For several years, McAfee Internet Security has done an excellent job of keeping my various computers safe though the administration associated with the product has become increasingly tedious.
In a previous article, I mentioned the wisdom of purchasing the physical CD rather than trading with McAfee online—the problem is that they grab your credit card details and automatically renew your subscription every year while providing no simple way to cancel this process.
This approach, they say, "is for your protection” even though the PC being protected may have long since departed to ‘computer heaven’.
Then there are the advertisements and ‘renewal reminders’ that pop-up from various sources—in the confusion, it is easy to renew a subscription for software which has been replaced by a newer version or may not even relate to that machine if the user has several PCs.
To be fair, I also know several people who have purchased Norton and other internet security products as a result of confusion rather than necessity—I recently saw a PC with 6 different 'conflicting' internet security products which had bought the machine to a grinding halt.
McAfee 2009 problems
A few weeks back, I purchased a 3-user version of McAfee Internet Security 2009 which I installed on my new Windows Vista desktop with no problems.
I also installed the software on my older Windows-XP machine whose previous subscription had not yet expired though I didn’t immediately notice that the subscription expiry date remained the same.
When I got round to installing this software on my Vista Laptop yesterday, part of the installation failed due to a “newer installation detected” which I presume to mean updates to the previous version—the meagre instructions which come with McAfee 2009 state that you can install without removing the previous installation though that seems to be poor advice.
I also noticed that the subscription expiry date had not been updated as the installation process appears to latch-on to the remainder of the previous subscription once you go on-line to ‘validate’ the installation.
On the Windows XP installation, I resolved the matter by going to the McAfee account and downloading the relevant software using the link on the new subscription—not entirely straightforward as the ‘firewall’ module (needed on XP) was not offered and I subsequently installed this from the CD.
The subscription expiry was updated but only to the date of my first installation on the Vista machine—so anyone who buys three computers over the course of a year will get poor value from the 3-licence product.
On the laptop, I completely uninstalled the existing software and re-installed with a view to ‘activating’ the product under a different username in order to get my full 12 months of cover—the installation process normally picks-up the fact that you have an existing account and invites you to ‘activate’ using those login details which may be changed at that stage.
On this occasion, however, the installation went smoothly with no request to activate though the expiry of the subscription was updated ‘in short measure’ as previously described—the behaviour of this software is rather inconsistent though I should perhaps have remembered to delete the relevant ‘cookie’ generated by the previous installation of McAfee 2009.
If you think that this is all a bit to much of an effort to achieve a simple result, nobody would blame you.