Dear Norton AntiVirus,

I have recently installed updates to your products and wish to inform you that your product can kiss my ass.

One assumes that since your product is designed to protect computers you might, in fact, know something about software and software installation. One would assume wrongly.

It all started when the “check for updates” popup popped up. It was kind of you to let me know that the subscription expired and that I could conveniently renew online.

Things kinda went to Hell after that. You see, instead of walking me through a “Wizard”, your marketing idiot savants kept showing the the upgrades-for-only-$9.95 form. Now I’m pretty computer savvy and and can navigate through confusing forms, but for I my vaunted powers, I still couldn’t delete the $7.99 Extended Download™ charge. And even when I put the quantity to zero, it still was charged to my card.

A person with superhuman patience may have called your customer service and spend an additional 20 minutes trying to reach a human to reverse the charge, but I was just thrilled to get through your glitzy renewal gauntlet.

Sadly, after your marketers finished with me, your software engineers proceeded to pound me up the patootie.

Please tell me why the program that installs an upgrade requires the user to hunt down the existing application and manually uninstall it? Again, I’m pretty knowledgeable, but Miss Daisy down the street may not know about the Control Panel’s Add/Remove Program feature.

So after separately uninstalling the LiveUpdate, Personal Firewall and virus protection and a manual reboot, I was able to run the upgrade.

Total time wasted: 35 minutes.

The next time I upgrade, I’ll be looking for your distinctive McAfee logo.


Cranky Gordon

UPDATE: Since Nigel is obviously peaved about this thread not dying, this is for you, my friend.



  1. Step 1: Download ClamWin.

    Step 2: Install ClamWin.

    Step 3: Watch ClamWin update effortlessly, for free, while protecting your computer and using fewer system resources.

    Step 4: Crack a beer.

  2. Fuck Norton. I had to re-install Windows XP because Norton failed to protect me from a virus, and was unable to remove said virus.

    After the install, I had to re-install Norton. I still had the CD, but couldn’t find the activation code. Even though I have an active subscription through September, Ghandi, in tech support, told me that I wasn’t ‘permitted’ to re-install Anti-Virus 2005, so he wouldn’t give me an activation code. I needed to buy the latest.
    I told him that McAfee comes free with my high speed, and to fuck off.

  3. I got tired of this scam of having to pay on a regular basis to upgrade someone else’s property. These software comapanies license us to ‘use’ their product. They own it we merely rent it and it ought to be their responsibility to maintain, continually, the same level of protection when then product was originally purchased.

    So I bailed on them long ago and went on the search for free products to do the same thing. What I ended up with and now run on all my computers is:

    AVG Free Personal addition. I have it set to update every night at 2:00am.

    Zone Alarm Personal Firewall. Updates periodically

    Lavasoft’s Ad-Ware SE Personal Addition. Run this everyday manually after checking for updates.

    And, as Preston mentioned earlier, I find Trend’s products to be good. By googling ‘online virus scan’ the free Trend Housecall online virus scan is on the first page. I have used this in the past when I got infected using these ‘big name-brand’ products. Only the Trend Housecall online scanner and Panda Software’s Activscan found the infections. They couldn’t clean it but did provide the manual method of removing it.

    And it all cost nothing.

  4. Sorry both of you, but when it comes to virus protection, I’m going with the big corporations. That’s what I as a capitalist do.

    Norton sucks, but McAfee has been very good. So I’ll be sticking with them.

    How do I know that these Clams you speak of, Rob, keep their virus definitions up to date? How do I know that the open source kiddies behind it aren’t the same 15 year old Moldovians who inject spyware? Huh?

  5. And how do you know that Norton isn’t creating the viruses, and then selling you the cures, as a business model?

    That’d be a lot easier to believe than a network of open-source individuals all keeping a secret about infecting users of their collaborative product with viruses

  6. I have always used Norton, and have no complaints. While some viruses have gotten thru, that is to be expected. The protection can only protect once they know what the threat is. No program can protect against what ever anyone can think of, before seeing it. Maybe you all have unrealistic expectations. Good luck with the free stuff, I can also imagine someone has made it a hobby as well as the attackers, so that might work. Still won’t protect you against the latest!

  7. Mallenv, it ain’t the protection, it is the convoluted nature of the Norton control panel, the many memory consuming processes and, of course, the pain in the tushie upgrade process.

  8. “Total time wasted: 35 minutes.”

    You got off lucky. I went through the automated process and they promptly took my money. The LiveUpdate didn’t work and I went through email hell for two days trying to contact the right person, whether it was the outsourced vendor/distributor who screwed up or Symantec and their subscriber database, to handle my issue. After giving up their “new-and-improved” streamlined process and navigating their demon-possessed on-line decision tree help pages, I found a tech support number to call.

    I got to speak with “Ghandi” too, and my conversation was basically an echo. I had to ask him to repeat everything he said because I could barely understand him. Being rather tech savvy and IT certified, this wasn’t a killer obstacle for me but was pretty frustrating. Naturally, his solution didn’t work He suggested I wait 24-hrs and try again. Fat chance.

    So, after doing some searching and debugging (not using Symantec as a guide), I discovered a workaround (which wouldn’t have self-applied even if I had waited for dinosaurs to reinhabit the Earth) and forced the resubscription to kick in. It is now working in spite of Symantec. Other family members who experienced the same ordeal of a process abandoned ship and bought another program swearing to never look at Symantec again.

    Kinda a shame since the utility suite is actually very good… but the updating process is absolutely abysmal. Let’s just say that QC at their labs got an earful from me. But they did get my money, too, so corporate won’t care.

  9. You too, huh? I upgraded to 2006 back in November, and nothing but problems. Stupid thing runs something every hour and 15 minutes or so on XP, using almost all the resources, making the laptop virtually unusable for about 15 minutes. And, the nimrods have no friggin answers.

    Have you tried the free upgrade to 2007? Or is that what you have?

    Works OK on vista, though.

    Better then MacAfee. Have a friend who has it, and it uses tons of resources all the time, and still lets through virus’.

  10. “Geek thread”?

    You’ve got nerve, Nigel Howzabout we keep it alive by posting Donnie Iris’ “Do you compute” video?

    AD, Teach, I feel your pain. It’s like peeling an onion. Each layer is very unpleasant and you just don’t know how may freakin’ layers there are.

  11. It has gotten to the point where I am ignoring their “have we solved your problem?” emails, which they keep sending.

    One thing: if you had 2006, and did the add on to 2007, dump the whole thing, reinstall 2006, then do the full 2007 install. You lose some minor things, but, will run much better.

  12. Norton SUCKS. It invades your computer and damn near takes it over. Try AVG for anti-virus protection – it is free, effective, and doesn’t ruin your computer.

  13. Norton was good, when Windows 3.1 was new and exciting…

    Now, they are the resource hog you know and love. Overblown and undersupported.

    AVG catches everything, updates automatically, and if you have to pay to get that ‘protected’ feeling, they’ll let you.

  14. AD,

    Know why hak is smiling?

    I’ll tell ya. Because even though he doesn’t know enough about American culture or the English language to recognize that this is a humor(ish) blog and not, in fact, Symantec’s Norton site, he will nevertheless be hired as my replacement within 5 years.

  15. So, Cranky, hak’ll be doing the blogging you won’t do? Then someone will have to do the reading/commenting here that I won’t do. We all have our limits, and no-toad blogging is mine.

  16. AD,

    Considering how cheap Preston is, I expect to be outsourced very soon.

    However, Toad Blogging™ is mine and will go with me. There will always be room for you to comment. That is, until you start selling perscription meds online.

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