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His Nibs.com back online
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His Nibs.com back online
October 16th, 2007

Just a brief announcement that our long computer
nightmare is largely over....so let the
ordering begin!

I'll go into a bit more detail following --
for those interested -- but let
me just make
a warning here. If you're thinking of
changing anti-
virus/firewall companies (McAfee to
for example)...DON'T! Or at least be
extremely careful.

* Next update
* No good deed goes unpunished

Next update

Just so this email update has some
relationship to its usual reson d'etre -- let
me mention that the next update will return
to its usual form. I expect to present the
Delta Israel 60th Anniversary limited edition
pen, and hopefully an interview that I
conducted with Maryann Zucker at the NY/NJ
Pen Show.

No good deed goes unpunished

It all started innocently enough. For months
I'd been reading reviews of Norton 360, a
new security suite from Symantec, which
includes anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall,
etc., and it's improved rating -- via
independent testing -- over my then current
McAfee security suite. I decided to make the
change when my McAfee subscription ran out.

Having run an online business for more than
10 years -- and being the CIO of a logistics
company for the previous decade and in the
computer field for more than 30 years -- I've
always been meticulous about computer system
protection (backing up data at least daily,
continuously updated anti-virus signatures,

So, preparatory to making the change, I
created a system restore point in Windows XP;
backed up all data files online via Carbonite
to their servers (which is what eventually
saved me); did a full system back-up to a
bootable USB ExBoot external drive; and
further backed-up the system to another
bootable USB PCCloneEX external drive.

I next uninstalled McAfee through 'Install or
Remove' as instructed by the McAfee software,
rebooted, and then installed Norton 360. I
won't go through all of the gory details, but
the Norton did not function properly after
the installation. No problem, I thought. I
simply restored my system to the state it
existed in prior to my installation of Norton
and uninstalling of McAfee.

Unfortunately, when the system again
re-booted, the McAfee software was *not*
restored as it had been. I attempted to
restore to an earlier point in time, and
Windows restore no longer functioned. OK.
After trying various work-arounds for a few
hours, I placed the dreaded call to India
(Symantec/Norton) technical support. We all
know how that goes.

By this point, Internet Explorer was
beginning to malfunction and degrade (as it's
so tightly integrated with Windows itself),
and my Firefox browser wasn't too happy
either. The final *advice* from Norton was to
uninstall and reinstall Internet Explorer
(which calls for a lot of changes within the
Registry) and I knew that would only further
the burgeoning disaster.

Fortunately, I thought, I have my system
completely backed-up on these two separate
USB bootable drives. To make a very long
story short...neither would boot as
advertised...after making the necessary
changes to the computer's boot sequence --
either from the drives themselves or from the
accompanying CDs (apparently this had to do
with the appropriate drivers not loading

Anyway, I had to eventually copy my system to
a new hard drive from one of the
bootable disks, with less than perfect
results (as there was no way to effectively
re-install incremental back-ups), and then
had to proceed to restore my
up-to-the-minute-of-failure data files from
Carbonite. That didn't work properly either,
as the newest version of Carbonite makes use
of Internet Explorer, which is still acting
up....and on, and on, and on...

Although I somehow lost a couple of 'His
Nibs.com' videos that apparently Carbonite
didn't back up (fortunately they're still
available on sites like MetaCafe, BrightCove,
etc.), I've been able to restore all other
data. I'll probably be dealing with various
glitches on the system for weeks to come.

What I learned from a tech guru that I had to
hire at one point, as each company of course
passes the buck (Microsoft, Symantec, McAfee,
Carbonite, ExBoot, etc.) -- and wish to pass
on -- is that there *is* no clean uninstall
with these security products. Hidden files
are left, ostensibly to ease re-installation
of their software, even after the end-user is
told that all files have been removed.

This tech guru had run into this situation a
number of times with clients, and had to
brow-beat both Symantec and McAfee to admit
to this situation, and after months of effort
*finally* get them to supply him with tools
that *really* uninstall their products!!!!! I
now know what happened to my last system,
about three years ago, when I switched from
Norton *to* McAfee. That system was also
trashed during the uninstall of Norton and
the installation of McAfee. I didn't pursue
it to the same degree -- as I was ready to
upgrade my computer anyway, and start over.

So, for the one or two of you who have read
this far (believe me, I've left out hundreds
of steps pursued during the past two weeks of
this nightmare), be forewarned about
switching security companies; don't believe
what you read about bootable external drives;
create image files of your system using
Norton Ghost or similar software; and back-up
your data files online, and offsite (even if
it takes you the better part of a week to get
them all restored!).

I have to go lie down now!

P.S. No need for more Mac owners to email me to suggest I change platforms!

I don't have problems with PCs per se. This particular difficulty was
platform-independent. As one of my customers wrote to me today:

"I have a Mac and had Norton Antivirus. I don't know how many times I have
uninstalled it only to have it miraculously reappear again and again to
remind me to subscribe again. From your story I understand now that Norton
has left behind secret files. Things like that should be illegal."

In this case it was the McAfee 'secret files', but Norton does the same
thing! They totally screw-up the installation of their competitor's product.


Norman Haase
His Nibs.com
Blog: http://hisnibs.blogspot.com

Regards, Norman Haase His Nibs.com www.hisnibs.com


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Posts: 147
Computer Problems
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Wow, that's brutal!  I just my secretary a new Apple iMac with both OS X and Windows XP Professional loaded on it.  Runs them both great and is nearly virus proof.  Something you should consider.  I've been on Macs for 7 years after having lost two hard drives to Windoze.


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