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After Dark pulls buggy disc

Berkeley Systems recalls several thousand copies of a new collection of screensavers because of a bug that blocks users from installing the software.

Berkeley Systems has recalled several thousand copies of a new collection of screensavers because of a bug that blocks users from installing the software, CNET learned today.

Company executives said they had shipped some 3,000 copies of its $40 After Dark Deluxe CD-ROM for Windows 95 starting in late September before discovering the glitch. But Berkeley Systems said few users were affected by the problem because it was discovered before most discs wound up on store shelves.

The recall is another reminder of the complexity of creating and marketing software, especially to the consumer market.

After Dark Deluxe is a collection of 85 screensavers, featuring new displays from its After Dark 4.0 collection, such as "Dueling Hula Twins." It also features older screensavers familiar to longtime users, such as the popular "Flying Toasters."

The company's deluxe edition also comes with After Dark Online, an information service that broadcasts news headlines and sports scores over the Net and displays the data through a screensaver.

A Macintosh version of the After Dark Deluxe CD-ROM, also costing $40, was not affected by the installation problem.

"We decided it would be in the best interest of customers if we would recall the few thousand copies of the software that went out," said DeEtte Christie, a Berkeley Systems spokeswoman. She said the company received only "a few dozen phone calls" from affected customers.

Christie said Berkeley Systems technicians can help users work around the installation problem over the telephone. Users may also order a new version of the disc by phone. Stores should begin carrying the fixed After Dark Deluxe disc later this week, Christie said.