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Symantec Software Update Rendered Many PCs Useless

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.

  • everlast66
    "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.
    Reply
  • "Now might be a good time to ditch the decrepit operating system if the funds are available."

    That, or use a FOSS OS which costs, oh, $0, and, yeah, no antivirus needed either.
    Reply
  • mayne92
    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.
    Reply
  • coder543
    Yes.. 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.
    Reply
  • Camikazi
    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.
    Reply
  • JackNaylorPE
    When every Windows "Upgrade" inevitably results in a reduction in PC performance, why should users upgrade ? Most of them still offer sacrifices to t e PC gods that they were wise enough to stick w/ XP over Vista. Aren't XP users getting the same experience on "Patch Tuesday" comes along as other Windows OS users ?

    When Symantec started spending more development time figuring out who to make PC's go haywire users life miserable the moment when their subscription expired, Symatntec stopped being a company whose products I support.
    Reply
  • Bloob
    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.
    Reply
  • freggo
    "ditch the decrepit operating system"...

    Wrong conclusion. Ditch Symantec !!!
    Reply
  • coder543
    @Camikaze: this is only one example: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2009/03/french-police-saves-millions-of-euros-by-adopting-ubuntu/
    Reply
  • southernshark
    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.
    Reply