And we should trust…: An update

If you didn’t read the original post, you should–if nothing else, for context.

Here’s what’s happened since then:

  • The autorenew clearly didn’t take.
  • Today, down to her last two days, she went through the Renew process this time–and managed to take the right set of links, yielding a $40 renewal rather than a $70 renewal.
  • She clicked on the “Download” link…

What should have happened

Given that she has an up-to-date subscription, the link should have updated some settings in her McAfee Internet Security, maybe taking 30 seconds tops.

What did happen

First we got a sizable download.

Then that download uninstalled all existing McAfee software. Slowly.

Then it started a 122MB download. With nothing else on our DSL, that took about 30 minutes…

Followed by various nonsense, followed by a Restart request.

After restarting, it started installing (I may have the order wrong here; let’s just say we’re at about the 1 hour 15 minute mark here…) with, of course, Windows Security popping up a warning about security setting issues.

Eventually–I’d say after about 90 minutes–there was a McAfee shortcut, the McAfee blob back in the tray, and a screen telling us it was starting various services. Until it got to “starting anti-spam”–which would seem somewhat useless since she doesn’t use Outlook or any PC-based mail system (and Gmail has its own excellent spam filter).

And the little animated swirl kept spinning. And spinning. For 10 minutes or more, there was disk activity–for what would seem to be at most a 1-minute job. Then the disk activity stopped, but the little swirl kept spinning.

Exit capabilities: None. Response to a right-click on the toolbar icon: None. Response to any keys or mouse clicks: None. The computer was apparently hung.

I logged on to McAfee on my system, brought up chat, and got into another fruitless session, with the bot (or, I suppose, conceivably person) on the other end telling me to forward her email (on her frozen system) to verify that she’d renewed and apparently ignoring any input from me.

At this point, we were well over two hours into a renewal update. Two hours, to do what should have been a code change at most.

What she finally did

A cold reboot–that is, forcing the computer to turn itself off (holding down the power switch–nothing else had any effect, given McAfee’s marvelous ability to take over the entire computer), turning it back on, letting Windows finish its “abnormal shutdown” routine…

After opening the Windows Security Manager and letting it fix settings, she seems to be fine. McAfee now gives the right termination date (a year from now). She’s fully protected (maybe over-protected: It’s possible that both McAfee and Windows firewalls, and McAfee antivirus and Windows Defender, are operating, but she knows what to do if she gets apparent slow downs).

And neither of us is, how you say, real happy with the competence shown in McAfee’s renewal operation, updating, or other indications of software excellence.

For me? I’ve turned off autorenew. Some time before my subscription expires, I’ll download Microsoft Security Essentials (and uninstall McAfee). If that turns out to be inadequate, I’ll buy something else…or, if I’m feeling masochistic, I can always add myself to her 3-user Internet Security subscription.

3 Responses to “And we should trust…: An update”

  1. GeekChic says:

    One tip about uninstalling McAfee – be sure to download their McAfee Consumer Products Removal tool and run it after going through Add/Remove programs. McAfee has a very bad habit of leaving traces on your computer that can mess other things up.

  2. walt says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I do have email from McAfee about uninstalling, and it does mention CPR. Interesting that even McAfee knows their software is badly engineered: You shouldn’t need two different steps to uninstall.

  3. GeekChic says:

    Hey – It’s a step forward that they are emailing you. They didn’t do that many moons ago when I still dealt with McAfee on computers. 😉

    I do agree that their engineering is truly terrible.