Symantec patches product activation problems

Utility software vendor Symantec Corp. has issued a patch to correct problems some users had with an antipiracy activation feature they encountered when trying to install Norton AntiVirus 2004 and other Norton products.

The problem surfaced in October when some users had to reactivate the software every time they restarted their machines because of a problem with the software reading the configuration of their computers, according to Symantec.

Del Smith, a senior product manager for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company, said Symantec has posted a patch that fixes the product activation problem experienced by some users of the 2004 versions of Norton AntiVirus as well as Norton SystemWorks, Internet Security, AntiSpam, Password Manager and Personal Firewall.

Smith said the problem affected less than half of one per cent of all users of the products.

The problem is being blamed on the alphanumeric code that helped identify a user’s computer hardware configuration within the software upon installation, Smith said. The problem was not specific to any brand of PC or components, he said.

If the activation feature failed, then users were told on boot-up that they had to enter their activation code information. After a certain number of reactivations, the software ceases to operate by design until the user calls Symantec technical support for assistance.

Product activation is being used in Symantec products for the first time now to help fight software piracy, Smith said. An estimated 3.6 million copies of Symantec products are found to be counterfeit each year.

The product activation technology was tested on a pilot basis in January for the English edition of Norton AntiVirus 2003 and was used by some 250,000 users without any significant complaints, Smith said.

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