Symantec acknowledges there are bugs in its Norton Utilities 3.0 but is cautious about committing to a fix.
There are three separate problems that have come to the company's attention since the November release of the 3.0 version. The first and most serious seems to come from the Optimization Wizard and results in destruction of Windows registries. The second bug makes NU 3.0 crash when its splash screen is displayed, and the third is a conflict with a rival antivirus software program.
Company officials have traced the splash screen problem to a bug in a Diamond Multimedia graphics driver, which Diamond is fixing. The other two problems have not been pinpointed yet.
"I'm not going to let people's registries get destroyed, but I want to make sure it's our problem before I commit to fixing it," said Symantec vice president and chief technical officer Enrique Salem.
Until the splash screen problem is fixed, Norton users can disable the screen through the Norton Integrator control panel, and thus avoid crashes.
Norton's Optimization Wizard speeds up boot time by compressing Windows registries. The wizard backs up a user's registry, but in certain situations the registry becomes damaged. In published reports today, a Symantec engineer attributed the problem to Norton, but Salem said the company is still investigating.
"We need to do more research on this to isolate it and understand it," said Salem, who reiterated that the company would post a fix only if the problem stemmed from Norton software.
"It could be a Windows problem," Salem said.
The third problem is a conflict between the Norton Speed Start utility and VirusScan, security software from rival company McAfee (now known as Network Associates).
Salem acknowledged that the products conflict when a VirusScan user changes the program's default settings to scan all files on the computer, but he wasn't convinced the problem merits a fix.
"I haven't seen any plans to make any fixes in the next quarter," said Salem. "That doesn't mean it won't happen. If users keep running into the problem, we'll assess if it's something we need to fix or McAfee needs to fix."
McAfee and Network Associates representatives were not immediately available for comment.
If the company issues a patch for the Optimization Wizard or the VirusScan conflict, it will be available through the company's LiveUpdate mechanism on its Web site.