back to article TrueCrypt + Norton AV = BSOD, wail disgruntled users

Encrypted disk users who upgrade to Norton 2015 have been confronted by the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. Norton 2015 appears to trigger a crash on Windows 8.1 PCs that runs a disk encryption driver, according to user complaints about the problem in a thread on a Symantec support forum. Many of those affected are running …

  1. Rono666

    Who uses Norton? Bloatware at it's most horrible.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yup, the only time I expect to see the words "upgrade" and "Norton" in the same sentence is when the "Norton Removal Tool" is involved.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Norton Removal Tool"

        Last time I used NRT, it did a half-a$$ed job. It left the Registry in shambles.

      2. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

        ""upgrade" and "Norton" in the same sentence"

        No, the proper way to uninstall Norton is to stick a Windows install disk into the machine and nuke the whole thing. Norton infects the system so much much that there is no way of ever fully getting rid of it...

    2. Sandtitz Silver badge

      "Who uses Norton?"

      Well, Sam uses it.

      Several clueless home users renew their Norton subscriptions without blinking but has anyone ever seen a bought and registered WinZip? I certainly haven't.

      1. The_Idiot

        Re: "Who uses Norton?"

        "has anyone ever seen a bought and registered WinZip?"

        Yup. The one on my PC - for many years :-). And yes, I have and use 7Zip as well. But I bought and paid for WinZip a long, long time ago... I guess that makes me an Idiot - but we knew that already (blush).

        1. Nym

          Re: "Who uses Norton?"

          Do you use a computer? you're an idiot. [From my good old days in the Navy. A computer; a thing you rapidly become addicted to that never, ever, ever performs as you expected.

      2. Durwin

        Re: "Who uses Norton?"

        Another paid-up WinZip user here ! I remember fondly the days of using PKZip to get data onto my 3.5" "floppies" on one of the 2 IBM PS/2 installed at my uni... I know it's not the same company but I thought I should actually buy WinZip when it became one of those "must have" programs years ago. I must say though, I can't remember the last time I actually compressed anything, perhaps I should rethink this...! Incidentally, I'm also a Norton IS user, not had any problems with it for years, but I make sure I upgrade the software at least 3 months after everyone else, I learnt my lessons years ago! And never, ever renew the sub through the software (usually £50) - I just order another boxed copy from Amazon for £20. How does that work?!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Who uses Norton?"

          " I remember fondly the days of using PKZip to get data onto my 3.5" "floppies" on one of the 2 IBM PS/2 installed at my uni... "

          ARJ beat PKZip because it handled the multivolume archives very well. But RAR blew both out of water because it sported MUCH better compression than the competition, the commands were just extended from ARJ, and you could make recovery volumes (=extra disks) so if one of the disks had problems the recovery volumes (similar to Parchives or RAID5) could be used to recover the data.

          I'm still fan of WinRAR but deal with zip and bzip2 files only these days.

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: "Who uses Norton?"

            And 7zip's LZMA format blows RAR out of the water in compression sizes, absurdly so when you get to very large numbers of slightly similar files since it deduplicates.

            More usefully, it's supported by NSIS, so you can wrap an installshield like GUI around it so that people don't need to care about the format your using.

            1. Sandtitz Silver badge

              Re: "Who uses Norton?" @Peter2

              "And 7zip's LZMA format blows RAR out of the water in compression sizes, absurdly so"

              I disagree with the 'absurdly' part in your post.

              I happen to have the free SpagoBI 5.1 installation package (1,5 gigs, 40k files of mostly jar files and js/html/gif etc) on this laptop I'm writing you, I decided to put your claim to test. (an i7-4600U with an SSD)

              The ZIP file is 865M and took 3:43 to compress

              The RAR5 file is 316M and took 5:35 to compress (512M dictionary)

              The 7Z files is 304M and took 14:28 to compress (512M dictionary)

              I couldn't select a bigger dictionary since my laptop had just 6 GB free.

              The bottom line is that it wasn't an absurd victory.

              "when you get to very large numbers of slightly similar files since it deduplicates."

