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Preparing your Windows computer to download and install McAfee Consumer products


Affected Suites:
All McAfee products for Windows

Affected Operating Systems:
Microsoft Windows 8, 8.1
Microsoft Windows 7
Microsoft Windows Vista
Microsoft Windows XP


This article will help you perform basic steps to prepare your computer for the installation of your McAfee Consumer Security product, using either Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.

Before proceeding, verify that your computer meets at least the minimum requirements. For more information, see article TS100410.

NOTE: These are minimum requirements only. It means is that the McAfee product will install and run, but you can get more satisfactory performance with a computer that well exceeds the minimum requirements.


  1. Update Microsoft Windows. To ensure that your computer is up-to-date, do the following: 
    1. Open WindowsUpdate. You can open WindowsUpdate from your Start menu, or open your web browser and go to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com.
    2. Follow all on-screen instructions to ensure you have the most current Microsoft Service Pack and all Critical or Important updates.
  2. Download and run the McAfee PreInstall Tool:
    1. Click the following link and save the file to your desktop:

    2. Double-click McPreInstall.exe.
    3. Click the Start button inside the Preinstall Tool.
    4. Read the warning message and click OK to agree to the changes.
    5. After the Preinstall Tool completes, click OK.
    6. Click Close and restart your computer.
  3. Temporarily disable any third-party popup blockers.
    Some commonly used toolbars have a built-in popup blocker. Depending on the toolbar’s blocking settings, you might have to temporarily turn it off to install some software. Remember to re-enable the pop-up blocker after installing your McAfee suite, if required. Each toolbar has different settings for turning off the popup blocker, but you can access most of them from the Settings or Options menus on the toolbar.
  4. Uninstall any existing security software.
    Some security software (anti-virus, firewalls, and so on) will not function correctly with other similar programs installed. Uninstalling previous security software, including any previously installed McAfee programs, should prevent any conflicts from occurring during or after installation. For a list of incompatible third-party applications which must be uninstalled, see TS101083.

    Common security software to look for (not a complete list) includes products from: Norton, Symantec, Panda, Zone Labs (or Zone Alarm), Trend Micro, AVG, AVAST, Microsoft's Security Essentials, E-SET, Kaspersky, and PC-cillin. If you encounter any issues while uninstalling software from companies other than McAfee, contact the software manufacturer for support.
  5. Disk cleanup and defragmentation:
    1. Windows comes with a native disc defragmentation tool and cleanup utility. There are also many excellent third-party applications you can use. McAfee advises you use extreme caution downloading, installing, or running these tools from the Internet as they can contain malware and have the potential to permanently remove files. Ensure you trust the website, and that it shows as green rated in SiteAdvisor.
    2. If you have ever had a McAfee product installed on your computer, McAfee recommends that you download and run the McAfee Consumer Product Removal (MCPR) tool. You can download this tool from http://us.mcafee.com/apps/supporttools/mcpr/mcpr.asp 

      If you are sure that you do not have any McAfee products installed on your computer, skip this step.
    3. Restart your computer.

Related Information

The McAfee PreInstall tool contains links to other useful diagnostic and account management tools:
  • My Account is the web interface that allows you to manage your McAfee subscription information as well as downloading your McAfee products. You can always access My Account by opening a web browser and going to http://home.mcafee.com.
  • McAfee Virtual Technician (MVT) can diagnose and fix many problems related to your McAfee product. For problems it cannot fix, it collects information to make Technical Support more effective. 
  • The WebMER tool collects McAfee Product data from your computer so that the problem can be analyzed and resolved by McAfee Technical Support. 
  • Preinstall also uses McAfee tools to trace Firewall events, get full build and version information, and create verbose log files to assist Technical Support in resolving your issue.

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