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McAfee Update is Shutting Down Windows XP PCs

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 78 comments

There's was trouble packed in with recent McAfee update for Windows XP.

A bad update issued today for McAfee for Windows XP is causing computers worldwide to shutdown and sent itself in a loop of restarts. Engadget received the following statement from McAfee regarding the continuing incident:

McAfee is aware that a number of customers have incurred a false positive error due to incorrect malware alerts on Wednesday, April 21. The problem occurs with the 5958 virus definition file (DAT) that was released on April 21 at 2.00 PM GMT+1 (6am Pacific Time).

Our initial investigation indicates that the error can result in moderate to significant performance issues on systems running Windows XP Service Pack 3.

The faulty update has been removed from McAfee download servers for corporate users, preventing any further impact on those customers. We are not aware of significant impact on consumer customers and believe we have effectively limited such occurrence.

McAfee teams are working with the highest priority to support impacted customers and plan to provide an update virus definition file shortly. McAfee apologizes for any inconvenience to our customers

The story is that the DAT update 5958 deletes the svchost.exe file, which then triggers a false-positive in McAfee itself. Early estimates say that this has affected between 30,000 to 60,000 machines so far.

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  • 25 Hide
    rmmil978 , April 21, 2010 6:55 PM
    Awesome! Pay to have your computer ruined! That's why I use AVG or MS Security Essentials. Maybe they aren't perfect, but they're free, and both of them have successfully saved me a few times.
  • 24 Hide
    norb8 , April 21, 2010 7:15 PM
    nevertellThat's one of the reasons I don't use windblows


    Your obviously a Mac user since any self respecting Linux user admits that Windows is the primary target for spyware and viruses because of its large user base.

    Since your a Mac user, why don't you go to Starbucks and work on your novel or some hippy crap. Leave Toms Hardware to the big boys who can actually change their computer hardware and do something useful with it.
  • 21 Hide
    rhino13 , April 21, 2010 6:58 PM
    McAfee should report itself as a virus that: Results in moderate to significant performance degredation on PCs that were running prior to its instalation.
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    tommysch , April 21, 2010 6:55 PM
    ZOMG, good thing we are lazy on with our update schedule!!!

    I can only begin to grasp what nightmarish scenario this would have produced...

    And the face of the higher managers...
  • 25 Hide
    rmmil978 , April 21, 2010 6:55 PM
    Awesome! Pay to have your computer ruined! That's why I use AVG or MS Security Essentials. Maybe they aren't perfect, but they're free, and both of them have successfully saved me a few times.
  • 13 Hide
    schwiing , April 21, 2010 6:56 PM
    So the moral is...updates are bad..wait..that's not right.
  • 21 Hide
    rhino13 , April 21, 2010 6:58 PM
    McAfee should report itself as a virus that: Results in moderate to significant performance degredation on PCs that were running prior to its instalation.
  • 21 Hide
    Zinosys , April 21, 2010 7:00 PM
    Eset is still good for me.

    McAfee still seems to be more malware than antivirus...
  • 1 Hide
    irtehyar , April 21, 2010 7:04 PM
    AV software - still the worst thing to ever happen to any PC I've owned.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 21, 2010 7:05 PM
    Now which pc will be the lucky one
  • 6 Hide
    N.Broekhuijsen , April 21, 2010 7:06 PM
    avast FTW
  • 2 Hide
    general mau , April 21, 2010 7:11 PM
    Fail.
  • 24 Hide
    norb8 , April 21, 2010 7:15 PM
    nevertellThat's one of the reasons I don't use windblows


    Your obviously a Mac user since any self respecting Linux user admits that Windows is the primary target for spyware and viruses because of its large user base.

    Since your a Mac user, why don't you go to Starbucks and work on your novel or some hippy crap. Leave Toms Hardware to the big boys who can actually change their computer hardware and do something useful with it.
  • 3 Hide
    tayb , April 21, 2010 7:17 PM
    So, uh, they didn't test the update on Windows XP SP3 then eh? Just went ahead and pushed it out? Because, you know, had they done any testing at all it would have crashed their computers and they wouldn't have released the update. College campuses and business across the country are at a standstill thanks to McAfee. Someone is in big trouble.
  • 6 Hide
    curnel_D , April 21, 2010 7:17 PM
    nevertellThat's one of the reasons I don't use windblows

    Cool. Oh, while you're at it, visit this site. "www.linuxappleandfreebsdOShavesecurityflawstoo-letmeproveit.com"

    Get over the smug 'nothing can hurt my computer' attitude, unless you plan on never using the Internet for the rest of your life.
  • 3 Hide
    curnel_D , April 21, 2010 7:18 PM
    norb8Your obviously a Mac user since any self respecting Linux user admits that Windows is the primary target for spyware and viruses because of its large user base. Since your a Mac user, why don't you go to Starbucks and work on your novel or some hippy crap. Leave Toms Hardware to the big boys who can actually change their computer hardware and do something useful with it.

    Or more specifically, those who use their computers to work for a living. :p 
  • 0 Hide
    the_krasno , April 21, 2010 7:25 PM
    Eset and Kaspersky are the best AVs IMO.
  • -7 Hide
    tayb , April 21, 2010 7:27 PM
    norb8Your obviously a Mac user since any self respecting Linux user admits that Windows is the primary target for spyware and viruses because of its large user base. Since your a Mac user, why don't you go to Starbucks and work on your novel or some hippy crap. Leave Toms Hardware to the big boys who can actually change their computer hardware and do something useful with it.


    What does it matter the reasoning for the excess viruses? Windows is more susceptible to getting viruses. There are a multitude of reasons why but those reasons don't really matter. There are less viruses for OS X. You have a much smaller chance of getting a virus on a Mac than you do on a PC. Case in point, the Mac Lab at UT is up and running. All the other computer labs including the engineering lab is still down.
  • 6 Hide
    figgus , April 21, 2010 7:30 PM
    At my last job, we actually had McCrapee kill a bunch of production 98 machines. McCafee refused to fix the problem, saying 98 was no longer a viable OS. We happily dropped them and went to NOD.

    At my current job, we dumped McCrapee and went to NOD because of bloat.

    Even COMCAST has dumped their free McCrapee program and gone to Norton.

    McCrapee's list of customers seems to be dwindling...
  • 0 Hide
    dvmoo7 , April 21, 2010 7:47 PM
    We are working as fast as we can right now trying to repair our non-mission critical pc's across intel world wide. This is a serious issue. Looks like i will have to cancel wed wing night at the local watering hole tonight
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