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Symantec Anti-Virus Software Update Bug Crashes Windows PCs

The VAR Guy

July 14, 2012

2 Min Read
Symantec Anti-Virus Software Update Bug Crashes Windows PCs

Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) has fixed an anti-virus software bug that triggered Blue Screens of Death (system crashes) on Windows XP PCs and laptops. For channel partners, the Symantec bug is a healthy reminder to test patches on lab systems or in a controlled workgroup before rolling them out universally to customers.

Symantec disclosed the problem in a July 12 support alert, stating:

“On July 11th, 2012 at approximately 22:30 PST, Symantec started receiving reports of customers experiencing blue screens after applying Proactive Threat Protection definition version July 11, 2012 rev 11. Machines may continue to blue screen after they reboot. This problem appears to occur only on Windows XP machines running SEP 12.1.”

Small or Big Deal?

On the one hand, it sounds like the impact was extremely limited because it only involved Windows XP running a recent update to Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1 or Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition. But on the other hand, there are still millions of PCs running Windows XP — a prime upgrade target for Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows 8 upgrade.

Symantec is aware of roughly 300 corporate customers that have been affected, and about 60 consumer customers, according to Reuters. The VAR Guy suspects those figures are low because so many consumers don’t exactly know how to contact vendors (Symantec, in this case) or channel partners when a problem pops up.

Symantec Fixes Bug

Symantec has written a software fix and posted corrective instructions for partners and customers.

Overall, Symantec Endpoint Protection 12 (prior to this bug) has been a well-received upgrade. And when SEP 12 arrived in July 2011, it was an easy install for many partners. But this past week’s bug coupled with updated partner programs from software rivals could cause some competitive market chatter.

In recent days:

Still, Symantec’s rivals have not reached out to The VAR Guy about the Symantec software bug. Amid all the fierce endpoint security competition, software companies are careful not to point fingers when bugs pop up — because you never know who is going to accidentally introduce the next bug.

For channel partners, it’s a healthy reminder to test everything before accepting universal patch updates.

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