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There's a story in the CLIX forum about a PC warrior called in to clean up a few Windows boxes. The clients were wealthy and just bought a new hi-tech house but they were still running Windows computers.

Which were naturally a mess. 'Things have always been like this, they always will be, this is just how computers work.' That kind of myopic savvy. No news there.

And there are so many gadgets to connect - so much HI-TECH to get working at once - and at the bottom of it is MICROSOFT FUCKING WINDOWS. It just doesn't make sense.

At any rate: first order of the day is clean up the boxes and get them into some semblance of sanity. Tall order. And the first step on that road to salvation is to get rid of anything that even remotely smells of 'Symantec'.

The clients are still running MS Outlook and proclaim they intend to keep using it - DESPITE IT BEING FUCKING OBVIOUS GOING BACK TWO FUCKING HUNDRED FUCKING YEARS ARE YOU FUCKING LIVING IN A FUCKING CAVE MAN THAT FUCKING OUTLOOK IS THE FUCKING BIGGEST FUCKING BUG FUCKING FARM IN THE FUCKING HISTORY OF FUCKING BUGS.

They're just going to use it and that's that.

And somewhere in this scenario is the tidbit that 'new machines have been purchased' - this of course means these enlightened people had the chance to do something right for a change but didn't - they certainly had the money for it but didn't - they certainly were smart enough to make enough money to buy their own hi-tech house but here they weren't. Instead they get themselves a NEW WINDOWS BOXEN. And this is the year 2007.

The new box wasn't actually new: it was 'acquired' (but good as new). It came with Norton Antivirus Corporate and its subscription had long expired. Time to move to something else more sensible. [It's all relative here of course.] So try AVG as that's dirt cheap. But first uninstall NAV.

NAV wants a password. It's given the password. It starts uninstalling. Then crashes. 'Fatal error!!1!' it says and then goes tits up.

Successive attempts to make it go further yield the same result - 'fatal error'. No explanation of why or how to work around or even a single more descriptive clue as to why Symantec are screwing up - just 'fatal error'.

The Symantec website offers a removal tool; download and try that. Nope - this one refuses to run - the punch line is why: it says it's found an uninstaller already on disk (the one that keeps crashing) that should do the job instead.

Time to call corporate tech support. Bounce back and forth in the queue for a while. Finally get something with a polite accent to look into matters. Long list of things to be ticked off. Basically the same steps the warrior's already been through. After long minutes of excruciating bleeding obvious the big question.

Ah. So you're trying to uninstall?

The polite accent takes control of the system, does the same things all over again, gets tossed back in the same crash loop. Oops, says accent, maybe I should turn this over to corporate tech support?

But this call already was to corporate tech support, wasn't it? An month ago or whenever it was made? No - accent works in the other department: home and SMB.

For a piece of software mind you. Vast infrastructure to support a program that won't work right. And the support infrastructure doesn't work right either. Something to think about. They can't organise their bits and bytes and so build a global telephone network that doesn't work either. And all for something that comes in a small shrink wrapped box.

Warrior has to place the new call himself - accent insists he can't reconnect him. Warrior hangs up and dials the number accent gave him. Back in a queue, bouncing up and down. And at long last someone answers.

From home and SMB again.

This time home and SMB - accent's department where according to accent you can't reconnect to corporate - now say they can in fact reconnect warrior. And it's a long wait again before finally someone comes on the line and helps to the extent of giving warrior a URL to surf to. Here's the URL. But watch out - it's not for the light hearted.

http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/ent-security.nsf/pfdocs/2005050211173748

Warrior finds a curious snippet in that document.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall

This key contains many <Package Code> keys.

Click each <Package Code> key, and look in the right pane for references to Symantec Client Security.

If you see any references to Symantec Client Security in the right pane, then delete the entire <Package Code> key.

This stymies warrior who doesn't understand how '<Package Code>' is to be interpreted. [It's not - Uninstall has package code subkeys.] But warrior wants to know before breaking something so call back to tech support again.

Now they want proof of ownership. Warrior reminds them he's trying to uninstall a product. He also points out he's been removing things for hours already and there probably isn't going to be any registration number left.

Support promise to get back to warrior in two working days. Warrior throws a fit. Transfer call upwards. New manager starts in with same song and dance. Warrior repeats he only wants to know how to interpret '<Package Code>'. New manager goes off, comes back, and says someone else from support will call back in ten minutes - but because there's no proof of purchase no further technical assistance can be provided.

Ten minutes later the phone rings. It's Symantec tech support. '<Package Code>' means 'there are package codes, look for package codes, look to the right, look for anything that even remotely smells of Symantec, and bomb the shit out of it'. OK. A thank you, hang up, starting looking through all the package codes.

Several eternities later it's time to reboot and see if things are finally good.

System boots, desktop comes up, there's My Computer, right click on My Computer.

Symantec's installer pops up.

At this point warrior takes a step back, chills out, mutters something philosophical to himself, has a bit of nosh with the client, then goes spelunking on the web and comes up with this.

http://networksecurityarchive.org/html/NTBugtraq/2004-12/msg00002.html
http://fixmyxp.com/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,216/topic,1376.msg13220
http://seer.entsupport.symantec.com/docs/235750.htm
http://www.jcxp.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=17138

Several of those documents are several years old and several light years long. The first of them is a complete step by step on how to get Symantec off a machine. It's over one thousand lines of step by steps. And it also recommends reading other documents first before proceeding.

Symantec is part of a billion dollar industry. They step in where Windows fails - which is just about anywhere. They try to set up 'chase the crooks' security after the Windows 'operating system' has already let the crooks through. They ensconce their stuff deep inside the innards of the system - so deep they warn that the machine must be successively rebooted many times for the manual uninstall to take effect.

In other words they've got a rootkit they give you for your protection.

The 'height' of Windows 'technology' is that the most lucrative of the many cottage industries sprung up about it can't even write software that uninstalls - with their vast reach across the globe and all the resources at their disposal they still can't figure out how to get rid of their shite when the time comes.

All the while Steve Ballmer has threatened that Windows has a better return on investment, is the most secure operating system ever, has a usability as no other system, is incredibly easy to set up and configure, and so forth.

No Windows computer is even 'usable' out of the box. It needs hordes of additional anti-this anti-that products. And even so it's going to get the crap kicked out of it in a matter of hours if not minutes. Everywhere Windows machines are standing still one day a week, disconnected from the net, so their owners can put them through the paces of thorough antivirus scans.

And this is supposed to be a good system.

Never mind if it's a good system - it's supposed to work.

'Things have always been like this, they always will be, this is just how computers work.'

Now and again messages pop into the inbox for this site asking why the rhetoric is so blunt about 'Windows lusers'. It's been going on for almost ten years now. Some people are seemingly slow on the uptake. A few get a clue and switch away; but for those who are left: what do you really expect anyone to say when you voluntarily run a system like that?

You expect people to call you 'winners'?

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