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McAfee virus update freezes PCs

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Anti-virus company McAfee has sent out a dodgy .dat automatic update file that has been causing some PCs to freeze. Details are a little sketchy at the moment, but we eventually managed to find a Network Associates techy (McAfee parent company) that confirmed a file had been sent out and customers' PCs had been seizing up.

Techman said the file only affected an old engine - the 4002 - and runs perfectly well on the new engine, the 4070. To be frank, we have no idea what he's talking about and he wasn't willing to elaborate any further. He also claimed that the solution was to download some superdat files off the company's Web site which will upgrade to the new engine. He didn't know how this would be possible if your PC had already frozen.

The details would appear to be that a 4102 signature file update was sent out in the last 24 hours. Unfortunately, many who auto-updated found that they were unable to reboot. If you've got Win 9X, you'll need to set the McAfee service to disabled. There is some argument over whether this is possible even in safe mode.

The problem affects Windows 95, 98 and NT machines.

McAfee has yet to respond formally but we did get this email regarding the matter (it seems a little confused and rushed to us, but you may think different):

"The issue lies with the DAT file 4102 - there are known issues with this dat file with NT and with 95 98 and 2000 machines - it will take up all the system resources and make the computer run slower than it ever will.

This in NT is how you fix the issue.

Start---run---Type in cmd---press ok---When you get to Dos type---net stop "Dr Solomon's McShield" /y

This will stop the service from running. Restart the system. Go into windows--go to www.nai.com under download updates now. Find the dat options. Download the sdat 4102.exe file then use that one and the issue should be resolved.

This dat file was having issues with older scan engines below 4050 the new sdat will upgrade the scan engine as well and the dates."

So there you have it. This is a little embarrassing for McAfee is it not? Symantec was unavailable when we tried to contact the company. Perhaps they'd nipped out to buy some champagne.

We'll keep you informed. ®

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