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Our award-winning products offer protection that meets your antivirus, identity, and privacy needs.

How Does Antivirus Software Work? Antivirus software works to block viruses from entering your computer system and kill or quarantine viruses that have some broken through the firewall.

The Virus Database

To begin protecting your computer system, Antivirus software updates its virus database by using an automatic web crawler that scans the Internet and identifies malicious software by name, type and destructive capability. With that information, the software also scans for the way to delete the malicious software.

Once the scan is complete, the program is prepared to impede the entry of malware on a computer system or destroy it, if it is already on the system.

The Firewall

Once the virus database is updated, McAfee Antivirus software strengthens a computer’s firewall. Some antivirus software isn’t equipped to keep out all threats—especially new and complex threats—because all software doesn’t perform a search that is thorough enough to identify and handle the Internet’s new threats at This is not the case with McAfee Antivirus software, and this is also why the firewall is nearly impenatrable. Nothing can enter your computer system without you letting it in, and a warning is issued whenever there is a perceived threat.

Learn how to redeem a McAfee product card that you purchased in-store and activate your subscription at Redeeming also allows you to download and install your McAfee product.

Product features

Centralized management

The McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator management console can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. It provides greater visibility, simplifies operations, boosts IT productivity, unifies security, and reduces costs.

Advanced anti-malware protection

Our anti-malware engine is continually updated by McAfee Global Threat Intelligence and works efficiently across multiple operating systems.

Machine learning analysis

Detect zero-day threats in near real time by examining how they look and behave to halt threats designed to evade detection.

How to activate the McAfee software that came pre-installed on your new Windows PC?
Follow the steps below to activate the subscription for the McAfee software that came pre-installed on your new Microsoft Windows PC.
NOTE: McAfee strongly recommends that you register using your current email address; if you ever need to reset your password, we send an email to the address you used to register.
  1. Open your McAfee software and click Your SubscriptionNOTE: You can normally find this option under the My Info tab, but the location might vary depending on the software that you are using.
  2. Click Edit Profile. You are taken to the McAfee website to complete the remaining steps.
  3. Type your email address, and then click Next.
  4. Create a strong password and click Next. A strong password contains a combination of at least eight lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols. For advice on creating a strong password, see the McAfee blog post on 15 tips to create a better password.
If you encounter issues verifying your subscription, contact Technical Support.
How to install the McAfee software on a different device?

Use these steps to start installing your McAfee product on a secondary computer, such as your child’s PC or Mac, from your primary PC or Mac. For example, you can send an installation link from your main computer, and have your child click the link to complete the installation on their computer.

Step 1: On the primary computer where you want to start the process

  1. Go to
  2. Click My Account.
  3. Click Sign In.
  4. Type:
    • The email address for your McAfee account.
    • The password for your McAfee account.
  5. Click Log in.

Step 2: Send a download link to the secondary computer

  1. Hover your mouse over My Account.
  2. Click Subscriptions.
  3. Click Add Device next to the product you want to install.
  4. Select the Windows or Mac device type.
  5. Click Send Link, then:
    1. Type the email address for an email account on the PC or Mac that you want to install to.
    2. Click Send Email.An email with a download link is sent to the computer you want to install to.

Step 3: On the secondary computer

  1. Open the email application.
  2. Open the email from McAfee.
  3. Click the download link in the email.
  4. Follow the prompts to complete the installation.
If the install to your Windows PC fails, you might need to run the Pre-Install tool. See the Related Information section for more details.


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