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McAfee Security Center installation sucks

Tags: Software, Upset posts, Network

Here goes a post, in which I am really upset!

One of our customers has implemented a new VPN solution that requires us to have McAfee or Symantecs anti-virus programs. I have been using Grisoft AVG for a long time and are very satisified with that one, but they don't accept it so I had to change. If you have not tried AVG out, then do it, it's free for personal use.

Since I live in Sweden I wen't to the swedish McAfee site, signed up for the software and payed with my credit card, good rebates and everyting was fine. Then I logged in to my McAfee account and clicked on the link to start the installation.

First annoyance: no option for a separate download only a direct in-browser installation was available.

Second annoyance: I'm using Internet Explorer 7 and the menu appeared to far away from the link that it came out of focus when trying to click it so it disappeared. Solution: use the tab key and enter key.

After a few blocked pop-ups and ActiveX control warnings it started downloading.

Third annoyance: to many ActiveX controls were involved!

The download started out fine; downloading virus signatures, program and setup script. Then it asked me to save a shortcut on the desktop to be able to continue installation after a reboot, I clicked yes. Then an actual program started and the installation continued. Bang - a dialog appeared stating that the installation cannot continue without reason why. The recommendation was to reboot and try again.

I rebooted and looked for the shortcut on the desktop to continue, no shortcut but there were a lot of files remaining in the Program Files folder.

Fourth annoyance: should not a failed installation remove all of the remains?

I uninstalled my previous AV software and made sure all applications was shut down and redid the procedure again - same error.

I booted into safe mode redid the procedure once again - same error.

Okey, let's try Firefox: "please upgrade your internet browser" with a link to the Microsoft Internet Explorer site.

Fifth annoyance: not supporting Firefox!

By now I am furious, I have to get connected to my client since they have an urgent support incident! I took a walk around the office to calm down and went back to my computer.

I went to the US McAfee site and logged into my account and there I finally found a normal download link in which I could download a small program that did the installation and after a while (while writing this post and rebooting once) I was up and running!

But, yes a but, the ActiveShield features was not installed!

Searched through the McAfee support database with no luck and finally came to the McAfee Virtual Technician (another ActiveX control) that scans your machine for problems with the McAfee software. It found some problems and fixed them. Now I could see a menu with the Virus Scan options but all of them led to a dialog stating that The feature is not install, please reinstall!

This led med to uninstall McAfee Security Center. Control Panel -> Add Remove Programs! After uninstalling some of the components and restarting again (not everything could be removed at once) I tried to uninstall the last bits, the Security Center, it stated Legacy programs must be removed first. What the heck!

After some fiddling I managed to find a folder under Program Files called that I removed and then I was able to remove the last bits and of course reboot once more.

Sixth annoynace: Uninstall programs should be able to uninstall and requiring at the most one reboot and should not include any manual removal not mentioned anywhere!!

So I downloaded it once more and proceded with the installation. This time it went fine! Phew...

This costed me almost a whole day to figure out, to bad that our client won't be compensated by McAfee nor me for the lousy ActiveX based installation program used on the Swedish site. I feel sorry for all people trying to install an Anti-Virus program and are not that experienced with computers...

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  • Bruce Short said

    McAfee is a joke. It takes control and does not allow any exceptios. It is not fully effective as anti-virus protection. It prevented me from installing wireless and after I was able to get around that it would not allow the connections. Removing was more of a hassle and in removing the hold on network com it disabled my nic card

  • Trackback said

    Here comes another "it sucks" post about McAfee anti-virus products. I recently was forced into using McAfee VirusScan Enterprise, due to domain policies at my new employer. This was not what I have w...

  • princess said

    I got the same problem, I went to add or remove programs and it said the same's highlighted in red stating "Legacy programs must be removed first" ummm I'm only trying to uninstall Security center and I can't because of this. I tried to look for like you stating above but I couldn't find it! oh my god I need help because I have zone alarm already running on my computer and I need to get rid of this mcafee crap.

  • wilber twilligerrock said

    Oh ya! I have always found McAfee to be a no rate product Right along with Norton, and will not refrain from bashing Norton or Mc Crapie. One slowly kills it self and your computer, the other; Suck out loud!!!

