This is XP SP3 I trust?
What are the notebook's vital statistics? RAM, free HD space and processor speed? Was there any previous protection software installed, if so did you not only uninstall it but use their removal tool? (There usually is, from the manufacturer).
Exactly what product/components did you install?
Although I use Total Protection I only installed the anti-virus, firewall and Siteadvisor components on my Intel Mini which I've since upgraded to Windows 7, but it worked fine with XP SP3.
You can go back assuming System Restore is switched on by booting into Safe Mode (usually reached by tapping F8 while booting up), then go to Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/System Restore or follow this article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/304449
That way you can go back to before this happened and endeavour to troubleshoot why it happened.
It is SP3, yes. the machine was blank. I installed xpsp3 from scratch. Yes, there's over 250gb of hd space and 1 gb of ram. I only installed the virus scan plus component and it just hangs at the Windows XP screen. The logs are full of the "failed to update root certificates" error, so I removed that feature. Still no joy. Whenever I remove McAfee, all returns to normal.
The "failed to update root certificates" thing makes me wonder if there are updates you need from Windows Update. Check it using Custom and opt for all updates using Microsoft Update which looks for updates for everything. Elect for all it finds not just the critical ones.
I have done all that, still no joy. It's really bizarre.
I'm a multi-license user (5). 4 machines that run the older version work fine. This one, being brand new, is getting the latest version and it doesn't work at all. Windows doesn't boot (Windows XP screen with traveling blue dots stays on the screen forever).
I actually rebooted the machine and selected "last known good configuration." This time windows booted okay, but then the McAfee virus scan engine refused to start! If I try to run a scan it reports an error, go to home page and restart scan.... over and over and over. It also reports that real-time scanning is enabled, but when you go to the details everything is grayed out. Rinse, repeat.