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Norton fix coming Monday

Symantec's System Doctor feature may cause problems when used with Windows 98.

A patch is on the way for a bug in Symantec's Norton Utilities, the company said today.

The bug involves the Windows 98 fast shut-down feature, which may shut the system down before Norton's System Doctor feature has time to close, resulting in system freezes. Symantec said today that a patch will be available on the company's Live Update site on Monday.

"It's unfortunate that it has gotten this kind of visibility," said Enrique Salem, vice president of security for Symantec, who said that Norton testers did not encounter the glitch on the systems that were tested. "It's become a bigger issue than it is, but it is an issue that needs to be fixed."

Originally reported by BugNet, the problem has been the subject of discussion on Symantec bulletin boards.

Norton users expressed their frustration in bulletin board forums.

"If System Doctor doesn't work with Windows 98 at this rather basic level, it doesn't give me a lot of faith in how well the rest of it works," wrote one user.

Although Windows 98 has caused controversy with its problematic upgrades on older systems and rumors about imininant service packs, the upgraded OS is generally thought to be a more stable platform than its predecessor, and in fact, only one relatively minor bug has been reported thus far. It is unclear at this point what role the upgraded OS plays in the newfound problems. Microsoft could not be reached for comment.

Symantec is recommending on its Web site that users encountering problems disable the fast-shut down option on Windows 98 and make sure all applications are closed before shutting the system down until the patch is ready.