Security

What's the deal with Symantec anymore?


As I've mentioned before, to keep my IT skills fresh I maintain a small consulting business on the side of my regular day-job here at TechRepublic.An increasingly worrisome trend I've noticed lately is just how many problems I'vehad to fix as a result of problems arising from Symantec software. Whether it's Norton Anti-Virus, NortonInternet Security or (Lord Forbid) SystemWorks, it seems as soon as the user says they're having problems with their computer and you start asking questions, the common denominator is often something Symantec residing on the

system.

I've always liked Symantec software. I used to think that Norton AntiVirus was better than some others on the market like McAfee. And back in the days of DOS, Norton Utilities were an absolute must have in yours oftware toolkit. Maybe it's me, but recently it seems like today there's just

something wrong  with Symantec software.

For example, a recent customer was having problems with her laptop running incredibly slowly. It would take 15 - 20 minutes on start up before she'd have control over her desktop. A quick trip into the Event Viewer showed that LiveUpdate was having fits trying to access the update server. Even though her Internet connection was otherwise good, the updating service would continually

try to access the servers, fail, and retry again. Endlessly. In the process, the whole computer would slow to a crawl.

In another instance, an end user had installed SystemWorks on their workstation in order to clean up some problems with the registry. Before, the computer was running poorly, but afterwards the system was a doorstop. I had no choice but to completely reinstall Windows XP in order to undo the damage.

Plus, we won't even go into the times where I've run into customers that have had updated versions of Norton AntiVirus on their systems and I've discovered undetected worms and Trojans lurking about.

In frustration, I've turned to recommending AVG for home users and some of my smaller business customers. I also kind of like Trend's software as well. Trend's online scanner has been a life saver on several occasions. But with all of the problems I've encountered lately, it's becoming difficult to recommend Symantec software.

If this is indeed a symptom of a larger trend, then Symantec is in trouble. With Microsoft releasing OneCare on one hand, and then shoddy software causing more problems than they solve on the other, it can't bode well for Symantec. I'd be eager to hear about the experiences other TechRepublic members have had with Symantec stuff. Am I alone in becoming disillusioned with it?

6 comments
aujus3
aujus3

Out browsing for solidarity in lieu of banging my head on the desktop (the real wood one) and I guess I'll be the first to mention Symantec ServiceDesk (formerly Altiris HelpDesk). If your IT manager ever considers purchasing this software as an IT support request tracking system, either slap him/her, or get on your knees and BEG him/her to reconsider. You won't thank me--which is good--because you'll never get the chance to feel what I feel every day: The lumped ball of agony in the pit of my gut when I know I can correctly predict the answer to the question, "What new nightmare in ServiceDesk will come today that prevents me yet again from getting any actual work done?" My manager has spent thousands--probably tens of thousands--on this money pit of a product. Not to mention the man hours wasted--trying to research customization, bugs, errors, glitches, generally odd UI behavior, (the list goes on)--only to find no one has ever done what you want/need to do, and Symantec "support" is as clueless as you are on the topic (but they make sure to pepper that cluelessness with plenty of email ignoring and repeating "did you check the forums?" over and over as though answers magically appear there... just for good measure).

gadgetgirl
gadgetgirl

The major player missing from the largest UK security exhibition last month (InfoSec) was Norton Symantec. McAfee made the most of it, needless to say, and their presentations were based on the "Newsflash" that NS was a no-show. No explanations were given, even though a few of us asked around a bit. The only thing I did find out was that their (huge) stand in the US sector of the exhibition had been pre-booked over a year ago, but cancelled at a later date..... Makes you think, doesn't it? GG Edit: insert brain before posting ....

KingYoda
KingYoda

Nortons Utilities 7 for dos was as you described John an ESENTIAL tool for the toolkit NU 8 was also the updated tool for the toolkit, but alas Nortons Utilites 8 for dos was also where Nortons started to slip, then along came bill (software thief) gates who had a cold bed and needed a bed warmer, here in is where Microsoft got sexy and sleezy with Peter Norton and made we Norton Utilities for windows among other more disasterous bits of software, Nortons Antivirus, that scans and finds a virus and ahem attaches it now and again to the next exe or com file it scans well thats my 2 cents worth of soapbox ranting, I have more to say ,but i don't wish to say it , so therefore i won't.

awfordco
awfordco

Totally agree - Have used Norton products for many years, time came to renew subscription for NIS and NSW, was misled into thinking that Norton 360 was the all singing dancing replacement (also subscriptions had more than doubled in price so N360 looked a good bet). Mistake. It is not a replacement for NSW, and is incompatible with NSW (found that out when N360 insisted on removing NSW) Also N360 failed to recognise other computers on LAN, and had to configure manually (after 5 email exchanges with Norton Tech Support and a day wasted) Complaints just receive bland apologies. And yes, Norton slows everything down.

deepsand
deepsand

If the only problem where that of the performance hit, NAV [i]might[/i] be tolerable. However, beginning at least as early as the 2003 version, it also corrupts Registry Hives to the point of reducing machines to little more than very expensive door stops. This problem is particularly likely to happen when a subscription is being renewed with a required upgrade being installed, or the subsciption is allowed to lapse. Attempting an un-install is quite likely to only further corrupt the Registry. Of 5 machines so affected & serviced by me, 2 were [u]partially[/u] rehabilitated by installing FF as the default browser, 2 required new HDs & the requisite re-imaging, & 1 became an "organ donor." I can no longer in good faith recomend that anyone use NAV.

michael
michael

I agree with everything you have said about Symantec; however, as a pc tech support specialist, I have come to learn that you shouldn't bit the hand that feeds. In other words, I didn't create the software, I'm just here to help resolve the problem. I feel the same about AOL software. I use to complain about AOL software all the time until I wised up and realized that if it didn't cause problems I wouldn't have work. I have seen a lot of problems with Symantec software especially with Norton Internet Security 2007 loaded on older computers. It slows them to a crawl. So I have gone to installing AVG on older computers that can't handle NIS. I was also very surprised at NIS 07's Add-on software being so difficult to find. It's additional software that came packaged with 06 but now it's a download that they don't tell you about. I'm curious as to what others are doing and feel about it.