Norton, C++ and tech support



  • OK, after an hour or so with support pages and tech support, i thought i would post these. And no, this is not just another 'L1 tech support sux' type post, the tech support guy i got was actually as helpful as could be expected, given the issue.

    A few of you (i suspect very few considering norton's reputation around here) may know that everyone running Norton 360 from last year just got a free upgrade;. For reasons unknown, mine didn't work. After a few tries, a reboot, the standard stuff, i tried the 'support' pages online. The first one (link) told me to install Microsoft Visual C++ 2005. I couldn't work out quite why, but I tried it. Unfortunately the install fails. Then it hits me. 2005? Why the old distro? And secondly, why do i need what i assume to be an interpreter? that must mean that the installer runs.... oh my shizz, the installer isn't compiled? (If i'm wrong here, please correct me, I'm a VERY inexperienced coder). Our first WTF, i think; the installer runs in interpreted C++.

    In any case, that didn't work, so on to the next page of support (link). Now it tells me to download Norton's standalone scanner, to check some virus or other isn't blocking a security install. it downloads as an exe, 2.8MB. if you check the second link, you'll see you have to create a folder for the application, but NOT save it there. why? because when you run the application, it unzips a folder of .DLL's and a central application (NSS.exe), which you intended to unzip to the folder you are instructed to create. Why not just send the .zip? EVERYONE has winzip; on Vista you don't even need it. Why wrap it in an exe? WTF? In any case, it came up clean, as i have good net sense (click here for a free virus!) and keep my Norton up to date. I tried the C++ install and the Norton install again; nothing's changed. Our second WTF; a .exe in a .zip in a .exe.

    And now our third WTF; tech support's initial chat system. It runs exclusively in IE. 5.5 or later, to be precise. It checks as part of the pre-chat procedure. I have to go from Safari to IE (IE brings death to my eyes). Also, am I the only person who wonders if there is a machine left which runs an IE earlier than 5.5? I would highlight Mac compatibility, but obviously Macs don't get viruses 😉

    So I'm now finally on the chat system to a possibly-indian tech support guy. He actually had pretty good English, and was fairly technically competent. Norton have a fairly well-made remote desktop app which allows their tech support guys to do what they need to do. He did the best he could, but as far as he could tell, the issue was Microsoft's VC++ interpreter not loving my PC. As a resolution, he gave me 60 extra days subscription to updates, and we said our goodbyes. Unfortunately, the one thing he couldn't do for me was get rid of the annoying popup in the corner every hour or so telling me to upgrade to version 2.0. I was thinking about trying to kill the taskbar process that runs it, but I think I'll leave it there, to remind me that not all tech support are drones that are likely to instruct you to format C:/ because their routers are down.



  • It is called the runtime. It's stuff like strlen and so on, taking care of stuff the language needs implemented. Calling main and such stuff.



  • @henke37 said:

    It is called the runtime. It's stuff like strlen and so on, taking care of stuff the language needs implemented. Calling main and such stuff.

    Fair enough. Like I said, I'm quite inexperienced. But that's the first time I've ever needed to do something like install a language-specific program just to install an update. I guess it's just a case of black magic that the update didn't work in the first place.



  • The runtime is very common. Most installers that need the runtime will install it silently, since it's a support component. Just like games that require Direct X generally will package the Direct X installer. Most cases I've seen of the runtime failing install is due to registry "cleaner" and spyware "removal" applications that obliterated important parts of the registry, particularly mucking about in the CLSIDs and file associations. YMMV.



  • So, my first paragraph was obviously just a standard feature that didn't work for me. White magic is when code that runs on your laptop doesn't run on $5000 servers, because your laptop has the right mixture of patches etc. Black Magic is when a C++ runtime environment (is that the right term? I've heard it somewhere...) refuses to work for no good reason. It's frekkin' witchcraft i tells yer. Got me 60 days free updates though. Will just have to hope they keep their updates back-compatible.

