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Symantec posts Norton bug fix

The utility software maker posts a patch to fix three problems with its Norton Utilities 3.0 software.

As expected, utility software maker Symantec (SYMC) has posted a patch to fix three problems with its Norton Utilities 3.0 software, the company said today.

The fix, in the form of a "Live Update" that users can download from the Symantec FTP site, addresses a major bug in the program's Optimization Wizard that has wiped out several users' Windows registries. A second bug, which caused NU 3.0 to crash when its splash screen is displayed, is also fixed by the Live Update.

The company also has included a fix for incompatibilities between the Norton Speed Start utility and VirusScan, security software from rival company McAfee (now known as Network Associates). The products conflict when a VirusScan user changes the program's default settings to scan all files on the computer, according to Symantec. A Network Associates executive said earlier this week that the incompatibility is a "Norton problem."

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. Norton senior product manager Tom Powledge said today that "1 to 2 percent" of Norton users have been affected by the registry problem and the other problems addressed with the update.

Company engineers traced the splash screen problem to a bug in a Diamond Multimedia graphics driver, which cannot display the NU 3.0 elliptical splash screen. Diamond is working to fix the driver, but in the meantime, Symantec has changed the shape of the splash screen.

The Live Update is a "superset" that also encompasses a first update the company posted approximately three weeks ago. That update addressed compatibility problems with Zip drives, Powledge said. Users who didn't download the first update will get the fix in this week's patch. More information about the fixes is available in a "read me" file on the FTP site.

Symantec is posting news about the update to Usenet newsgroups and is sending email and postcards to NU users who have complained by phone and email, Powledge said.