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Trial Anti-Spyware Programs
Commercial licenses for anti-spyware and anti-malware software are often provided by security vendors as trial versions. Trial software is also known as shareware or demoware programs. Most shareware programs let the user try the program with limitations. For example: Some security vendors allow 15-day or 30-day usage with full functionality, which means you can use the complete anti-spyware software to scan Windows for infections and remove any detected threats. This is known as the 'try before you buy' method used by some commercial software vendors. Other security software vendors provide a free system scan without the option to remove any found threats.
There are trial versions that are also considered freeware and the vendors will display a nag screen to inform the users about components that they are missing by using the free edition. Some freeware anti-spyware, anti-virus and anti-malware software are limited edition programs, allowing you to try some functions but not all of available features or functions. If you are done using a limited functionality program or are not satisfied during the trial period, then removing trial spyware programs is necessary (especially since some trial programs will interfere with others).
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How to Remove Trial Antispyware Software
The first method for removing trial spyware programs is to use their own uninstaller. The Add or Remove Programs utility in Windows will list the installed programs on Windows, and if an uninstaller is included in the package, the Add or Remove Programs utility will display a "remove" or "uninstall" button for the antispyware program. If for some reason, the Add/Remove Programs utility do not list the anti-spyware program you can browse the programs folder and locate the Uninstaller command.
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Removing Trial Software Using its Custom Removal Tool
Some anti-spyware vendors provide a custom removal tool, allowing you to remove the program easily by using the built-in uninstaller. Examples of these programs are:
- A Registered or trial version of Norton or McAfee lets you use the Norton Removal tool and McAfee Consumer Products Removal tool.
- Limited edition freeware anti-virus programs AVG and Avast may be removed using AVG Remover and Avast Uninstall utility.
- Free editions of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and SUPERAntiSpyware are also not fully functional software. You can remove them by using a custom removal tool such as MBAM CleanUp Utility or SUPERAntiSpyware Uninstaller Assistant.
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Using Third-Party Software to Remove Anti-Spyware Programs
- AppRemover - This application requires no installation. AppRemover will scan the computer for installed security software and let you remove single or multiple anti-spyware, firewall or anti-virus programs in one removal session. AppRemover also scans the system for failed or corrupted installations of security programs that cannot be removed in Windows.
- Revo Uninstaller - A general uninstaller utility for Windows that will remove any software, whether it's for productivity or a security program.
More on uninstaller software for Windows can be found in the Top Application Removal Software article.
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Removing a trial version of anti-spyware software will remove the quarantined files or any items that it handled before. If you are sure that you no longer need any of these files, you should allow the removal tool to remove all files or components associated with the anti-spyware program.
Some anti-spyware software will install third-party software, such as toolbars, eBay shortcuts, Microsoft redistributable software, a Google browser or a registry cleaner. Those programs will not be removed when you uninstall the trial or demo edition of the anti-spyware programs. If you don't need those programs, you should also remove them. An example is when you allow the installation of toolbars by Ask and Yahoo during AVG anti-virus or Webroot Spy Sweeper installation, or when you allow Avast and Ad-Aware programs to install the Google Chrome browser.
Image credit: Screenshot taken by the author.