Upgrade & Relicense Hell – Symantec Anti-Virus Small Business Edition

I have (apparently) a gold maintenance agreement on my Symantec Anti-Virus Small Business Edition (5 users and a server). Recently they sent a notice that an upgrade was available from 10 to 10.1 (big woof). I’m now trying to install it, on my network, which consists of 1 server, 2 workstations and my laptop. You’d think this would be a ‘setup and go’ thing…but there are many more steps required.
1. Uninstall the Symantec Systems Manager
2. Reboot server
3. Install what appears to be the anti-virus server software. Already, this appears to be deviating from the instructions, as there is no mention of an ‘upgrade’, but rather it is just installing over the existing 10.0 version.
4. Reinstall the mangement server
5. Download another 14 megs of upgrades to the software
6. Reboot again.

3 reboots!

So, Ok, I followed the procedure, and I think I’m upgraded. Why can’t they automate this?

But wait, there is more.
The server reports that there is 34 days left until my virus license is due. So, I go online to renew it, and get a renewal for “Gold Maintenance”. No mention of the virus definitions (which is what I’m really interested in, of course). I pay the $138.00 for five licenses. Somehow, I’m naively assuming that the program is going to be smart enough to figure out that I’ve upgraded my license and it will merrily continue downloading virus updates for another year. I mean, the program is smart enough to know that it is going to expire in 34 days, right?

So, this morning the message comes on. 33 days left until the license is due. I’m thinking….ahah, I did purchase another year of gold maintenance but I didn’t purchase another year of the virus definitions. After searching through several pages of disorganized online help at the Symantec web site, I finally get to the upgrade site again, and go through the same process as yesterday. Once I choose the upgrade, and get to the page which is my order, I note that it says “Gold Maintenance” again. Time to call customer support.

I get right through. I ask the support damsel to check my order from yesterday, as I haven’t seen or heard anything about it. She checks, and says, that I did place the order, and it is being processed. And then she explained the process, and as Dave Berry says, “I’m not making this up”.

Once you place the order, you then wait 3-5 business days. Sometime during that period, you’ll get an eMail which contains a PDF of a new serial number for your product. You then go online again with the serial number and download a new license file. Then you install the license file. Then you allocate the licenses to the workstations. I’ve invested more than two hours in trying to figure all this out already.

How many thousands of person-hours throughout the world are dedicated to chasing around all this nonsense? It is bad enough that we have to deal with viruses, but Symantec is just running amok. Too many versions, too many products, too many web pages.

Memo to Symantec. Updates should be a two step process.
1. Go online and type in the owners serial number.
2. Pay

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