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Symantec showers free software on bug-afflicted Chinese

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Chinese PC users whose machines were crippled by a dodgy software update from Symantec have two weeks to apply for compensation. The company has announced that the 50,000 users affected by the error are entitled to some free Norton anti-virus licenses.

Symantec says the offer is a "gesture of goodwill".

We're not sure it'll be received as such. After all, when some software has killed your PC do you really want free copies of the software that caused the problem in the first place. Cockroach in your salad, sir? Have some free salad.

The update, released on May 18, wrongly categorised as malware two system files in the Simplified Chinese version of XP. It then quarantined the files, which rather spoiled the PCs concerned. Symantec has attributed the problem to "an automated process".

The error kicked off a storm online, and even attracted a lawsuit or two.

Those who manage to get to the special website between June 27 and July 15 will not just get a free 12 month extension of their cockroach salad anti-virus software. Consumers will also qualify for a free copy of the Norton Save & Restore 2.0 backup software, while business users will be offered a Symantec Ghost Solution Suite licence.

All you have to do to qualify is be able to prove that your software was licensed in the first place, and that you were definitely affected by the cockroach, sorry, bug. ®

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