My experience with McAfee Total Protection 2011: a complete nightmare. Please read and tell me if I'm a grumpy old man or a victim of McAfee's very bad administration of its products and services.
If anybody knows where to find a User Guide for Total Protection 2011 (not the 2007 offered for download from McAfee's site), please let me know and I will be grateful.
What follows is a transcription of a chat I had this morning with McAfee support (Service Request 759355576). It tells the whole story.
Thank you for contacting McAfee Consumer Support. An agent will be with you shortly.
Hi George, my name is Abhishek from McAfee Technical Support, and I will be assisting you today.
May I confirm that you are unable to uninstall features of McAfee from your computer?
Yes. I am at the moment connected from another "fast" computer. Does it matter?
George, for verification purpose, May I have your home telephone number with area code first?
Can I paste a full description of the problem in this box?
My phone is +30 (for Greece) followed by 210xxxxxxx
How do you currently connect to the Internet? (Dial-up, DSL, Cable, or Wireless)
Thank you for all the information.
Which version of Windows are you using? (95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP Pro or Home, Vista)
The computer I'm having the problem is running XP Home SP3 and has all updates.
Thank you for all the information.
May I confirm that you need to remove McAfee completely from your computer?
No, I don't want to remove McAfee. Read the following text. to understand:
I recently purchased the McAfee Total Protection product for 3 computers in my daughter's family. I tried to install it on one laptop and it took me 10 days to succeed. I'm not a novice and have been using a personal computer since 1981 starting with the Sinclair ZX81 if you are old enough to remember it.
I have installed and uninstalled hundreds or maybe thousands of applications during these 30 years but I must admit that I have never seen such a user unfriendly site or program. It is a shame if you compare it to Symantec, who offer the equivalent Norton 360 suite, the installation and running of which is flawless.
My problems started when I tried to install Total Protection and the installer reported that it encountered an error and needed to close. Fair enough, these things happen and I tried and tried again many times. At that point, I wasn't able to link to service.mcafee.com and always received a "connection refused by server" error.
I connected to the service from another computer and started searching there to troubleshoot the problems. I read every document named STxxxxx, Google searched, downloaded and run McPreInstall.exe, McTrace.exe and McAfee Virtual Technician and could not find the cause. This went on for 10 days until I accidentally found a reply in the McAfee forums yesterday. It suggested to:
Check C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc and remove all other files rather than hosts, lmhosts.sam, networks,protocol and services. Then please open Hosts file in notepad and replace it with below Hosts file content. Please remove any other third security softwares like Norton, Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Live OneCare, etc.. Restart your computer and try to install McAfee.
# Copyright (c) 1993-2009 Microsoft Corp.
# This is a sample HOSTS file used by Microsoft TCP/IP forWindows.
# This file contains the mappings of IP addresses to hostnames. Each
# entry should be kept on an individual line. The IP addressshould
# be placed in the first column followed by thecorresponding host name.
# The IP address and the host name should be separated by atleast one
# Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted onindividual
# lines or following the machine name denoted by a '#'symbol.
# For example:
# 126.96.36.199 rhino.acme.com # sourceserver
# 188.8.131.52 x.acme.com # x client host
# localhost name resolution is handled within DNS itself.
# 127.0.0.1 localhost
# ::1 localhost
Why on earth this procedure was required and how should a normal user have such technical knowledge is beyond my understanding. However, I was desperate and tried it. When it was completed, the installer came to life and started to do its job. I was asked for the user id and password, it found the subscription, downloaded the application and asked if I wanted a (recommended) automatic or a custom install.
After my bad experience, I selected the automatic install as I didn't want another incident. As it is normal with every other suite, I thought that I would be able to configure the product and uninstall unwanted features later.
But this wasn't the case. The computer is running a lot of products at startup and there isn't any option to uninstall certain features from the Add/Remove Programs. The only available options are to uninstall the full suite or the SiteAdvisor.
I have the following products running at startup, some of which I don't know what they are:
1% - Product: McAfee Online Backup bootstrapper Service
McAfee Anti-Spam Service - Product: McAfee Service Host
McAfee Core Firewall Service - Product: McAfee Core Firewall Service
McAfee McShield - Product: McAfee On-Access Scanner Service
McAfee Network Agent - Product: McAfee Service Host
McAfee Personal Firewall Service - Product: McAfee Service Host
McAfee Proxy Service - Product: McAfee Service Host
McAfee Services - Product: McAfee Service Host
McAfee SiteAdvisor BHO - Product: SiteAdvisor
McAfee SiteAdvisor Service - Product: McAfee Service Host
McAfee SiteAdvisor Toolbar - Product: SiteAdvisor
McAfee Validation Trust Protection Service - Product: McAfee Process Validation Service
McAfee VirusScan Announcer - Product: McAfee Service Host
McPvTray - Product: McAfee AntiTheft Tray
mcui_exe - Product: McAfee Security Center
scriptproxy - Product: VSCore Script Scanner
The laptop on which Total Protection was installed is old, with limited disk and memory space and an outdated processor. I am trying to keep it clean and runinstall any unwanted features in an effort to make it run at acceptable speeds. I definitely don't need the following features of the Total Protection 2011 suite, but cannot find a way to uninstall them and free disk space and memory overload:
On line backup
Is there a safe way to unistall these features and delete their files from disk? Please don't give me the canned reply: uninstall and reinstall. I also need to configure the suite's Control Center and dowloaded the Total Suite User Guide of over 300 pages, only to discover that it refers to the 2007 package and has no resemblance to the menus and choices of the 2011 edition! The help pages are also very vague and practically "useless".
Needless to say that my experience from McAfee has been very bad and I will not renew the subscription when it expires. If a satisfactory solution cannot be suggested to the immediate problem of unistalling the four features as above, I will also cancel the subscription and ask for a refund.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Take your time in reading.
Sorry to inform you that we are unable to remove these feature individually from your computer, so we would suggest you to uninstall and reinstall McAfee by selecting the option Custom and uncheck the unwanted feature before continue the installation.
That's exactly the reply given to every issue I'm afraid. How can I be sure that uninstalling the product won't affect my license for 3 computers? In other words, will the counter be reset to 3 available licenses?
If you are removing the product from add or remove programs, it will free that license installed on your computer, so you can reinstall the same license from your account.
George, is there anything else I can assist you with McAfee products today?
Do I need to install and use the removal tool from McAfee?
A final question: will I get a transcript of this chat?
To save this chat session, please click on the file on top of this GoToAssist window and then click on save. You can use this chat script for future reference.
OK thank you for your time and have a nice day.
George, you may receive a survey from McAfee that will give you an opportunity to provide feedback on the support we have provided you today. Your feedback is valuable, and the information you provide will either validate how we provide support today or give us additional areas to focus on for improvement in the future. Thank you for contacting McAfee Technical Support.
Have a Great Day, George.