    Are the other bits WTFs? the exe-zip-exe thing seems like it to me. Fair enough, zipping up your dlls and main exe to distribute is good, but then wrapping it all in a customised unzipper seems a little odd when, as mentioned, nearly everyone has some form of winzip to hand. IE-exclusivity is a bit par for the course, I admit.

    Pytechd, you mentioned registry cleaners etc, Norton 360 has a built in cleaners for 'optimisation', i would laugh my skinny ass off if i found out Norton had fucked over my registry so that i can't upgrade Norton itself.



  • WTF? You are a coder, and you are asking these questions?

    Norton asked you to install the MSVC redistributable, NOT MSVC itself. 2005 isn't exactly an old distro, it just happens to be the version that they used to build with.
    NO it isn't an interpreter, I've never heard of a C++ interpreter (that would definitely be a WTF). Technically ANY program should make sure you have the redistributable. Fortunately pretty much everyone already has it.

    WinZip has a cool feature that it will generate a self extracting archive. Yeah you guessed it, it will zip your file up and stick it in an exe. Everyone doesn't have winzip. This isn't a WTF, it is a common scenario.(have you NEVER downloaded a file off the net?) I don't really care for it, but it is a case of them trying to take care of the customer.

    It is kind of lame that they run only on IE 5.5 or newer, but it really isn't a WTF that they are checking for IE 5.5. They probably developed a portion of the system a few years ago, and used a feature that came out in Ie5.5.

    Now the WTF here is the resolution was to give you more time? Did he not solve the problem? What good is giving you another 60 days if it doesn't work?
    I don't think your problem was with MSVC (I assume other programs run just fine on your system?)

    TRWTF is that you thought these things were WTFs



  •  Actually, it makes sense for an emergency antivirus program to assume there are absolutely NO tools installed; not even "WinZip". You may run it from a live disk and only have a RAM-drive available. Or a virus may have turned your system unusable so your unpacker just doesn't work any more. Possibly, you may even need to call it from the recovery console.



  • OK, sorry dude...

    When i say 'very inexperienced coder' i mean, 15 years old, teaching self python for fun, don't have much of a clue about applications, runtime, redistributables. I can read most languages OK and understand most of the stuff on this site,but application distribution and installers i know not, so i guess you're right, the WTF here is that i posted without checking some of this stuff out properly, and for this i apologise. The Norton install does have the redistributable on it already as a silent install, and when this fails the first step of the support page is to install it manually (Will that make much of a difference?). I didn't know about the Winzip feature, yes i have downloaded a file off the internet, it's just usually my zips are zips (Vista can extract zips without Winzip) The 60 days of updates is an add-on to my norton update subscription, my copy of version 1 is still working and updating, but due to some form of magic the redistributable i need for v2 won't work; the matter is out of their hands. I still think the problem may be MSVC, although i have started to notice a few weird happenings with my laptop recently; python shell, lego robots software, safari and MSN messenger have all gone somewhat tits up on me at various points in the last few weeks, all though some of these are recurring problems.

    With the chat function, the weird thing was that after 5 mins in the browser chat (javascript i think, never checked), the support guy got me to download a shiny-looking remote support tool they use (chat, remote desktop, file transfer etc.); it was only a 700k file, so why didn't they just get me to connect via that in the first place? Surely you could set up a system so that after i enter my details, the web app records them in a table, along with my IP, then the site directs me to the download page for the support tool. Then when the support tool has loaded, it connects to a server, the server sees that I'm an unanswered helpdesk problem by my IP, and connects me to a helpdesk technician.

    my real point about the IE thing was, why specify IE? I have heard web designers say they write to web standards, then adapt their pages to be compatible with IE - not the other way around. The only thing i can think is that there's some IE-specific feature they're using, but the chat function and forms are in Javascript

    Chris, if this thread pisses you off that much, I'll get it a mod to delete it tomorrow, but it's late here, i need sleep. Night.



  • @stewieatb said:

    I still think the problem may be MSVC
     

    You're not alone.  A good number of people had problems with the SP1 update.  I'm guessing they've just pushed their first build based on 2k5sp1.

     



  • But the self-extracting zip installers have been able to actually run the extracted installer for ages. No need to manually create folders in the root directory.