              Deduplication or "solid compression" was first practised by RAR in the early 90s, so it's nothing new. Tar+Compress/Gzip/Bzip2 does basically the same but since tar doesn't try to lump similar files sequently, and the 'dictionary sizes' in Bzip2 is small the compression doesn't get to anywhere same levels as RAR or 7zip.

              This is all academic of course since RAR and 7Z aren't natively supported in Windows or OSX.

          2. Nym

            Re: "Who uses Norton?"

            Last I checked WinZip handles RAR now...

      3. Adam JC

        Re: "Who uses Norton?"


        *Gazes lovingly in the direction of WinRAR*

        1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

          Re: WinRAR

          And that would be the reason I abandoned ASUS products: every driver they had was in RAR format, and only in that format (ASUS KCMA-D8). Any company that expects you to have a third-party tool just to install drivers can go right to hell... The drivers weren't even that big to begin with, so what are they saving by using that format?

      4. Nym

        Re: "Who uses Norton?"

        Yes. But then I've been using their product over 10 years. There are a couple of others that I buy rather than using the free version in order to support them...I'll admit I regard them as charities.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "[Stupid] users who upgrade to Norton 2015..."

      Why oh why?

      You'd be better off pouring a box of metal paperclips into your PC and giving it a shake.

    4. Tree

      Norton/Symantec Defined Bloatware

      Back in the days of Windows 95, this was a good company offering a needed product to the AOL users, because Microsoft could care less about security in those days. This company decided to add all of these useless features to their antivirus so they could charge extra. It is now so complicated that nobody understands how it works at the home office. The original owners cashed in by selling it to somebody with no understanding of how it worked. They have changed it since then to find anything on your box (even Internet Explorer) that acts strangely.

      The cure. Do not install it in the first place. It is a virus, malware, scamware or whatever you call it.

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: Norton/Symantec Defined Bloatware

        because Microsoft could care less about security in those days.

        Windows 95 was a product of its time.

        MS couldn't just come up with an OS that didn't have the backward compatibility for DOS applications. Since DOS was single-user without any security considerations, Windows 9x was pretty much the same.

        If MS had just pushed their existing, more secure NT systems to the general public ('AOL users'), OS/2 could actually have been a contender since it was about as backward compatible with existing software. NT required 2-3 times more memory than OS/2 or Win95.

        In retrospect, Win9x was a stopgap solution to get developers to create native Windows software and it paid off. Windows 3 already had its share of productivity software but no games to speak of. After a couple of DirectX revisions the games also moved to Windows platform.

    5. Nym


      McAfee and Norton are THE pre-loads on new out-of-the-box computers...STILL. Wail at Dell, HP, whatnot--not the consumer with them. I'm hoping professionals do like we do (worry not I've the same attitude) and do away with either ASAP. Right in the league of 'using IE, of course"... 8]

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Norton anti-what?!

    Since the day AVG pulled this on my Windows7 machine I've decided to stop using antivirus for protection. I must admit I've been lucky for the past 4 or 5 years.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks like Norton will slow your PC down even more than usual

    “The BSOD is for the disk driver for the encrypted disc as soon as it tries to access it,” Sam explained.

    If you're using full-disk encryption then before you can even contemplate downgrading to Norton 2014 (or more sensibly, uninstalling it all-together) it seems you're going to have to spend many hours decrypting the entire disk. Solves the problem of what to do this weekend, I suppose.

  4. hapticz

    OEM encryption

    many laptops already have a built in encryption (full disk, part or choice partition) that is emebedded in the firmware, OEM bios and similar. add on top of that the various off the shelf encryption ware and you might end up with enough scrambled data to keep you busy decrypting for months. if your business is so critically contingent on secrecy, or competitive arenas where spying (and theft) is a bigger part of your livelihood, you deserve every disaster you get.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OEM encryption

      many laptops already have a built in encryption (full disk, part or choice partition) that is emebedded in the firmware, OEM bios and similar.

