windows 10 so I don't know what exactly it is showing in your apps...it may be a shortcut to the installer. In either case, MBAM can be reinstalled over an existing installation without problems...that is typically how most folks update.
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