Is McAfee really that bad?

I’ve been using McAfee LiveSafe antivirus for years, but now I’ve been reading all sorts of complaints online by people saying that computes got infected badly by malware despite McAfee protection. What puzzles me, though, is that apparently Norton and Bitdefender are considered the industry leaders in antivirus protection, but McAfee always only ranks a tiny step behind (and these are neutral publications running these tests/comparisons, not McAfee’s bragging itself.)

On an A to F grading scale, are Bitdefender and Norton “A” grades while McAfee is a B, or McAfee more like a D?

I have a virus on my computer that I cannot get rid of no matter what I do. It’s called McAfee anitvirus and it pops up 2 or 3 times every day, usually in the middle of something important to nag me to buy. I have tried everything I know to uninstall it or otherwise get rid of it, to no avail. What I do know is that they have guaranteed that I will never pay their ransom.

Most of the complaints I’ve heard about actual McAfee are not about raw protection numbers, but that the software is buggy and a performance hog, while not being any better at protection than free alternatives. It also seems to intentionally make itself a pain to completely uninstall.

I’ve never used any remotely recent version of the product myself. I do know I’ve turned down free trials because I didn’t think I needed them, and wouldn’t pay for the $5 a month security package from my ISP that included it.

What @Hari_Seldon has described might be actual malware, as plenty of it will lie about being some sort of antivirus product. Or it could just be nagware after the “free trial” has ended. If the latter, it would be another instance of how hard it can be to completely uninstall the program. (I presume he’s tried the uninstaller.)

For most users, I would say that Microsoft Defender, which is built I to Windows, is sufficient anti-malware protection, along with normal browser security settings and Windows Smartscreen warning you about unrecognized executables.

I can’t understand why people actually pay for a 3rd party anti-virus when Windows Defender, which has proved itself to me to be very reliable, is a free part of Windows. It is constantly updated and is give as much real time protection as humanly possible.

To the OP: Have you tried “Revo Uninstaller” to uninstall your McAfee? I’d give it a try.

https ://www. youtube.com/watch?v= bKgf5PaBzyg {Broke NSFW link}

I have no way of knowing if McAfee is actually doing its job to protect me against malware, but I can vouch for it being a total performance hog. I have never been able to complete a Full Scan because it overheats my CPU to 90 Celsius. Only Quick Scans get it done without overheating.

Unless you’re running warez or something, I don’t know why you need anything more than Windows Defender. It’s all I use and it’s all I suggest to anyone who asks (half of them come to me with any computer issues).

So, your question is an odd one – it doesn’t matter if it’s bad or good – it costs money and uses more cycles than Windows Defender, so why even think about it? Just uninstall it and use Defender.

If I ever think I might have done something wrong, I download MalwareBytes Free and run a scan, then uninstall it.

When I’m setting up a friend or family member’s computer, the very first thing I do is uninstall Norton or whatever free trial comes with the computer and get Defender working. Those free trials are dangerous! After they’re over, I don’t know if the AV software even gets updated, so it definitely ends up being worse than Defender.

This is a primary reason why, when I get a new computer, I get custom builds that let me pay a small fee to have a bloatware-free installation.

I came into the thread to complain McAfee is the worst in my experience and has been for a long time. Rittersport’s post sums up the real point even better though.

My friends and family get me to uninstall their bloatware for free.

Oh, I could do it if I wanted to. But for $5 to not have it installed in the first place and thus not having tagends still in the registry, I’ll pay the $5.

Do it for me and get one free dis-warning. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

(Just joking, in case anyone is in doubt.)

Of course, I’ve tried uninstall. It just goes round in circles and never does anything. What happens is that I get asked if I allow McAfee to make changes. If I say no, the uninstall ends and if I say yes, I get the uninstall window again. But it never actually uninstalls.

The uninstall does not work, but the McAfee Consumer Products Removal Tool mentioned in the poorly chosen video [I did not mean to offend and it was bad judgement to post it like that, my sincere apologies] is in fact a real program that does have a non-zero chance of getting rid of McAfee Livesafe and McAfee antivirus. See also https://christianlehrer.com/?p=359 for how to run it from the command line.

I just ran it; it seemed to work. Time will tell. I uninstalled once (using a program that McAfee has on its site) but it didn’t work.

McAfee is considered to be horrible because the program is not “elegant”. It ruthlessly hijacks your computer’s resources, and doesn’t give them back, causing everything to slow down. Like Norton, it also tries to add in additional features you don’t need - like webbrowsing security or downloading protection - without telling you, and thus further slowing down your computer.

Windows Defender / Windows Security, free from Microsoft, works very very well without stealing your resources.

We tell all our students coming to campus to remove McAfee or Norton and just use Windows Defender.

And don’t get me started on Kaspersky.

But the issue with most commercial antivirus is that they have to show something more than what Windows Defender can offer, which means they add all sorts of things the make things more secure than what most users need. And it’s always that the more secure a system is, less convenient it is (and the more convenient, the less secure). The trick is to find the right balance.

I remember when McAfee and Norton were the gold standards for anti-virus and PC maintenance.

Like most people in this thread, I use Windows Defender. I also use MalwareBytes Free and a program called Regrun that does antivirus, anti-rootkits, and verifies any registry change with you before allowing it to take effect. (NB: this means the machine boots more slowly while Regrun runs its checks during boot, but I’ve never seen a performance hit once boot up is complete.)

I get it. I almost went and looked for that video. I would have linked it for the first part that isn’t NSFW at all, and would have forgotten that the full thing had a lot more to it. Plus you tend to think of YouTube as not allowing NSFW stuff since it bans nudity.

That the original owner and creator doesn’t know how to uninstall the program successfully is quite the condemnation of the product.

I’d go back to Windows Defender if I could but it isn’t there on my PC anymore. I suspect McAfee disabled it, or that it had to be uninstalled or something in order for McAfee to run.

I don’t know that I would trust McAfee to successfully uninstall McAfee. That seems akin to asking the fox to repair the hen house. LOL