Vista problems with Norton Antivirus

Internet Connections affected by Norton Antivirus

At DOT-COMmunICaTions, we have recently dealt with a number of clients, with PCs running Windows Vista, who have problems connecting to the internet, both via wired and wireless broadband routers.  Typically the connection display graphic provided by Vista shows that the connection from the PC to the Router, is OK but shows a red cross on the connection from the Router to the Internet, indicating it is broken.  Usually there is also a message stating the connection has "limited connectivity". 

Users often contact their service provider's support desk to ask if there are problems with their broadband link.  Usually the provider's analyst will ask that the router be connected to the master BT line socket and then check the connection.  Typically they will then tell the user that no error is apparent at their end and suggest that either the PC's settings, or possibly the internal telephone socket wiring may be the cause.

There are many reasons why this situation can arise and each case merits individual investigation.  However in more than half the cases DOT-COMm has investigated, the cause been connected with Norton software.  In normal use this software doesn't cause any problem and provides valuable protection.  However if it is subsequently removed for whatever reason, connectivity problems can ensue.  This is typically because not all of the software is removed successfully.  When this happens, some elements may be left behind which effectively block access to the internet.  Confusingly internal networking between local resources such as other PCs, networked printers and storage is usually unaffected.  Installing an alternative package such as AVG, Avast, etc., although restoring the virus/spyware/etc. protection, makes no difference to the connectivity problem. 

In some instances we are aware of, Norton was installed automatically by a service provider as part of a Broadband service.  The provider subsequently decided to change to a different protection package and carried out removal of Norton and installation of the new package in the background on clients' machines whilst they were online. Again the problem arose where the removal was only partially successful.

This problem has been well known within the industry for some time.  Norton themselves, (the company name is Symantec), have published special software known as the Norton Removal Tool which is freely available from their web-site.  This software can be downloaded and run on PCs to ensure that all elements of their software are properly removed.  In most cases dealt with by DOT-COMm, this has been all that has been required to resolve the problem. 

To carry out this procedure, first save any open work and close all program windows on the PC.  Then using your normal browser, (eg. Internet Explorer), go to the following location on the internet, http://service1.symantec.com/support/tsgeninfo.nsf/docid/2005033108162039

and follow the steps explained.  Note that as stated, the correct steps may differ depending what Norton product used to be installed on the PC in question.  When the process has completed it will be necessary to restart your machine.

The instructions from Norton assume you will be re-installing their products.  When you reach this point, you can stop and subsequently to install any other comparable product of your choice. This includes several that are freely available such as AVG and Avast.  It is important that you do install some effective virus and spyware protection as soon as possible, as once your internet connection begins working again, your PC will immediately be placed at increased risk of infection.


Helpful Advice from those Friendly People at DOT-COMmunICaTions