    And then they should either ship the installer with the redistributable dll or use static linking for the runtime.

    That makes it half a WTF on the usability side.



  • @stewieatb said:

    my real point about the IE thing was, why specify IE? I have heard web designers say they write to web standards, then adapt their pages to be compatible with IE - not the other way around. The only thing i can think is that there's some IE-specific feature they're using, but the chat function and forms are in Javascript

     

    Why is it such a problem? 100% of the norton users have IE (windows only). 90% of the norton users use only IE (given the type of user that normally uses norton). 99,99% of the users that need norton tech support use only IE.

    When I read about the problems you have with the various apps, I'd say your system is pretty f*****d up. I'd do something about that.



  • @chrismcb said:

    I've never heard of a C++ interpreter (that would definitely be a WTF).

    Meet [url=http://www.softintegration.com/products/]Ch[/url].

    @stewieatb said:

    Also, am I the only person who wonders if there is a machine left which runs an IE earlier than 5.5?

    Windows 2000 has IE 5.0, and is still in the extended support phase.

    @stewieatb said:

    I have heard web designers say they write to web standards, then adapt their pages to be compatible with IE - not the other way around.

    Well, I have heard about web designers writing their pages to be compatible with IE, and then... spending the pay. ;=] Hopefully, IE 8 will bite them back.

    @topspin said:

    But the self-extracting zip installers have been able to actually run the extracted installer for ages. No need to manually create folders in the root directory.

    My "favourite" is the NVIDIA ForceWare installer. It prompts you for the "installation" directory, unpacks itself in it, then runs the real installer, and then... leaves the temporary directory intact. Just in case, you know.

    Ah, the golden days of the "Add Hardware" wizard and the "Have Disk" button...



  • @chrismcb said:

    NO it isn't an interpreter, I've never heard of a C++ interpreter (that would definitely be a WTF).

    You are looking for CINT?



  • @Spectre said:

    My "favourite" is the NVIDIA ForceWare installer. It prompts you for the "installation" directory, unpacks itself in it, then runs the real installer, and then... leaves the temporary directory intact. Just in case, you know.
    It's the same with ATI, and with most drivers that HP offers on their pages (the few exceptions only extract the drivers without running the installer - they leave you to do that).



  • I think "Norton" should be a swear word. [re: Norton, C++ and tech support]

    @stewieatb said:

    OK,

    You had me at "Norton"! 

    @stewieatb said:

    after an hour or so with support pages and tech support, i thought i would post these. And no, this is not just another 'L1 tech support sux' type post, the tech support guy i got was actually as helpful as could be expected, given the issue.

    You mean "Norton"?  I think that should be a swear word, not an "issue".  Try peppering your post with NORTON! and see if it sounds right.

    @stewieatb said:

    A few of you (i suspect very few considering norton's reputation around here)

    It has a reputation for being a steaming great pile of NORTON!

    @stewieatb said:

    may know that everyone running Norton 360 from last year just got a free upgrade;.

    Nothing that costs you that much in blood, pain, mental agony, cognitive dissonance and wasted time can really be called "free".  Or "upgrade".

    It can only be called "Norton". 

    @stewieatb said:

    For reasons unknown,
    NORTON!

    @stewieatb said:

    mine didn't work. After a few tries, a reboot, the standard stuff,

    Standard for Norton, maybe. 

    @stewieatb said:

    i tried the

    NORTON!

    @stewieatb said:

    'support' pages online.

    And "Norton support" can't be called "support". 

    @stewieatb said:

    The first one (link) told me to install Microsoft Visual C++ 2005. I couldn't work out quite why, but I tried it.

    You clearly have a strong grasp of the NORTON! way of doing things!

    @stewieatb said:

    Unfortunately the install fails. Then it hits me. 2005? Why the old distro? And secondly, why do i need what i assume to be an interpreter? that must mean that the installer runs.... oh my shizz, the installer isn't compiled? (If i'm wrong here, please correct me, I'm a VERY inexperienced coder). Our first WTF, i think; the installer runs in interpreted C++.
    It probably doesn't.  If they had even tried it, you'd be saying @stewieatb said:
    "the
    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    installer fails to run in interpreted C++".

