McAfee does my head in

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: to all intents and purposes installing McAfee Anti-virus software is pretty much as bad as getting a virus.  There, I said it.  Again.
I’ve lost count of how many problems I’ve had with customer PCs over the years where the root of the problem was McAfee in one or another of its hideous incarnations.  But here’s one that’s fresh in my head because I’ve only just sorted it out…
A customer had a PC that wouldn’t connect to the iTunes Store in iTunes.  He could do everything else with iTunes, just not connect to the store.  Actually, now I think of it he probably wouldn’t have been able to use the internet radio stations in iTunes either.  He could access the internet and send/receive emails just fine.  iTunes just refused to play ball.  When I ran the Diagnostics in iTunes I got an error –3221.
Well what could cause this?  Probably a firewall I thought.  The customer had McAfee Security Center with VirusScan and Personal Firewall.  They also seemed to have another version of Personal Firewall (called McAfee Personal Firewall Plus) running.  The McAfee Security Center reported that Personal Firewall was not running.  Looking under Windows services I found that it was however.  Stopping this service resulted in a fully functional iTunes.  However after turning it back on McAfee Security Center still didn’t recognise it so I couldn’t add an exception to allow iTunes to work.  After lots of pfaffing about I uninstalled the lot, or so I thought.  There was still one firewall running in the background (I could see the processes) but I couldn’t uninstall it from Control Panel as it told me a required file was missing.  The service had disappeared too.  Weird.
Eventually I found a link to the McAfee Consumer Product Remover (MCPR) on www.downloadsquad.com and gave it a whirl.  It found all of the various residual bits and pieces and removed them all.  After a rebott all was well.  So I suppose McAfee did something right here.  Also, the PC was significantly zippier and more responsive with all that junk gone.
Here’s the link to MCPR: http://download.mcafee.com/products/licensed/cust_support_patches/MCPR.exe
The next thing I intend to do is install ESET Smart Security v4.  It’s not perfect (I don’t think any one security product is really) but it works quietly and consistently, doesn’t slow down a PC much, and comes with great technical support.  If you’ve never used an ESET product I would be happy to give them a very solid thumbs-up.  I’ll admit that I am a reseller of their products but that’s just because I have been very impressed from the first time I used them.

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