McAfee final straw

I had a big issue today that has finally pushed me over the edge with McAfee products…..

First of all let me qualify why we currently use McAfee products as i know it’s not everyones cup of tea

When we first started the company all of the clients who came on board straight away had McAfee anti-virus. Since we were just starting out we decided to stick with McAfee so we didn’t have to support two different products straight away and so that the client didn’t think we wanted to go and change everything  (and costing them money!) as soon as we started supporting them

We decided that we would review that policy as time went by and evaluate the other major players and decide on a vendor we were happy with

Down the years there have been one or two issues and experiences with bad support but that happens with every vendor right?

So today i’m doing an SBS install and we had purchased “Total Virus Defence” for the client, i started the server install and installed VirusScan before i connected to the Internet. I then installed everything else i wanted and decided to do my Windows Updates (including SP2!! which, touch wood, seems ok)

One of the updates was Internet Explorer 7 (which already had given me some grief)

It’s a high priority update now and i couldn’t immediately see any reason why i shouldn’t install it as after all i really wouldn’t be doing much browsing with it (it’s a server remember!)

To ensure all our anti-virus definitions were current i installed McAfee AutoUpdate Architect. During the configuration, every time i opened a wizard the pages automatically changed as though i was clicking the next button and stopping me from doing anything!

After a bit of digging i found this page which basically tells me that IE7 and UpdateUpdater are not a supported configuration!

Now for those who don’t know…when you buy McAfee products you get a grant number, you login to their site and download the latest version of the software including any documentation. I had downloaded the software and there was no extra documention files, i extracted the zip file and i read through the “read me” file and there is no mention of the fact that IE7 is unsuported. If it had been in there i wouldn’t have installed IE7 in the first place! This was the first time i’d found out there was a problem and i only i found out because went looking for it.

I still haven’t found anywhere else it says the configuration is unsupported

So we also paid for their “gold support” so i thought i’d see what the options were. I tried to login to their support portal and was told by the software that my email address was not valid and i should enter another. Five different addresses later and i knew i had to call someone.

On the main support page is a single telephone number for support. Dialled that number and it’s dead….great!

I had the number for the “gold support manager for the EMEA region” so phoned his direct line and mobile. I’m still waiting for the call back

Eventually we found a number and after being transferred three times and managed to explain the issue to get this answer,

“It doesn’t work with IE7”

Thats it. No details on any patch thats due out. No workaround to configure the software in a different way. Nothing

I was basically told i’d have to “rollback to IE6”

I wasn’t entirely keen on doing this but with the help of this KB article thats what i did.

When i’m doing an SBS install i usually take regular images of the system so i can go back to a point in time but because of the when i’d installed IE7 (at the start) i didn’t really want to lose all that work (i was installing AutoUpdater right towards the end!) so i’ve decided to run with it “as is” at the moment as the event log looks pretty clear and the system is pretty stable at the moment

So thats it for McAfee for me. Too many annoyances and i’ve not been happy with the support for years

We’ll evaluate some different systems in house and support two products until we finally move clients over to something else

So what are you using at your clients? Do you get good support? Is it value for money?

I’m going to look at Trend first i think but any insights would be welcome

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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4 thoughts on “McAfee final straw

  • Symantec for our client base. Though I keep hearing of people in the SMB community moving away from Symantec, it’s what our installed base continues to run.

  • I’ve just installed Trends Client Server Messaging Suite at a client. It went on the server and pcs with no problems, even automatically uninstalling the AVG install that was running. It seems to be effective, picking up and cleaning some spyware that it found, and is good value at the moment – i got 3 years maintenance for the price of 2 years. The only thing i’m not sure about is the level of reporting and finding out whats going on interactively – for eg during a pc scan, but this is probably down to my lack of experience with the product.

  • Thanks for your comments Nick and Terry

    We use other Symantec products so i’ll be having a look at that

    Also i’ve heard lots of good things about Trend so will be checking that out too

  • Hi Andy – I use AVG on half a dozen client sites now and have very few problems with it. It’s well supported and there are regular product updates. Plus – it’s priced as a bargain! The AMITPRO group were visited by Trend who demonstrated their CSM Suite recently though and it looked very impressive. My only real concern is Trend’s Support hours – 9 to 5pm, 5 days per week. I certainly don’t keep those hours, and don’t know any client nowadays that does either!

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