Viruscan/Firewall expiry date change stops update

  [DELETED] 09:35 14 Sep 2003

On Oct 6 2002 I bought packaged McAfee Viruscan and Firewall.

I have no other virus protection or similar programs installed ot running. I use the PC Adviso version of Netscape 6.2, Onetel ISP and Pegasus 4.12a email.

Last week (Sept03)I started getting prompts to update the software, and could not update the Virus
definition files. The help screens say my Viruscan expired on 6Sept03 but that Firewall will expire on 26Oct03, both incorrect. McAfee have sent me a complex fix for this problem (too long to include, but I can mail it to anyone interested), involving a complete uninstallation of ALL McAfee software, then removal of 'file remnants' by edit of the registry (which I have never done before and so find a scary prospect) to find and remove a list of about 20 keywords, update of IE6 to include sp1 (though I dont use and have not installed IE6, I have IE5.5) but no explanation of why this happened, plus instructions to install 'the new version', though they haven't told me what they mean by this.

The only explanation that I can offer is that I know that about 6 weeks ago I accidentally changed the date on my computer while looking at the calender, but corrected this a few days later. Surely this cant be the cause of the problem?!? If it is, then this is a most serious security problem.

The help McAfee sent contained a number of irrelevant requirements suggesting that it had been cut and pasted from a manual, so I guess this is not a unique situation. I would be interested in any comments on why it happened, and any suggestions on how to fix this and prevent it from happening again.


  [DELETED] 09:46 14 Sep 2003

"I accidentally changed the date on my computer while looking at the calender, but corrected this a few days later. Surely this cant be the cause of the problem?!? If it is, then this is a most serious security problem."

This could be the problem. It might be that McAfee have built in a function that at a preset number of days before your software is set to expire it sets a "flag" to say something like "Inside the last 30 days of the license". Then no matter what you do to the system its locked to expire in 30 days. By fiddling with the calender date you may have triggered that flag prematurely which is now irreversible other than doing what McAfee says. This is to prevent an old technique of setting you system clock back a year to get another years free protection.

I can't offer any help to fix it other than what McAfee has already said.

however now you have a choice. Pay McAfee again or go the Freeware route??

AVG 6 click here is Free for personal use and is recommended by loads of people here

Sygate 5 Personal Edition click here is also Free for personal use.

  [DELETED] 10:38 14 Sep 2003

I had a date problem with McAfee years ago. After much confusing advice from McAfee help I consigned the whole of McAfee to the bin and changed to AVG and Outpost firewall.

I've never had any problem with either. They work quietly in the background and almost never intrude on what I'm doing (unlike McAfee). They don't want money for updates nor do they sulk at minor things that I may do with my machine.

Chuck it in the bin and get a good A/V and firewall as either J2KII or I have suggested.

  spuds 12:08 14 Sep 2003

Yep, agree with above. Start afresh with AVG and ZoneAlarm. Two free, very good protection programmes.

  [DELETED] 15:33 14 Sep 2003

Thanks guys for the responses. I have concluded that ditching McAfee is the only honest thing to do - it would be wrong of me to continue supporting or recommending a software vendor that in my opinion has unreasonably witheld the service that I have paid for.

But that leaves the tricky question of whether just uninstalling McAfee will rid my computer of this problem.

So, when I have time, I will try the registry edit route on tip toes. But then, I don't know how to open the registry editor. Neither Microsoft nor DELL have bothered to put this information in their documentation given to me, and I'll be damned if I'll pay through the nose for McAfee to tell me over the phone. Thats a nice little number isn't it. Sell someone softwater that stops working when they make a simple mistake, then rip 'em off for the solution.

I hope lots of people see this thread. Im angry.


  [DELETED] 15:58 14 Sep 2003

If I remember rightly, McAfee came off quite easily from Add/Remove - unlike that other monstrous thing, Norton. This was with W98 though - things may be different now.

  [DELETED] 16:16 14 Sep 2003

To start the Registry Editor, Start, Run and type in


Before you do anything else, save a backup by using File/Export. Then if things go pear-shaped you can double click on the backup to restore the registry.

  [DELETED] 17:07 14 Sep 2003

Add/Remove is easy, ok, but thats only the first thing McAfee say I must do. Surely a company that makes its living out of diagnostic and protective software can come up with something better than the task list they sent me. If not, its begs the question of whether they really ought to be in business.

Thanks for the help to all. pejj

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