Howto: Remove McAfee 90-day trial manually

When a new laptop to my department arrives, regardless if it’s for homeuse or not, I’m the one to set it up. We mostly buy our shit from Dell, which is not great, but less expensive. There are some models I even like. But whenever we have to buy outside of our Dell business portal, there are lots of adware and trial versions I have to remove. Sometimes it’s almost painless, in Safe mode that is, but other times – like today – it’s hell. Especially when it comes to McAfee products.

The McAfee company even writes themselves that they don’t guarantee that their own uninstaller tool works. I’ve found that it works in most occasions, if you boot into safemode. Just not today. It threw up an error related to IE’s script handling:

Line: 349
Char: 2
Error: Type mismatch:’CDbl’
Code: 0
URL: mcp://C:PROGRA~1mcafee.comagentuninstcomrem.dll:uninstall.htm/

I downloaded IE7, updated it, and I even patched XP’s script-handling tool available from here but to no avail. Whenever I ran the uninstall tool, this fresh and new machine just froze like George Bush if you hit him upside the head.

Looking around the harddrive, not only do you find McAfee installations but also products. The latter is the trial stuff, as far as I know, but get rid of it all unless you actually intend to buy and use it. I’d rather go for AVG Free edition or switch to *nix alltogether, but that’s not up to me in this case. Thinking about doing a manual deletion I soon discover that all registry keys related to McAfee uninstallation points to mcappins.exe! This is the McAfee Application Installer, if you wanted to know, located in c:PROGRA~1mcafee.comsharedmcappins.exe. Took me an hour to discover that, so I thought posting it here would save some other frustrated user a headache. When you search for that app you’ll find all the UninstallStrings. Here they are in order of appearance:

Path and general parameters:
c:PROGRA~1mcafee.comsharedmcappins.exe /v=3 /uninstall=1 /interact=1 /script_proactive=0

Individual parameters:
Firewall: /appid=mpf /start=C:PROGRA~mcafee.comagentuninstmpfrem.ui::uninstall.htm
SecurityCenter: /appid=msc /start=C:PROGRA~mcafee.comagentuninstscrem.ui::uninstall.htm
SpamKiller: /appid=MSK /start=C:PROGRA~mcafee.comagentuninstmskremui.dll::uninstall.htm
Uninstaller: /start=C:PROGRA~mcafee.comagentuninstcomrem.dll::uninstall.htm
VirusScan: /appid=vso /start=C:PROGRA~mcafee.comagentuninstvsoremui.dll::uninstall.htm

Then you just run the path (legend+flags) with the individual parameters afterwards in command-line. For instance, say you want to uninstall McAfee’s personal firewall. Reboot into safemode. Open cmd.exe, navigate to C:Program FilesMcAfee.comShared and enter this:

mcappins.exe /v=3 /uninstall=1 /interact=1 /script_proactive=0 /appid=mpf /start=C:PROGRA~mcafee.comagentuninstmpfrem.ui::uninstall.htm

Note: the McAfee Security center cannot be uninstalled before all other McAfee Services have been uninstalled. I got it to work by uninstalling the firewall, spamkiller, virusscan and securitycenter, in that order. The uninstaller goes with the security center. That’s a lot of typing, but I guess you can make a batch job, or even just hire a hitman to take out the McAfee crew for not making an uninstaller that works for a product we didn’t want in the first place.

And the laptop I’m setting up? It’s an Inspiron 9400, which has a 17″ screen! It’s a huge luggable! Take a look at this size comparison (yes, that’s my desk at work) where the 9400 is on the left, my own Inspiron 6000 in the middle and a normal sized 12.1" laptop to the right. I almost feel threatened to get a penis enlargment here.

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