How to uninstall Symantec Endpoint Protection 11 WITHOUT the uninstall password

So you inherited a PC? Sweet. But dang, it has Symantec’s crapware Endpoint Protection 11 on it. Tried uninstalling, but you need a password? Don’t know it? Sorry dude.

Actually, there’s good news. There is a way to remove SEP 11 without the password. The first (and easier) way is detailed here. Unfortunately, that way didn’t work for me (I think Symantec disabled it in an update), so I found another way to remove it.

Disclaimer: Don’t do this on a work-issued PC. Your company may have policies about such things, which, if violated, could get you in trouble.

Steps to remove Symantec Endpoint Protection 11 WITHOUT knowing the uninstall password:

  1. Click on Start -> Run (or Window Key + R if you don’t have the Run menu item)
  2. Type smc -stop. If it prompts for a password, open regedit (Window Key + R; type regedit; hit ENTER) and then navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Symantec\Symantec Endpoint Protection\SMC. Look for the smcexit key, delete it, and then type smc -stop in the Run box again. Note: my key was called smcexit-test or something like that, but deleting it had the same effect.
  3. Now, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Symantec\Symantec Endpoint Protection\SMC. Look for the smcinstdata key; delete it.
  4. You should now be able to use Add/Remove programs (or Programs & Features in Vista & 7) to remove SEP 11 without supplying the uninstall password.
  5. You’re now free from the shackles of Symantec. Enjoy a 10-15% performance boost. :)

For a free replacement antivirus/anti-spyware program, I’d recommend Microsoft Security Essentials. I’ve used it for a couple years with no problems, and it seems to go easy on my system resources.

Did this guide work for you? Let me know either way below.

Andrew Block

I (Andrew Block) am the Director of Analytics and Insights for MSP-C, an awesome brand journalism company in Minneapolis, MN. Insights are everywhere - and this blog explores that premise. One part geek and one part analyst, I like to blog about techy and insightful things. Or insightful techy things...or....

Andrew Block wrote 119 posts

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  • Raf

    Great! You have solved my problem by not delete everything! Thanks

  • anurag singla

    it works before window patch update but now i can’t delete the key please help……

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  • Gianni

    Andrew, I wish to thank you so much for the valuable help. Your tips has worked like a charm at the very first attempt. Shame on Symantec for their ridicoulus crapware. All the best from Come Lake, Italy. Gianni

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  • john

    it says “unable to delete all specified values”.. this is not working dude..

  • Aspixis

    You are the BOSS man !!!!

  • hoho

    I can’t get past the SEP logon dialog box that appears before Windows turns on. Nothing happened when I tried the Windows button + R. Is the R case sensitive?

  • SlebaK

    Thank you so much, this was about the only method which I found that actually worked

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    I have fun with, result in I discovered exactly what I was having a look for. You’ve ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  • MM

    i am unable to delete smc-exit test and smcinstdata as well…what to do ? i dont wannauninstall it..just want to disable it..any ideas ?

  • Robert Jackson

    I purchased a hp mini note book from an auction and I powered it on it is asking for an account name and password. it is endpoint security log in. How do i uninstall this in order to get to boot up.

  • jakir

    great, thanks

  • Nat

    Thank you!

  • Thanks

    Wow finally a solution that works!! Thank you so much. Last time I use any kind of symantec antivirus.

  • Rajesh

    Thank you … It is working for me…

  • Suren

    ‘m facing problem while deleting this key “smcinstdata”
    it says “unable to delete all specified values. “

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  • Yue Yang

    Andrew, thank you so much. I’ve tried many methods without success and finally I got yours and it worked!

  • busdriverbill

    You must have explained it well because this old retired truck driver had endpoint gone in under 5 minutes!

  • beach004

    I spoke too soon! I went back to your first note and tried the first link, killing the process. That worked! Thank you!

  • beach004

    I’m trying! smc -stop is that what I’m supposed to type? It doesn’t recognize it, I guess; nothing at all happens. I’m been trying all night!

