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Symantec software update makes customers' PCs inoperable


BOSTON (Reuters)—An update to Symantec Corp.'s anti-virus software caused Windows PCs to crash, making machines inoperable until the machines were serviced, according to several customers.

A company spokeswoman said in an email that "a subset" of customers reported that their Windows XP personal computers had crashed after Symantec sent out an update to its anti-virus software on Wednesday.

She said the company fixed the problem and rolled out a new update "shortly thereafter." She did not elaborate.

Customers reported that it took Symantec hours to identify and fix the bug and that they needed to fix computers broken by the tainted update on their own.

"Phoning Symantec support this morning was the start of the hell we went through," one customer said in a support forum on Symantec's website.

"The support is a joke, the quality control is a joke, and the software is not much better," he said.

Hayes said she could not immediately respond to the criticism or say how many PCs had crashed after receiving the update.

A technology manager with a Dutch company, PSO Beheer B.V., told Reuters that the bug caused some 150 PCs to fail. His firm had to close a laboratory with equipment running on Windows XP machines and also sent some workers home so they could access their network remotely.

"It did have quite an impact on our business," said the manager, Ron van den Broek. "My first impression is Symantec is downplaying the effects of this issue."

A Maryland-based insurance firm temporarily shut down anti-virus software for all its 150 PCs to prevent them from getting damaged, leaving them without protection, the company's technology manager told Reuters.