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Windows 8 upgrade may fail if you have McAfee products installed

Last week I upgraded a Windows 7 laptop to Windows 8. The upgrade process informed me that there were two programs on Windows 7 that were not compatible with Windows 8 and that I was required to remove them to continue the upgrade. I removed both programs but the installation failed so I had to call Microsoft support. The root issue of the failed upgrade was the McAfee virus program.

The first incompatible program I removed was the Intel wireless driver. The install process gave a button which automatically launched the uninstall program. The only gotcha for this was that it rendered wireless connectivity to the internet useless. I later had to use a hard-wired connection for assistance from Microsoft.

The second incompatible application was the McAfee anti-virus program. The upgrade program said that I needed to manually uninstall this program. So I launched Control Panel and opened the Programs tool. I selected McAfee and then uninstalled the program. After the uninstall I restarted the laptop.

The installation of the Windows 8 upgrade resumed automatically but it failed with this message. Something happened.  We can’t tell if your PC is ready to continue installing Windows 8. Try restarting setup. I restarted the installation multiple times, but it continued to fail at this same point.

At this point, I called Microsoft and their level 1 technical support was not able to resolve the issue. The technician created an installation .iso file and then put the Windows 8 installation in a local folder. This setup also failed so he forwarded the ticked to level 2 support and arranged for a call-back the following day.

Before the technician called the next evening I found some tech notes that the McAfee uninstall through the programs interface would leave fragments of the McAfee installation. The solution was to use the McAfee Products Removal Tool (MCRP). After downloading and running this program the Windows 8 upgrade installation succeeded.

I thought my upgrade process was complete. But after getting to Windows 8, everything worked except for Internet Explorer. All of the Windows 8 applications worked properly and could get to the internet. But Internet Explorer would not start from the Metro Screen or from the desktop. The 2nd level support engineer from Microsoft went through a variety of tests but could not solve the problem.

Ultimately, I agreed to a complete installation of Windows 8. This process wiped the drive and installed Windows 8 clean (not an upgrade).  That process proved successful and the laptop now operates on Windows 8. I don’t think the Internet Explorer issue after the upgrade was related to the McAffee issue, but I can’t prove that. One tip for Microsoft is to update the Windows 8 upgrade program to suggest using the MCRP tool when it detects McAfee is installed.