Mail vanished? Onecare installed?

This may be the reason email has been vanishing from my parents in law computer. A couple of times they have had emails disappear from outlook express, normally after a maintenance period has occured on the pc. Although they have Onecare “installed” it’s not working properly as Microsoft still can’t fix the bug where onecare can’t talk to the activation server to let it know it has been installed on the pc. Some parts of onecare work, like the firewall and the ability to delete mail at random, but the virus updates don’t (and you get an annoying red box popup each time you reboot the computer)

Windows OneCare released

OneCare was released earlier this week and I received notice that the beta I was on was due to finish and that I could purchase a discounted subscription. The funny thing is that the product is just not ready for release. I have an ongoing case with Microsoft support since October 2006 and we are still no further forward – After the software was re-installed (after it corrupted itself for the second time it asked me to reboot. I did so and then received a prompt to hit “continue installation” after logging into the computer. When I click this button I get the following error message – “Onecare cannot complete the installation at this time because of a problem connecting to the service. Please check your Internet connection, wait awhile, and then try again. If the problem persists, contact support.” This continues to happen. Clicking on contact support takes me to which returns a 404 page not found message – not very helpful either.

So far we’ve reinstalled various bits of Microsoft software and OneCare about 20 times and each time the software says that it can’t contact Microsoft’s servers to finish the installation. This is despite the fact that tcpview shows a connection and the av software does download patches. The problem is compounded by the fact that the software’s debugging facilities are practically non-existent and do not provide any help to the poor support guy. Speaking of which he has some very strange support times, answering helpdesk calls emails on Christmas day.

Onecare bug closed as a duplicate.

The bug I reported about onecare slowing down the performance of thunderbird has been closed because someone else has reported the same problem. Although it’s good to know that it is a known issue, closing the bug BEFORE it’s fixed is a bit daft as I won’t know when they’ve fixed it and it is ok to do more testing. I’ve had to remove the software in the meantime so any form of autoupdate is not going to reach the desktop!

Microsoft OneCare

Onecare has now been on my pc for about half a day and has not detected any problems. It seems to be working ok although as I’ve just rebooted my pc this morning I got a message saying that there were some unexpected errors and that the report was not sent to Microsoft at the time but it would like to send the information now. The one thing I didn’t like about the installation is that you have to uninstall any antivirus software you already have installed and you are also told to uninstall any firewall that is currently installed. Some people could take this literally and try to work out how to uninstall the XPsp2 firewall that is built in, although they are referring to personal firewalls such as zonealarm.
As the software installation is web based, I’m not impressed with the requirements that antivirus and firewalls need to be disabled beforehand as this could potentially lead to people getting infected whilst they install the software and are unprotected. It would make more sense to download the software onto the pc, disconnect it from the internet and then remove the firewall/av software, reboot and install. However with some pc’s automatically connecting to the internet via modem I’m not sure how MS can guarantee that people don’t reconnect on bootup (bearing in mind that this software is aimed at the non-pc literate user.)
I was also able to download the test virus onto my pc before the antivirus component kicked in and complained that I was trying to download a virus. After I said yes to quarantine the file, I ended up with a file called{random characters here} in the directory. I repeated the experiment and I’m not sure why I’ve ended up with these files but curiously they are different sizes (and a lot bigger than the source file). This has been logged with Microsoft because as far as I am concerned I should not be able to download the file onto my pc and I should also not be left with these weird files on the pc at the same time.
I’ve also noticed that thunderbird seems to be running a lot slower at the moment too but I’m not sure if this has anything to do with OneCare or not – it’s likely to be the culprit but I’m not 100% sure at the moment. The online help file with the software is not very helpful – entering “Thunderbird” into the knowledge base came back with articles such as How do I find the correct disc for restoring my files, What do I do if I don’t have a disc burner for Backup, What happens if I skip a disc while restoring files, How do I allow or block a program through the Firewall?, How do I upgrade or renew my Windows OneCare subscription?, Troubleshooting problems with updating Windows OneCare – most of which have nothing (or little) to do with thunderbird.
I’ve yet to try the backup routine although the annoying thing is that the window says that there are files waiting to be backed up but when you click on the backup now it then starts to scan for files to backup. This seems to be a bit pointless as surely the whole point of a background process is to have this information already. I can almost guarantee that there are always going to be files that need to be backed up as files are constantly changing on any pc that is used.