  • awesome

    nicely done. thank you very much. :)

  • http://gravatar.com/fiddlestix fiddlestix

    Have my babies!

  • Mukund

    I was trying to install Win 8. Symantec Endpoint Protection was not compatible with it. So I tried to uninstall, it asked for a password and I did not know it. So I tried your method but as Vladimir said, the file reappeared instantly. So I did as Vladimir mentioned, revoking the settings. But when I uninstalled it again, it said it could not read the key and it cannot uninstall. Any Solutions for thins. I am really bugged this antivirus program Thank You

  • http://gravatar.com/jack007 cheathong

    It is not work …How should I uninstall

  • http://www.aidem.in Ajay

    I M unable to uninstall to Symantec

  • johnnydude

    Thank you so much!!! This worked perfect for me. I’ve been trying to get rid of that software for quite some time. You are very good!!! Thank you.

  • synergygirl

    THANKYOU!!! This didn’t work the first time, but when going back in and doing it again when things re-appeared…FINALLY…it WORKED!! Tried several other ways first, but this way…this way REALLY works!!!

  • bugmenot

    Many thanks !! It worked as discribed !!

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    Ridding the world of Symantec, one user at a time.

  • Alok

    Great solution…..Thanks.

  • Ron

    Andrew<

    Are you still taking requests?
    If so when I do SMC STOP nothing happens.
    Not sure how to navigate to step#3.

    Thanks,
    Ron

  • hajee

    Hi,

    i am trying to delete the Regestry values but unfartunatlyu i am getting the error unable to delete all specific values. i am having admin rights in my company provided laptop but still not able to delete it. Please advice on it.
    note Users are created thorugh AD

  • naaruu

    symatec is not anit-virus its big virus itself which just slows down the PC

  • Eksss

    Many many thanks, finally I kill this terible program.

  • Prakash Uttangi

    Thanks for steps, It works for me.
    Prakash Uttangi

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    Iouri – thanks for reading. Glad it worked for you.

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    Hugh – I wonder if Symantec broke this in an update? You’ve got 2011, right?

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    GodKnows Jhomz – you’re welcome.

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    No prob sinko.

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    hey nick – another (instance of Symantec) bites the dust. Music to my ears!

  • sinko

    it worked for me,,,thanks for the info u r great

  • http://myukpost.com nick davenport

    many thanks, took me hours to clean up a clients laptop, this horrible programme finally gone for ever

    many thanks

  • http://www.jhomzworld2012.blogspot.com GodKnows Jhomz

    Thanks for this !!!
    I removed successfully this f***ing SYMANTEC ANTI-VIRUS :))
    THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!!

  • Guilherme

    Thank you so much! Worked just fine!

  • Hugh

    unfortunately did not work for me. None of the registry keys mentioned exist

  • Kim

    Thanks ! :) Saved me a lot of time not doing a manual uninstall.

  • Shammy

    Try Thanks Buddy

  • srikanth

    thank you so much dude…. it works

  • http://www.workingscripts.com Iouri Chadour

    Thanks a lot – perfect solution

  • Pingback: Can’t Uninstall Symantec Antivirus/Endpoint Protection; Requires Password — Technipages

  • John

    thanks, this is the best guide & this worked for me.

    this is the worst virus program ever

  • Deepak

    Thanks for this tip, nothing else worked for me except this.
    Cheers….

  • Lance

    Works so well! One time I thought If I should just delete the symatrc in the program files in the drive well thank you for the method. :)

  • Vladimir

    I’ve found that when I delete SmcInstData key, it immediately returns back, so uninstall process requires password again. I’v tried Flair’s method several times, but unfortunately. Then I’ve changed security settings for registry branch, containing this key, namely, revoked permissions for all user including SYSTEM (break of inheritance needed) and it has stopped to appear! After that uninstal process runs successfully without password!

  • Padiamon

    Thanks a lot.Works so nice .

  • Anup Vishwakarma

    It really works. I don’t know how others are not able to do it.

