Wasted time in trying to figure out computer connection problems
In what one might consider an exercise in futility, I experienced problems connecting to the Internet on Saturday. Up until Saturday morning, I was having no problems with doing my usual routine of browsing the Internet and checking things at work first thing in the morning. The problems were very strange given that I had changed nothing. So, I started looking around and found that Ping was working just fine, but NSLOOKUP was not. I was not able to find web sites at all and that was strange. It sure seemed like my ISP was having some problems. And dealing with Comcast is not for the faint of heart. But in the end, the problem ended up being McAfee, who I use for Anti-virus protection which was causing me the problems I was experiencing. All of this cost me a full day of trying to figure out exactly what was happening.
McAfee could have saved me all the time involved in researching the issue with attempts to fix the problem based on my research. It seems that they knew about the problems earlier in the week. But they neglected to inform any customers which would be the expected thing to do. But they have not, creating unnecessary frustration for many. All of this started back with a release on August 17th which left Enterprise and home customers exposed because of errors and problems created by McAfee. Unfortunately, with the complete lack of information being provided by McAfee, it meant that I was on my own when trying to figure out why I could not access the Internet.
For me, that meant checking my router and making sure that I had a valid connection. Then checking to see if I could ping and then moving on to doing the nslookup command which was failing. Each one of the activities would be the normal action when you find that your computer could not get to the Internet. I started running scans of the computer with every tool I had and then a few more to try and find out if my computer was infected with a virus. Each one that I ran did not find anything on the computer, which was a relief and a frustration.
I then added my laptop to my home network and found that it was working correctly. So that now meant that the problems being experienced where limited to my computer. After expending too many hours tracking down nslookup resolutions, I noticed that the nslookup commands were not going to the Internet and were being blocked. I checked McAfee and could not find anything obvious which was blocking port 53. At this point, that meant that I had some piece of software which was blocking things. My choice was to start to uninstall things to find what it was.
After installing browsers and various pieces of software, I got down to uninstalling McAfee. Not that I would think it was causing the problem, I had to continuing down the path that I was going. I retested after each software uninstall to see if that would resolve my problem. This was taking a lot of time. After uninstalling McAfee, my Internet connection returned. This was disturbing to me, but is was a solution. I then went to McAfee’s site and download a new version of their Internet Security software. After that was installed, I retested again to make sure that everything was working correctly. I was now back in business, though it was after 10:00 PM at night. This was on Saturday.
And it is not the end of the story and failure of McAfee to provide notification to their customers. For on Sunday morning, I logged on to my computer and checked to make sure that things were working correctly, which they were. But, suddenly, my McAfee software started uninstalling itself from my machine. Was I infected with a virus? Looks like I was not, for as soon as the install was finished, new software was downloaded and installed for Internet Security. I had to assume that McAfee had a bigger problem and was rolling out updates to all its users. Unannounced of course and hoping they would not generate publicity on what they were trying to correct. Once the software was done, I checked things out and I could still connect to the Internet and the software appeared to be from McAfee.
It is very discouraging to see a major anti-virus software company trying to hide what they are doing and then uninstall software without letting people know what is going on. Is this what a software company is supposed to be doing? After this episode with McAfee, should I consider someone else?
What do you think?