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Before we start this, I have paranoia issues (doctor diagnosed, not self-diagnosed) so things might at some points seem like an extremely far reach, but please bear with me.

I bought an AV yesterday (prefer not to name it), after reading site reviews about it and getting a few recommendations about it. But after buying it, I stumbled across some user reviews and a lot of them were talking about abysmal customer support and shady business practices. Not only that, but when making an account on that AV's site, it was riddled with issues ("Invalid email"), and then after somehow making an account, when I tried to log in, they kept saying "invalid username or password". So I clicked on the "forgot password" option, entered my email and submit and they never sent me an email to reset the password. So I just logged in using my google account tied to that same email. After that, I downloaded and installed it on my Windows PC and Android phone, and unfortunately it was then I saw the user reviews which were abysmal, and I realized it was kinda poor for me too.

I emailed their customer support asking for a refund, and removed it from my phone, and uninstalled it from my PC. Then I had to restart my PC to complete uninstallation, and after restarting, the AV was back on my desktop, and on the "apps" part of settings. So I google searched and downloaded their own uninstaller and uninstalled it, and after it uninstalled, it said "uninstalled with errors, contact customer support to complete uninstallation". I felt I can't bother with that, so I just to restarted the PC, looked to see if it was still there, and then clicked on "This PC" and typed in the AV's name in the search tab and shift deleted every single file with the name of the AV.

After that, I restarted again and realized my PC was considerably slower. BIOS time before installing the AV was around 2 seconds, but after installing and uninstalling the AV, BIOS time is now 4 seconds.

Now all this; the shady business practices, the poor customer support, the uninstalling difficulties, the difficulty and errors faced when trying to make an account, and the BIOS time slow down even AFTER UNinstallation, makes me worried about if these guys are still in my PC and phone and are maybe accessing the deepest corners of my pc and phone. I gave them access, what's to stop them now?

Can they still access my PC, phone, and also maybe my google account? Do they still have access to my PC and phone? Could they hack me or something?

And if so, how do I completely purge their existence from my phone and PC? How do I get my PC back to normal? How do I stop them from accessing my PC? How do I make it as if it was never installed in the first place?

P.S. This AV is quite a reputable software, review sites love it always gets great reviews from testing labs and so on and it has hundreds of millions of users worldwide. So it's not some unknown AV.

  • Your story is about your PC. What about your phone? Did it uninstall properly? – schroeder May 1 at 14:58
  • You probably want to check if browsers on your PC got new add-ins/extensions, search engines etc. To finish uninstalling, you will have to clean your registry from the cruft, however, I do not trust registry cleaners. Do you have a IT professional as a friend ? – thecarpy May 1 at 16:00
  • Yeah the phone uninstallation went fine. No issues there. @schroeder – Richard May 1 at 18:06
  • @thecarpy , no nothing new has been added or installed, it is from a very reputable company so i guess those won't happen. And unfortunately, no, I don't have any IT professional friends. – Richard May 1 at 18:07
  • I think you most probably only deleted shortcuts, as the program was still running, you cannot delete the files. What you could do, is a clean boot and try the uninstall again. support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/929135/… – thecarpy May 1 at 19:30
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If you run software on your PC it can do anything with the permissions you grant it. If you install or uninstall an AV this is usually done with system permissions - and like any other software running with system permissions it can do a lot of harm and also embed itself deep into the system if it really wants to.

If you don't trust the AV vendor you should not trust its product, the software which installs the product and the software which uninstalls it either. It could in theory do anything with your system (including spying on you etc), which of course does not mean that it will actually do it in all cases. Given that you say that the AV is from a reputable vendor (even though you don't trust him) I don't believe that it will actually do the harm it could do in theory. But you have to decide for yourself if you still have this kind of trust or not.

To make sure that you got fully rid of the product you should reset the system into a known good state - which usually means to install a backup of the system or to reinstall the system. The same is true for PC and phone. Note that in theory such product could nest deeply into your system so that a simple restore from backup will not work. It could also infect your router and from this reinfect your system. But again, this is unlikely if this is really a well-known and usually trusted vendor.

As for the sudden slowness you see: there is no generic explanation and solution for the behavior you describe. While there might be an explanation and solution for your specific case there is not enough known about your case and apart from that this is not a PC support site. If you feel that the problem is caused by the AV product please contact the vendor or look for solutions in his support forums.

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A couple points from your story:

  • you did not uninstall it (the installer could not complete)
  • deleting files manually does not uninstall programs from Windows

So, basically, it is still there in your PC in some form.

But that does not mean that they are likely to do something malicious to your machine. Bad customer service, bad websites, and bad uninstallers does not make them bad people. Nothing in your story suggests "shady business practices". Just a lot of inconveniences and opportunities for "business process improvements".

So, there is nothing to fear in what you have said. Annoyances aplenty, but nothing to fear. Work with their customer support, such as it is, to complete the uninstall.

  • "Bad customer service, bad websites, and bad uninstallers does not make them bad people." Oh yes it does, just not necessarily malware purveyors. – thecarpy May 1 at 15:57

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