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Symantec Software Update Rendered Many PCs Useless

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 61 comments

A software update to Symantec's Endpoint Protection software has pushed many Windows XP machines into blue screen limbo.

Reuters reports that an update to Symantec's anti-virus software caused an undisclosed number of Windows PCs to crash, rendering them useless. The news arrives by way of customer complaints expressing their rage in a support forum on Symantec's website. The company has since acknowledged the problem and issued a fix.

A deeper investigation into the report reveals that a signature update to Symantec's Endpoint Protection software, a security package mainly used in the corporate environment, caused Windows XP computers to crash. More specifically, affected customers saw blue screens after applying Proactive Threat Protection definition version July 11, 2012 rev 11.

"This problem appears to occur only on Windows XP machines running SEP 12.1," Symantec reports. "Symantec has reproduced the problem and is now trying to identify the root cause.  We have posted updated signatures which resolve the issue to the public LiveUpdate production servers."

To work around the blue screen issue, customers are urged to follow a list of steps on the impacted machine, located here.

According to the customers on Symantec's forums, it took the company "hours" to identify and fix the issue. They feel that Symantec should be responsible for fixing their blue-screened computers. "Phoning Symantec support this morning was the start of the hell we went through," one customer said. "The support is a joke, the quality control is a joke, and the software is not much better."

A Symantec spokeswoman told Reuters that the issue only affected "a subset" of customers, and would not confirm how many computers crashed due to the tainted update. However Ron van den Broek, a technology manager with Dutch company PSO Beheer BV, said the bug caused around 150 company computers to fail.

"It did have quite an impact on our business," he said. "My first impression is Symantec is downplaying the effects of this issue."

Another company, a Maryland-based insurance firm, told Reuters that it had to shut down the anti-virus software installed on all of its 150 computers to prevent the update, leaving the company without protection.

What's the story here? Now might be a good time to ditch the decrepit operating system if the funds are available.

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Top Comments
  • 42 Hide
    everlast66 , July 15, 2012 1:08 PM
    "The support is a joke, the quality control is a joke, and the software is not much better."

    Seems like a pretty accurate description of Symantec to me.
  • 36 Hide
    freggo , July 15, 2012 1:55 PM
    "ditch the decrepit operating system"...

    Wrong conclusion. Ditch Symantec !!!
  • 31 Hide
    southernshark , July 15, 2012 1:57 PM
    Yes obviously MS is a bad company since its 11 year old operating system was shut down by a third party program which MS had nothing to do with.

    More proof that the "i" crowd are "i"diots.
Other Comments
  • 42 Hide
    everlast66 , July 15, 2012 1:08 PM
    "The support is a joke, the quality control is a joke, and the software is not much better."

    Seems like a pretty accurate description of Symantec to me.
  • 30 Hide
    mayne92 , July 15, 2012 1:34 PM
    Symantec and McAfee are both pieces of overpriced junk. I'm not going to go into my many years of stories of how they are junk - I'm sure everyone knows this by now.
  • 28 Hide
    Camikazi , July 15, 2012 1:41 PM
    coder543Yes.. time to ditch the decrepit operating system called Windows. Buy Mac, install Linux, use Chromebooks or Tablets. Whatever it takes... it'll most likely end up lowering your IT costs.

    Actually I believe those OSes mass used in a company will raise TCO. Reason being that those OSes usually don't come with built in software maker support like MS has which means IT will have to learn how to fix every little problem themselves instead of having specialists a call away to help fix it fast. That is one problem with free, since it is free there is no one but yourself and maybe scrounging through forums to fix problems. That is one of the reasons a lot of companies stay with MS, it is cheaper overall to use Windows.
  • 25 Hide
    Bloob , July 15, 2012 1:49 PM
    CamikaziActually I believe those OSes mass used in a company will raise TCO. Reason being that those OSes usually don't come with built in software maker support like MS has which means IT will have to learn how to fix every little problem themselves instead of having specialists a call away to help fix it fast. That is one problem with free, since it is free there is no one but yourself and maybe scrounging through forums to fix problems. That is one of the reasons a lot of companies stay with MS, it is cheaper overall to use Windows.

    Also the fact that companies often have software that is "windows only", so moving to other platforms might not be possible.
  • 36 Hide
    freggo , July 15, 2012 1:55 PM
    "ditch the decrepit operating system"...

    Wrong conclusion. Ditch Symantec !!!
  • 31 Hide
    southernshark , July 15, 2012 1:57 PM
    Yes obviously MS is a bad company since its 11 year old operating system was shut down by a third party program which MS had nothing to do with.

    More proof that the "i" crowd are "i"diots.
  • 25 Hide
    kristoffe , July 15, 2012 2:20 PM
    @coder543... lower IT costs by purchasing macs? Are you full on troll or just a little slow?
  • 14 Hide
    nforce4max , July 15, 2012 2:20 PM
    One more reason why I don't use their crap excuses for software. I've seen how peoples printers wouldn't work until the the Symantec and McAfee bloatware was uninstalled. Worse it once kept my mom's comp from even connecting to the net until it was removed.
  • 21 Hide
    Shin-san , July 15, 2012 2:32 PM
    TomsHardwareWhat's the story here? Now might be a good time to ditch the decrepit operating system if the funds are available.
    Or time to ditch Symantec
  • 15 Hide
    digiex , July 15, 2012 2:32 PM
    Quote:
    Symantec Software Update Rendered Many PCs Useless


    It's not useless, you can still boot it in safemode.
  • 11 Hide
    leafman420 , July 15, 2012 2:41 PM
    Symantec? hahaha well I guess if this was your choice in anti virus then you just found out what most of the IT world know. also on another note "FUCK APPLE!!!!!!" I do think XP is still competing. funny how ppl try to put something down that WORKS. roflmao.
  • 10 Hide
    guardianangel42 , July 15, 2012 3:09 PM
    coder543@Camikaze: this is only one example: http://arstechnica.com/information [...] ng-ubuntu/


    Alright, and what's the best 3D modeling, design, and CAD software available on Ubuntu? What's the best video game development software, infrastructure management tools, and medical record keeping software available?

    Face it, the police don't NEED more than Ubuntu to do what they do. Other people do.
  • 10 Hide
    jojesa , July 15, 2012 3:31 PM
    I want to know which third party software is Symantec blaming on their statement.
    "The root cause of the issue was an incompatibility ... between some third party software that implements a file system driver using kernel stack based file objects."


  • 17 Hide
    JohnA , July 15, 2012 3:44 PM
    kristoffeno. simply ditch XP. FTW. Why keep that dog**** OS? At least it's not vista, but really, it's not even supported anymore, ergo why use av software that is update-able on such a legacy piece of poop? Poop. ANd how many times is symantec going to kill XP over the years before people drop that piece of double scoop poop?


    Well, I for one have several PC's where upgrading isn't an option. Simply because they have custom software on them that would be broken under 7, and the cost to rewrite it all would total in the millions. We don't all just play games with our PC's. When you get into control systems, robotics, CAD etc., you'll learn it takes years for developers to get the support they need from the component makers to risk switching operating systems. We bought a new 12 million dollar welder last year with XP. The manufacturer started the 7 switch over on their systems, but thinks they will be about 2 more years before they and the entire supply chain will be ready to complete the transition. Stability is job ONE in manufacturing. BTW, we just got our last NT system upgraded to XP only a year ago. That system only had intranet access anyway.
  • -4 Hide
    notsleep , July 15, 2012 3:56 PM
    maybe symantec should drop support for winxp in their products? ms is going to stop supporting winxp soon. if the mother company no longer support its child product, then why should third party companies continue to support the aborted kid?
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