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Symantec App Suspect in XP SP3 Registry Problem

Symantec officials described a workaround to a problem that has affected some users upgrading to Windows XP Service Pack 3 who also use Symantec's security solutions. Users can avoid a registry corruption problem by disabling a specific Symantec application before installing XP SP3, Symantec officials said this week.

On Wednesday, the security software company backtracked from its initial statements that placed the blame on Microsoft for a glitch in XP SP3. Symantec's reassessment came as the company discovered that its SymProtect Tamper Protection, associated with the company's Norton Antivirus products, could be the culprit.

In a post on a Symantec support forum, a Symantec official indicated that those using the SymProtect program would be better safe than sorry by turning the function off during installation of XP's latest service pack.

"For those who have already applied the upgrade and are running into problems, we're working on a stand-alone tool that would delete the extraneous registry keys," wrote Symantec's Senior Manager Reese Anschultz, in the blog posting.

Users that had installed XP SP3 reported seeing garbled and nonsensical system entries clogging up the Windows registry. The registry stores settings and options for Windows, including software settings for all of the hardware in a given PC.

SymProtect users who haven't installed XP SP3 can try Symantec's workaround. SymProtect is associated with Norton Internet Security 2008 and Norton AntiVirus 2008 products.

The registry corruption problem was publicized about two weeks ago after XP SP3's release on Windows Update. Scores of users complained to Microsoft and third-party vendors that their network cards and previously set connections had inexplicably disappeared from Windows after installing XP SP3.

Symantec researchers initially had blamed Microsoft's backend code. They pointed to a file named fixccs.exe in the XP SP3 upgrade as the reason for Windows Device Manager malfunctions. Microsoft, in turn, issued denials on May 20.

About the Author

Jabulani Leffall is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Financial Times of London, Investor's Business Daily, The Economist and CFO Magazine, among others.

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