Symantec software update causing BSOD on some Windows XP PCs

By on July 16, 2012, 2:30 PM

Symantec has reported that a recent antivirus update caused a number of PCs running Windows XP to crash. The conflict is said to affect Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1 software designed for business clients, resulting in the all-too-familiar blue screen of death for some if the right combination of software is present.

In a blog post on the subject, Symantec’s Orla Cox points out that customers running a combination of Windows XP, the latest version of Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response (SONAR), the rev11 SONAR signature set and “certain third party software” were affected.

The root cause of the issue was an incompatibility due to a three way interaction between some third party software that implements a file system driver using kernel stack based file objects – typical of encryption drivers, the SONAR signature and the Windows XP Cache manager.  The SONAR signature update caused new file operations that create the conflict and led to the system crash.

The blog post highlights the fact that their compatibility testing phase missed catching the issue and that they would be working to improve this part of the process to avoid similar problems in the future. Symantec won’t be releasing any new SONAR signature drivers until this new process is in place.

The security company was first made aware of the issue last week via customer complaints after installing revision 18 definitions. They reportedly worked around the clock to remedy the situation, issuing a rollback a day later but even that short amount of downtime can be a serious issue for a small business and their IT team.

Symantec told CNET that they wouldn’t be compensating users for lost worker production or time and effort that IT staff invested to get systems back up and running, despite claims to the contrary on Symantec’s discussion board.

User Comments: 9

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howzz1854 said:

this reminds me of last year's AVG fiasco.

why can't software makers just keep things simple.

I miss the good old days when McAfee and Norton were just two simple anti virus softwares that you could install, and uninstall with ease.

Sniped_Ash said:

The answer is to not use Symantec. Or WinXP.

Or computers, really.

Guest said:

people still install Symantec software ?

that news to me!


Bummer...... Don't they test that crap before they release the updates... oppps ... they forgot to test it.. oppsssyyy

Guest said:

XP = relic = fail

Sym products work fine as long as -SNIP-

David T. David T. said:

As I tell all my customers, do not use Symantec products. Just another reason not use this product. They have had a horrible track record for causing all sorts of issues with systems. In my opinion there are better products that do not cause the same head aches that offer the same if not better protection.

raybk said:

This happened several years ago. I needed to reinstall Windows and I dropped using Symantec products anymore, at home.

I am still using Symantec Endpoint Security in the office, unwillingly. It is bulky and it makes my computer dead slow, especially when updating virus definition. It downloads near 1G bytes of updated virus definition every day. During update, it takes more than 3 minutes start Outlook. Awful!

Guest said:

We use Symantec Enterprise, which has been OK, not bad, not great. We still have a few XP machines for older apps that can only run on XP and for test purposes. I have not seen the issues mentioned in the report, though the XP machines are not used every day.

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