  • Flair

    Wait! I’m trying again after seeing “frustrated”‘s post re: smcinstdata coming back. I failed to notice that it did show up again in the registry. I removed it again, then immediately tried the uninstall. It just finished and is prompting for the reboot. Thank you!

  • Flair

    Fun thread. Thanks to all you contributors, I’ve got smc SEP stopped and not starting as a service. But I cannot get it uninstalled. Still prompts for password. My installation (v.11.0.6005.562) does not have the smcexit key (or anything like it). It does have the SmcInstData key, but I’ve deleted it and still get the password prompt. I’ve got MS Sec Ess running, so I’m fine, but I’d like to get the uninstall completed. Any *more* ideas?

  • John M. Keller (ITBeast)

    Andrew,

    Just to let you know I am a Windows System Administrator on a development Network with a Big Name Defense Contractor. So I do qualify as the one person who can legally remove Symantec Endpoint Protection from a PC or Server, but I did not remove the anti-virus for most of the reasons listed (Hate the program, inherited the PC and it came with it, and so forth). My reasons for this is the previous Windows Admin on this project did not leave any of the passwords for this project so I could update the skylink file (this is what replaced the grc dat file in previous versions of Symatec Anti-Virus)so my management console could mange the anti-virus clients on my projects pc. I would get the “Enter Password” Box. Your method allowed me to update the skylink file and update the clients without having to either remove or rip out the symantec Endpoint client, Thanks for making me look good.

  • Brad Smith

    You rock man it actually works.

  • davisbr

    You are the bomb. I tried a few other methods, including the Help Desk Geek one, trying to kill the msiec (I spent over two hours and multiple restarts trying that one LOL).

    I did disable all the Symantec services, and renamed the ccapp file in the program files\common shares\symantec folder prior to finding your page.

    NOTE: To disable the “one service that won’t let you stop it or disable it” (I think it was Symantec Management Client) …just go into services, and first disable it, then click the Recovery tab and change all the failures to Take No Action and in the Log On tab choose to This account, and enter a user with administrator rights (create one if you don’t) and enter in the password (create one if you don’t have one) and apply. And restart.

    …the smc -stop from the Run worked fine (no error …and I didn’t even see an smcexit key), and was able to immediately delete the SmcInstData key.

    And when I went to Add-Remove this time, and clicked the Symantec Remove key, there weren’t ANY questions. It took awhile removing, and then a pop-up said I needed to restart.

    Perfect.

    Thanks very much!!!!!

  • cedric

    Perfect…it works for me.
    Merci.

  • Tim

    Worked amazingly! Perfect guide. Thank you so much!

  • Ricardo

    Andrew, I have tried to follow your commands to delete Symantec to no avail. Once I type the msc -stop I do not get any response. Please advise. Ricardo

  • frustrated

    Problem solved. Password still set to default: “symantec”. Uninstall worked perfectly first time.

  • frustrated

    Didn’t work for me. smcinstdata keeps coming back after deleting. Any ideas?

  • http://NA Brian

    Perfect! Thanks so much!

  • Daniel

    Hi Andrew

    Just FYI, on Symantec Endpoint Protection 12 it doesn’t work. This reg key no longer exist… any thoughts?

    Thanks!!

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    Thanks, Mark. It really had its “hooks” in your system, didn’t it? Almost like a…virus? Coincidence? You be the judge. :)

  • Mark

    This worked for me after 3 attempts (the deleted files regenerated each time I restarted the pc).

    So what I think happened that made it work right when I was about to give up is this:

    After deleting the files in steps 2 and 3 I ran the -smc stop command from step 2 again and this time I was not prompted for a password.

    Then I went and reopened the add/remove programs in control panel and clicked to remove the program. To my dismay the password window popped back up again. I closed that password window but I left the add/remove programs window open.

    Then I noticed that the smc_exit_test file had regenerated. So then I deleted it again and went back to the add/remove programs window that I left open and clicked on the remove button next to the Symantec Endpoint. All of a sudden it worked!

    I don’t have an explanation for how this happened.

