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Information Technology

Was Getting Rid of Norton on Your Weekend To-Do List?

What started off as “fix Norton” became a “get rid of Norton” item on my to-do list this weekend. I am soooooo happy now.

Let me be up front and state that professionals don’t use Microsoft products. Of the six to twelve machines in my office at any given time there is no more than one that has a Microsoft OS on it. Professionals simply don’t use Microsoft products for anything.

Having said that, there is always one client that demands documentation in actual MS Word and on rare occasions one wants something cross compiled for Windows. Because of that, you have seen me blog about this computer before. From time to time when I’m feeling nostalgic I think about setting up a retro computer with XP or Windows 2000 (and no Internet connection) so I could play Lords of the Realm II, but who has that much free time even during a pandemic?

Lords of the Realm II cover

I think that will be for the winter months after I officially retire. I never cared for the first person shooter games. The turn based strategy things captivated my attention for far too long though. The DOS version of World of Warcraft was pretty interesting too.

Warcraft – Orcs & Humans

So, this machine sits here on the other side of the office, idle most of the time. I let it run BOINC to help cure cancer, AIDS, COVID-19, etc. Unless I physically need to actually do something under Windows or feel like playing Windows Solitaire, it helps make the human species better. Because it has an Internet connection and Microsoft products are inherently unsafe, I installed Norton.

Reasons to Get Rid of Norton

You had to understand just how little I use the machine to understand just how annoying the Time-Share Up-Sell pop-ups from Norton really are. In and of themselves it would be enough to justify getting rid of Norton.

This particular machine provided an added incentive. I had installed a second hard drive because on even rarer occasions clients want me to use a Ubuntu/Linux VM to do development under Windows so they can communicate with me using Windows. Don’t try to understand, just cash the checks.

I believe Norton is hiring developers that are “priced right” rather than qualified.

Honestly, I really believe that. It’s like Apple dropping serial port support from CUPS because Apple doesn’t make real computers with serial ports.

Lots of ports including serial and parallel

Got news for you boys and girls, engineers need a lot of ports. This very computer came with both a serial and a parallel port. I recently took out the add-in video card but all else remains.

Bad Design Decisions

In the 1990s laptop era you had one hard drive and one CD/DVD. Many of today’s newer laptops make you buy an external DVD. Many of today’s desktop computers come with one hard drive and one DVD. Even more of those pizza box computers come with one hard drive and no place to add more drives.

Some developer at Norton decided that one hard drive was standard and the second drive must always be the DVD. Any additional drives must be actual drives to be scanned. Adding insult to injury, another developer removed the capability of excluding an entire physical drive from scanning in the settings UI. You can only map a path to a directory. Nice huh? There is no way to tell it Drive E should not be scanned because Drive E doesn’t have any media.

Yeah, you aren’t seeing the problem yet. The problem couldn’t be seen, it had to be heard.

During “idle” time Norton periodically runs it’s little scans and what-not. Once per second it was bumping the DVD to see if media had been inserted or some such thing. When I was head-phoned out the other side of the room this was not an issue. When it was head-phones off deep concentration time this was that dripping faucet in the middle of the night.

Even Worse Support

On Friday I decided to contact support. I endured the automated insult bot to the point it transferred me to someone. That someone had to give me a case number. I could wait an unknown amount of time for a call from a mystery 800 number or I could call a specific 800 number and sit eternally on hold. I opted to sit on hold.

Yee-gads! Norton support sucks! I forget how long I sat on hold. I was debating about plugging my phone in to charge as I watched the battery dwindle. When I finally got someone they weren’t much help. They run you through this gauntlet of things trying to tell you it is a hardware problem. Finally they remote in and claim to fully uninstall Norton.

Once Norton was “removed” they told me to monitor the system to see if the DVD bumping went away. I would get a call back in 2-3 hours. I spent much of the day on another machine and didn’t hear any bumping. When I finally came over to wiggle the mouse I saw a big dialog from Norton (the thing that was supposedly removed). It said “This version of Norton 360 isn’t compatible with Windows 10…”

Okay.

Get Rid of Norton – Last Straw

Early Saturday morning, once AT&T had turned the towers back on in my area, I called back in to the 800 number, sat for quite a bit of time on hold. I finally got someone who was working from home and had no ability to remote in.

I’m all for letting people work remotely, but dammit, make sure they have the tools they need to do their job. He had an Internet connection which means you didn’t send him home with a properly configured company laptop. One has to go to a Web site Norton has to let them in. Norton didn’t properly set up a VPN for their own workers. Gotta wonder how good their VPN really is, don’t you?

I physically wanted them to look at the dialog so they could file a bug that the Norton Remove & Re-install tool they were using didn’t ()*&)(*&U)(*ing work. If Norton really was removed that dialog wouldn’t show.

Ultimately I had him sit on the phone while I searched for and nuked every file that had “norton” anywhere in its name. He said he could escalate my call to some supervisor that might have remote-in capability but I wouldn’t get the call back for 48 hours. Again, it would be a mystery 800 number.

Your manufacturer vehicle warranty is about to expire.

If you life in America and have a telephone, you recognize that line or one very much like it from “Auto Warranty Center.” The current scourge of robo-calls.

48-hour Callback is Not Support

I politely pointed out “48-hour callback is not support.” Not by any definition is that support. If Norton has too many customers to adequately support them then I could help with that problem.

McAfee had a 10 machine special going on. While I’m a professional, I have family members who are “just users.”

I spent Saturday getting rid of Norton from just about everyone’s machine. Just have to drive to my Uncle’s place to get rid of Norton on the last one.