Just over a year ago, I bought my mum a nice Dell desktop PC to replace her old PC that was a little out of date, and needed a clean up (it went up in a puff of smoke a few weeks ago!). Anyway, I thought she`d like the flat screen and the faster computer; but she was worried about viruses and trojans. Which is a good way to be in Windows land. So as part of the package, I specified a 3 year subscription to Norton Internet Security. So far it`s been OK.
This morning, mum called saying that the software wasn`t updating. Now, mum likes Solitaire, MSN, e-mail, and a few games, but she`s ventured out into a little bit of word processing, scanning photos, and has built up the nerve to look around the PC , which is great. So knowing that "NIS" is supposed to update regularly and require no intervention, I remote desktop-ed across to see what was wrong. And by jingo it seemed that Norton had managed to, all by its own accord, twisted its knickers so badly it couldn`t update itself.
The Norton Internet Security icon in the task bar was showing an alert, and trying to "Fix it" within the app produced a message "Check for updates failed". Very useful. Thinking it might have been a networky issue, I ran netstat and didn`t even see a connection to the update server. All other internet connectivity was fine. Searching the web for half an hour suggested checking the LiveUpdate control panel item. This helpfully told me
the liveupdate control panel applet could not access liveupdate settings information
A lot of use that was. So I then tried to track down a way of fixing LiveUpdate without needing to (remotely) reinstall Norton Internet Security. After much more interweb searching, I managed to find a fix, so in some effort to share the fix and reduce somebody somewhere`s effort, here`s what I needed to do:
- Fire up Internet Explorer (this did not seem to work with Firefox)
- Head here: http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/sharedtech.nsf/docid/1999051911110813
- Clicky "Run it now"
- Run the installer, saying "yes, yes, yes" to all of Vista`s annoying popups; this should reinstall LiveUpdate with minimal fuss
Hey presto, and no reboot necessary. The install pulled down, at a guess, 50MB of god knows what, but all is well again.
What annoys me is that it seems LiveUpdate updated itself so it could no longer work. Does anyone test or QA releases any more? I applied iPhone update 3.1 to my phone and it bricked, taking 4 restore attempts to get the thing working again, and one snotty e-mail to Apple, who no doubt have binned it as it`s less than praising of its "Geniuses". Having worked in IT all my working life, I want people to use computers, and not be afraid to touch, but shoddy software like this really sets us back years. Don`t start me on iTunes…!
It`s a funny thing, subscriptions in the computer world. You subscribe to cable TV, it breaks, and an engineer comes to fix. You subscribe to a telephone service, it breaks, and an engineer comes to fix. You subscribe to some software, and tough luck mate.