      How would the hardware encryption encrypt only parts or partitions of a disk?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: OEM encryption

        many laptops already have a built in encryption (full disk, part or choice partition)

        Wrong, but seeing the levels of QUALITY, CARE and SKILLS-EXHIBITED of BIOS code in general, would you ever trust industrial waste of that kind?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. death&taxes

      Re: OEM encryption

      Dear hapticz, you've outshone yourself - that is bonkers on so many levels.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OEM encryption

      "...many laptops already have a built in encryption (full disk, part or choice partition) that is emebedded in the firmware..."

      Name one. And don't claim you are really meant PC's with SED's in them, because SED's don't allow "full disk, part or choice partition".

    5. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: OEM encryption

      My customers trust me with their data. In turn I do my bit to keep their data private in the event of a theft.

      The data itself is worth orders of magnitude more than the hardware it sits upon BTW.

    6. Nym

      Re: OEM encryption

      Only embedding was (supposedly ain't any more, we'll see) a chip to make sure the correct OS was used. As in, they didn't like the free OS idea. Encryption on top of that happens to be illegal, unless it's an Apple product...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is amazing

    ...just how inept some companies are at delivering code that crashes so many PCs.

    As far as Norton A/V is concerned there are millions of people who use some version so it's a big deal when they release a problem version. The sad reality is however that none of the A/V software is really that good nor does any of it have even remotely reasonable customer support, IME.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: It is amazing

      Here's my repost from the Dabs Upgrade nightmare article.

      Does it work? Then break it!

      Modern IT vendors of all stripes seem to offer one thing consistently: millions of ways to break things that already work and making it even more needlessly complicated and inscrutable.

      "Tech bling" as I call it.

      Is this some new ITIL specification we haven't heard about?

      There are SOME vendors that get it right. Tiny Firewall is one of them. After Commodo bloated out and my trust in Windows Firewall all by itself became forever jaundiced, (do not get me started about all the other popular brands) I finally found Tiny Firewall. Lightweight, intuitive and works like a champ.

      It's not rocket surgery, people!

  6. learnhoo3

    The first thing I do with a new computer is getting rid of whatever default anti-v type stuff is on it...usually norton.

  7. J J Carter Silver badge

    Did Norton ring the alarm-bell on Superfish? Epic fail.

  8. iranu

    Norton Malware

    I still amazed that people will actually pay to infect their machine with this crap in 2015. Nuke it, it's the only way to be sure.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    clever enough to use truecrypt?

    yet stupid enough to run Norton?

    I dunno...

    some people...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does this flaw make every statement on the Norton website misleading, false or deceptive?

    Does this flaw make every statement on the Norton website misleading, false or deceptive?

    Well maybe not every one, but perhaps 90% of them, such as:

    - Rest easy with rock-solid Norton protection for all of your devices.

    - Keep yourself and your devices safe with specialized protection.

    - Your privacy. Your contacts. Your messages. All safe and sound.

    - Live your life online without worry.

    - You work. We protect. Let Norton look after your security

    But not to worry- they do offer 'Guaranteed protection', and a 'Money back guarantee'.

    But will Symantec end up covering even one total loss?

    However the elephant in the room here is about when the changes that caused this might be slated to roll into Endpoint Protection. Clearly small-fish customers get the changes first, but are they Guinea-pigs before any roll out to SEP customers? I wonder if retail and SOHO users know they are providing such a service to Symantec and its Enterprise clientele! Despite all the claims about the product, small-fish customers clearly are not seeing Symantec actually protecting their data and their devices... quite the opposite.

    Will SEP's next 12.1 release will be changed or delayed? Even if Norton 2015 and SEP 12.1 are unrelated or were forked long ago, they may both receive duplicated features and code...

  11. ecofeco Silver badge


    There's your problem right there.

    End of story.

  12. Nym

    It's obvious who's at fault...

    OBAMA DID IT ... ...

  13. frankzentura

    This really isn't a hard decision to make....

  14. Someone Else Silver badge

    One small question:

    If you're clever/sophisticated/knowledgeable enough to use TrueCrypt, why in bleedin' 'ell would you be so brain-dead as to also use Norton AV?

    Seems to be a form of Software Darwinism at work...

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019