Symantec Error in Line 1

Admittedly, I get a bad impression of Windows software because the only time I ever touch it is when it’s already causing problems for someone. But gag.

The latest wonderful bit of nonsense is thanks to Symantec, in particular their “Norton Internet Security” product. Its wonderful new activation feature is broken on Windows XP, so naturally, when you buy a copy of Internet Security, it automatically disables itself, and tells you to phone someone who calls you a pirate and, in a fit of self-righteous indignation, then refuses to help you at all. Heck, even the web pages do it:

customer support [sic]

We cannot provide further information about this product.

You may have been the victim of software piracy and could be in possession of counterfeit software. If you believe that this is possible, please send an email to and let us know which product you purchased, your activation/product key, and how and where you bought the product. Any contact information you provide will be kept confidential.

If you would like to purchase a new copy of the product, click here.

Thanks a bundle, Suck-antic.

The recommendations on a different part of the website, when you try downloading the update that you apparently need and it fails (which you only find out about thanks to talking to someone who actually gives a damn about their customers — ie, your local retailer, not Some-anal-tic — who tells you other folks have had the same problem and point you in the right direction) tell you to run LiveUpdate a few times and hope. But by this time the product’s decided to disable itself, lest the filthy hands of a copyright violator dare attempt to caress the pale flesh of its heaving bosom, and hence refuses to give you any information on your subscription status, or let you do updates to half the program. The recommendations then tell you to do the usual “oh, remove it then reinstall it” dance, with the added bonus that you have to delete some hidden files by hand. Naturally, on a brand new laptop, this process takes half an hour, with the hard drive mostly idle.

Three hours later, and we’ve reinstalled. Trying to run LiveUpdate to get the bug fix patch does the download, then tells me I “chose” not to install “any of the 1 available update(s)”. (You know, “any of the 1” isn’t grammatical, whether you pluralise update or not, morons) Naturally, I did no such thing, but I have to reboot anyway. Upon rebooting, trying to get back into LiveUpdate results in “LU1840: Automatic LiveUpdate is already running in the background. Please wait for this LiveUpdate session to finish before running LiveUpdate again.” Trying the “LiveUpdate” icon in Control Panel just results in the same error. Randomly killing crap from Task Manager, otoh, works fine. Unfortunately, whatever option window lets me stop LiveUpdate from running automatically is disabled. Helpful.

And, of course, the piece of crap still doesn’t work.

Best part? After deciding the product key is unacceptable, calling me a pirate, and refusing to say anything more, when I tell it to “Activate Later”, its immediate thought is still to pop up a little window saying “You have chosen to skip activation. Successful activation should take less than a minute. Your product will not work until you activate it.”

Would I like to activate now? No, I’d like a refund and some anti-virus software from a company that’s not full of incompetent, customer-hating cretins.

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