Symantec Doesn’t Like Windows XP

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This manages to be one of those “who screwed up I’ve got to know” kinds of questions. Symantec has to be walking around with a bit of egg on their face when they failed to realize that an update to one of their antivirus would have an adverse effect on the older businesses that are still using Windows XP. It should be noted that many major companies are still using XP as their operating system until they are forced to upgrade to Windows 7.

On Friday, Symantec disclosed that an update for their Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1 antivirus software for businesses caused some companies to see the “blue screen of death.” It seemed to only affect users that still employed Windows XP-based computers, which caused the systems to constantly crash, even after a reboot.

"On July 11th, 2012 Symantec Security Response started receiving reports of customers experiencing blue screens after applying the July 11th revision 18 definitions," Orla Cox, of Symantec Security Response, wrote in the post. "Machines may continue to blue screen after they reboot. This problem only appears to occur on Windows XP machines."

According to CNET, the crashes were limited to XP machines running Endpoint Protection 12.1 and certain software from Norton, but no specifications were given. Basically, if you experienced the problem, you were running such software. Symantec issued a rollback of signatures on Thursday.

The issue came to the company’s attention Wednesday night from customers, who said that they were forced to manually remove the signatures Thursday which is a time consuming effort to say the least. Symantec is trying to put together a compensation package for affected customers but that may not be enough.

"This whole episode is a joke, had the issue been a conflict with a random device driver then I could maybe slightly more sympathetic," a customer said on a community discussion board. "But for it to conflict with its own Symantec related drivers and cause this issue is a total farce. Who tested it before release? Was it even tested?"

This is a bit of a hit for the struggling security company. For many years, they have been the leader in antivirus applications but since many companies are providing some less-intrusive software to browse the internet for free, they have been hard pressed to keep up. However, this could make people reconsider who they use especially given the loss of production hours due to this “error.”

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