  • Ron0133 said

    McAfee Security Center (MSC) has become badly-coded, PARANOID, BLOATWARE to the point of absurdity!! I have been running MSC for the past three years on 4 different machines ranging from a laptop Pentium D T2060 (1.6GHz) w/ 4 GB of memory running XP HomeEd. (at the low end) to a Quad Core Q9550 (2.83GHz) w/ 8GB of memory running XP Pro at the high end, each of which live on separate public IP addresses, behind two(2) hardware firewalls/routers and also the MSC firewall. I use MSC because it is the AV app of choice (& the only one that they support) for my ISP (Comcast). These have not been issues for me until the past 2 months, or so. The behaviour that I am about to describe is the same on all 4 of my machines, so it is definitely NOT computer-specific. First, the "bloatware" part of my complaint: On the one hand, I am encouraged by AV software that strives to keep its DAT up to date in order to stay on top of constantly emerging threats. However, MSC has taken on the habit of checking for updates at least once per hour which, in & of itself, would not be a problem except that: 1. It takes the McAfee website a solid 2-3 minutes to respond as to whether an update is available.... 2. If one is available, it takes another 2-3 minutes to download the update.... 3. Once downloaded, it takes yet another 2-3 minutes to finish installing the update..., and..., 4. MOST IMPORTANTLY & ANNOYINGLY..., throughout the process of performing the tasks in steps 1-3 above, any & all other apps/functions on the subject computer are suspended and put totally "on hold" while MSC does its thing. I am NOT talking about some heavy-duty, extreme multimedia app either, sometimes it could just be typing text into "Notepad" or simply wanting to move your mouse pointer across your Desktop that remains stalled or frozen until MSC is done hogging your resources. MSC has now joined the ever-growing list of apps by developers/coders who clearly must have been bench-tested them on machines sporting Intel Core i7-965 (3.2GHz) Extreme Edition processors w/ 16GB of RAM, having clean install of the OS & absolutely NO other apps loaded on them (okay I know that's kind of an exaggeration, but you get idea). The conventional wisdom with these geniuses is: "Hey, my app is working great now. It's totally okay that, whenever it performs any function, it uses 110% of all CPU/memory resources because, after all, who cares about any other apps that may need to run on some poor user's machine--- my app is just as narcissistic and self-obsessed as I am." This is further compounded by a total lack of informed supervisory scrutiny in the firms employing these guys with only a 6 week trade school certificate in Visual Basic because: "The developer/coder told me 'It's all good', so it must be & besides, we only have to pay them 25 cents above minimum wage." For what it's worth, a couple of weeks ago I even put a brand new 1.5TB SATA(7200rpm) HDD in the above referenced XP Pro machine, did a new clean-install of the OS & a new clean-install of McAfee. Result: NO change, MSC is just as much of a resource PIG as ever. I, for one, am getting increasingly fed-up with software/apps that exhibit this type of behaviour. Hire some decent programmers for Pete's sake!!! Second, this is what I meant by MSC being "paranoid": Any AV software is going to generate a certain number of "false-positives", flagging perfectly legitimate files as "malicious" from time to time. Fine..., I get that. In the last couple of months, though, during random real-time scanning & during scheduled scans MSC has begun to flag & "quarantine" files which have peacefully co-existed on my computer with McAfee for literally years! I mean files that should not, by any stretch of the imagination, be suspect. But rather, for example: (these are true stories) --A picture file named "maria.jpg", which is a picture of my daughter taken with my Canon Digital Camera & transferred to my Desktop over a year ago.... --A ".dll" file named "vfwwdm32.dll" from the C:\Windows folder, which is one of the "Video for Windows" native drivers..., and..., Best of all..., my favorite..., --A ".doc" file named "faxcover.doc", which is nothing more that a pure-text Microsoft Word Document I created to print-out from time to time as..., guess what..., a generic fax cover sheet. This one has lived on my computer for over 4 years without any problem. These files and others have begun (only lately) to get flagged (& quarantined) as anything & everything from "Generic Dropper" or "Generic!Artemis", to "Keylogger" and so on. What's really entertaining is that any one file (such as the ".doc", for example) can be flagged as a "Generic Dropper" today, then the same file is a "Generic!Artemis" tomorrow, and a "Keylogger" the next day. The same file!!! Okay, so it's better for an AV program "to be safe than sorry", but this is nuts! It's as though the security "experts" at McAfee just decided to finally throw up their hands and say: "We can't stay on top of this stuff anymore so, from now on, we'll just flag & quarantine everything that even has a filename, and then let the end-user/consumer sort it all out & restore them on their end. At least we did a good job of protecting them from 'evil things'.". So..., by all means..., use McAfee Security Center if you have lots of time on your hands. Every hour, or so, when it updates you'll have plenty of opportunity to make yourself a sandwich, go to the store & do your laundry. Oh..., and don't forget to schedule 20 minutes every morning to restore all of your baby pictures, letters, and perhaps some essential OS files that it quarantined "for your protection" while you weren't looking. Good luck! R.

  • said

    McAfee software is lousy. I will never in my life use their products again. It messed up my system to the point that I had to uninstall and reinstall every program on my pc. Talking to their support group is a waste of time.

  • Nancy said

    I was an AVG user untl I moved about a mnoth ago. When I finally got my internet up & running (Comcast) I decided to take advantage of their COmcast Security System which included free McAfee. It made a TOTAL mess out of my system!!! It was constantly updating on its own on some things, and not allowing the updates that I DID want to go through! I spent a total of 6 hours on the phone with tech support trying to solve my freezing problems when it occured to me: my problems started after I moved & installed all this new stuff! So I uninstalled everything, brought back AVG...and SUPRISE!!! No more problems.

  • Debra said

    I have been forced to use McAfee on two of my computers. BOTH computers randomly go through full scans UNSCHEDULED!!! I have rescheduled them for Saturday mornings at 1:00 am and they both continue to do RANDOM FULL SCANS!!!!

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About Wictor...

Wictor Wilén is the Nordic Digital Workplace Lead working at Avanade. Wictor has achieved the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) - SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) - SharePoint  and Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) - SharePoint 2010 certifications. He has also been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for seven consecutive years.

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