How to Remove Ad-Aware SE


The Internet is clogged with a complex ecosystem of malicious software, ranging from system-threatening viruses and Trojans to relatively innocuous code that monitors your activities and reports them to a remote user. Programs such as LavaSoft's elderly but popular Ad-Aware SE can detect and remove many of these forms of malware, but every such product eventually becomes outmoded. If you want to remove your Ad-Aware in favor of a different product, you can use one of several automated processes; if those fail, you can delete it manually.

Start Screen Method

  • Boot your Windows 8.1 computer to the Start screen.

  • Press and hold the Ad-Aware SE tile, or right-click it if you're using a mouse.

  • Click or tap "Uninstall" on the menu that pops up. Follow any onscreen prompts to complete the uninstallation.

Control Panel Method

  • Click the lower-left corner of your screen to bring up the Start menu, then choose "Control Panel." Alternatively, swipe in from the right side of your screen and tap "Search," then type "Control Panel" into the search box and tap or click "Control Panel" in the search results.

  • Tap or click "Programs and Features." Scroll down through the list until you come to Ad-Aware SE. The list is alphabetical by default, so Ad-Aware should be near the top.

  • Select Ad-Aware SE, then tap or click "Uninstall." A message will pop up asking for confirmation, and warning you that you'll lose the program's protection. Confirm you'd like to uninstall the program.

Using Ad-Aware's Installer

  • Click the lower left corner of your screen to bring up the Start menu, then select "All Programs."

  • Scroll through the list of installed programs until you come to Ad-Aware SE, then click or tap it. A menu will pop up.

  • Tap or click the "Uninstall" option on that menu. Ad-Aware's installer will prompt you to confirm that you wish to remove the program, then will begin the uninstallation process.

Manual Removal

  • Swipe in from the right side of your screen, or point your mouse at the top-right corner of the screen. Tap or click the Search icon when it appears, and type in "This PC." Click or tap "This PC" when it appears in your search results.

  • Tap or click the icon representing your main hard drive, usually labeled "OS (C:)." Double-click or tap "Program Files," and then scroll down to the folder labeled "Lavasoft." Double-click or right-click to open the folder.

  • Scroll down to locate a program named "unregaaw.exe" in the Lavasoft folder. Depending on your settings, you might not see the .exe extension. When you've located that program, double-click or tap to run it.

  • Click or tap "Program Files" on Explorer's navigation bar to return to that level, then select and delete the Lavasoft folder. Delete Ad-Aware from your start menu, then delete its desktop icon and -- if appropriate -- its tile from your Start Screen. Finally, return to Explorer and click or tap on the icon for your C: drive, and locate the Program Data folder. Open it and delete the Lavasoft folder you'll find there.

  • Empty your Recycle Bin to permanently dispose of all your Lavasoft files, then reboot your computer so that any portions of Ad-Aware SE remaining in its memory will be cleared away.

Tips & Warnings

  • Each of these methods works with newer versions of Ad-Aware Antivirus, as well as the older Ad-Aware SE product.
  • The manual method for removing Ad-Aware requires a bit more knowledge of your computer and its file system, so try the automated processes first. The manual uninstallation process is a helpful fallback method if conventional uninstallation fails or gives you error messages.


  • Photo Credit LiudmylaSupynska/iStock/Getty Images
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