    I will never use a Symantec product again.

    Thank you sir for freeing me from the grip of death of that parasite!

  • Timon

    Hey Andrew!
    First i’d like to thank you for this posts, it helped me alot. Now to my problem:

    I’ve had a Trojan yesterday, the notebook is NOT in the company network actually. Now i deinstalled Symantec. Will the security people get a notification about the infection anways? I hope not, otherwise i think i’ll get in big trouble. :(

    PS: sorry for bad english i’m from europe.

    THANKS ALOT!
    timon

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    Awesome. 1 Symantec install down, 10 bazillion to go….

  • Sankar

    Nice it’s Working.

  • Marius Lund

    Worked for me too, thanks a bunch. Eset Nod32 here we come :)

  • Jenny

    Worked like a charm!! Yours were the only instructions that (a) made sense to a technologically challenged person like me, and (b) actually worked. Thanks so much!

  • sss13

    Thanx a lot!

  • Speechless

    Hey! Thank you soo much!!! You don’t know how long I’ve been trying to uninstall Symantec, and this way worked amazingly well! Thanks so much!

  • Mari

    I can’t thank you enough for this. It solved an enormous amount of problems at my work.

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    Siddharth — awesome!

  • nonthpravit

    Thanks…..It good solve.

  • Siddharth

    Man….you’re a genius…It worked…..

  • http://twitter.com/dayvi Dayvi

    Worked for me too, thanks a lot!

  • chancinater

    Dude, thank you……so……..much…….

  • mike

    thanks, worked like a charm

  • ToM

    Hey Man thankX a 2 Ton…i searched everwhere but couldn’t find the process of uninstallation……But your method worked……Thanks Again….:D

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    AntiSymantec, no need for name calling. But yeah it works fine, for me.

  • AntiSymantec

    Bimal – Its user error, don’t be retarded and it will work

    This worked great, thanks.

  • r9guy

    error dialog “unable to delete value”
    OS Vista SP2, running as administrator also through “net user administrator /active:yes”. is the registry key protected? please help to find solution

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    Alok – glad it worked. :)

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    bimal singh – maybe you could elaborate so we can help you figure it out, instead of being a prick?

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    Jackie, Badr – no problem. :)

  • http://www.xx.com Badr

    Thanks man, it worked perfectly :]

  • Jackie

    Ohh this worked..ty so much

  • bimal singh

    fuck u….it dosen’t work….

  • Alok

    Man you Awesome…!! thanks a ton, nothing else worked for me. THANKS..:)

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    Osep, no problem. Just make sure you install another antivirus…again I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials.

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    Hey Chris – thanks for the gold star. :) I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: I can’t stand the Symantec Endpoint Protection suite. It’s so bloated and intrusive, and it needs to go away. Glad the trick worked for you!

  • Osep

    This is 100% working!! It did removed the supplied password from Symantec End Point 11 without using any software. Thanks for sharing sir…

  • Chris

    One gold star for you sir! I’ve spent months trying to remove this software. It prevented my laptop from shutting for hours last week running a system scan I couldn’t turn off, and I had to like be somehwere! I forced it off by holding the power button and it fuxored the whole install. Never again!

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    Matt, Zishbu:

    Symantec is the worst. Good riddance I say. Thanks for reading.

  • http://Google.com Zishbu

    Like Matt I never leave feedback, but this was awesome. Couldn’t be easier. Thanks!

  • Matt

    I never leave a comment… but this helped soooo much! THANK YOU!!!!!

  • dursten135
  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    Ridding the world of Symantec … on uninstall at a time. :) Glad it worked for you guys.

  • Steven Rose

    Thanks for the info! Think I may have the last Symantec infested workstation off of our network now.

  • AntiVirus

    Nice tweak for the password! THANKS!

  • Slame

    Great. Nothing except this helped me. Thank you very much!

  • http://andrewblock.net Andrew Block

    You’re welcome, Atul.

  • Atul Sharan

    Thank you!!!! It worked for me.