    @stewieatb said:

    In any case, that didn't work,

    That's our Norton!

    @stewieatb said:

    so on to the next page of
    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    support (link). Now it tells me to download Norton's standalone scanner, to check some virus or other isn't blocking a security install. it downloads as an exe, 2.8MB. if you check the second link, you'll see you have to create a
    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    folder for the
    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    application, but NOT save it there. why? because when you run the
    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    application, it unzips a
    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    folder of .DLL's and a central application (NSS.exe), which you intended to unzip to the folder you are instructed to create. Why not just send the
    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    .zip? EVERYONE has winzip; on Vista you don't even need it.

    You don't really need Norton anywhere.

    @stewieatb said:

    Why wrap it in an exe? WTF? In any case, it came up clean, as i have good net sense (click here for a free virus!) and keep my Norton up to date.

    Waittaminnit, I thought you said you had good net sense?  That's NORTON! good sense!@stewieatb said:
    I tried the C++ install and the Norton install again; nothing's changed. Our second
    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    WTF; a
    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    .exe in a
    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    .zip in a
    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    .exe.
    What a NORTON! daft way of doing things!@stewieatb said:

    And now our third

    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    WTF; tech support's initial chat system. It runs exclusively in IE. 5.5 or later, to be precise. It checks as part of the pre-chat procedure. I have to go from Safari to IE (IE brings death to my eyes). Also, am I the only person who wonders if there is a machine left which runs an IE earlier than 5.5? I would highlight Mac compatibility, but obviously Macs don't get viruses 😉
    And they don't get Norton either.  Lucky Macs!@stewieatb said:

    So I'm now finally on the chat system to a possibly-indian tech support guy. He actually had pretty good English, and was fairly technically competent.

    Was his name "Norton"?@stewieatb said:

    Norton have a fairly well-made remote desktop app which allows their tech support guys to do what they need to do.

    You'd let Norton "do" things to you?  You must have a NORTON! death-wish!@stewieatb said:
    He did the best he could, but as far as he could tell, the issue was Microsoft's
    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    VC++ interpreter not loving my
    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    PC. As a resolution, he gave me 60 extra days subscription to
    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    updates, and we said our goodbyes.
    That is NORTON! a satisfactory resolution!@stewieatb said:
    Unfortunately, the one thing he couldn't do for me was get rid of the annoying
    NORTON!@stewieatb said:
    popup in the corner every hour or so telling me to upgrade to version 2.0. I was thinking about trying to kill the taskbar process that runs it, but I think I'll leave it there, to remind me that not all tech support are drones that are likely to instruct you to format C:/ because their routers are down.

    Yeh, but .. but.... just NORTON!(*)

     

    (*) - Can you tell I don't like Norton?



  • @Spectre said:

    My "favourite" is the NVIDIA ForceWare installer. It prompts you for the "installation" directory, unpacks itself in it, then runs the real installer, and then... leaves the temporary directory intact. Just in case, you know.
    I've encountered that very thing several times with various versions of the DirectX runtime or SDK (I've installed a lot of both, and I think both do that.)



  • @DaveK said:

    Norton!

    Feck, i was expecting a norton-hater at some point but that really takes the biscuit. I use Norton because it was free with my computer. I am starting to realise this may have led to it sodomizing my registry as I appear to be unable to install anything at the moment. This requires experimentation. Experiment will consist of a stack of games I don't play and trying to install some of them.



  • hrmm. sodomizing and experimentation in the same post as norton.

    do you have a webcam? 



  • @Daemo said:

    hrmm. sodomizing and experimentation in the same post as norton.

    do you have a webcam? 


    As it happens, yes. However i am not here for your software fetish



  • @DaveK said:

    @stewieatb said:

    OK,

    You had me at "Norton"! 

    [half insane babbeling]

     

    Wait, am I right? I've got the felling, no..., that can't be right. But still, I suspect you don't really like Norton. But I might be wrong in that so please don't flame me for it.


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