McAfee update derails Kentucky police and a lot of XP machines

McAfee update derails Kentucky police and a lot of XP machines

Summary: Police officers in Lexington, KY had to go old school with handwritten reports, phones and radios as a computer glitch shut down systems.

TOPICS: Hardware, CXO

Police officers in Lexington, KY had to go old school with handwritten reports, phones and radios as a computer glitch shut down systems.

According to, Kentucky state police shut down computer systems including terminals in officers' cars as IT staff worked to fix the problem. Apparently, a security update from McAfee corrupted the systems. The glitch happened about 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Police said they could still respond to complaints even though they were IT free.

School districts across the state were also having troubles. All public school districts use the same network.

Update: This outage is just the tip of the McAfee iceberg. Reports are flying about McAfee causing outages for XP machines. Ed Bott is following. Here's the support page for workarounds. Microsoft also tweeted about the issue.

Topics: Hardware, CXO

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  • Is it related to the Botched McAfee update?

    Apparently that update is <a href="">shutting down corporate XP machines worldwide</a>.
    Great Kahuna
    • I would bet "YES!"

      I've had two clients with the same problem.

      Fix here APPARENTLY worked for one of them:

      Still checking the other client.
  • Corporate only?

    This is interesting as I just yesterday worked on a Windows 7 x64 machine that had similar issues, and removing McAfee restored it to full functionality and speed. I wonder if this glitch is across the board or mainly in corporate/managed settings.
    • Not that it's not a mcafee problem

      but it's not this specific one, it's limited to XP SP3.
  • Windows ROI.

    Won't make it into any Windows ROI report, but the outage, downtime and IT cost is simply the cost of running Windows. Go ahead and slam me if you want, but how much of your total IT cost is Virus, Trojan and Malware related and the associated pain of the wizbang Anti-X suites like this that are at best 80% effective?

    • It sure won't

      because the problem is not a Windows Problem. It is a McAfee problem. Seeing as the applications that these organizations need to run usually only run under windows they need to use the systems that are compatible.
      • It IS - Insecure OS makes it mandatory

        Simple as that.
        • Been running mine malware and anti-malware free for years.

          Apparently it's not as insecure as some would have us believe.
        • Nope

          It is the fact that Windows is targeted more because of how much it is used.

          Simple as that.
      • Justify it all you want.

        The only reason they need Windows is IT itself and management. Our IT spends over 50% of all it's time patching and updating Windows, the Anti-X subscriptions, fixing infected machines, it is great for headcount. You can try to tell me apps lock people in, but it is the old mentality of "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM". The police force TELLS the vendor to port to Linux or Mac or provide a virtual machine solution and they won't?

        And your statement "it is not a windows problem" is my exact point. If you run Windows you MUST ran anti-x suites.

        • Why are you using software which apparently is not working?

          [i]Anti-X subscriptions, fixing infected machines, [/i]

          Obviously your Anti-X software is not working if you're constantly fixing infected machines. Get rid of it and employ proper security best practices. Youy'd be amazed at how well Windows runs if you did so.
          • I don't.

            I use Linux, and laugh at all the downtime, reboots, cursing some of my colleagues do quite frequently. And the very best corporate AV suite (I won't name my companies) is one of the very best, catching 80% of infections. It is VERY good at stopping old infections, and all are about useless to all NEW infections if they get in.

          • Apparently 80% is not good enough.

            You have posted the IT staff spends time cleaning infections. So why use this corporate A/V suite to begin with? It's not working.

            Employ best security practices and you'll see the bulk of "Windows" problems disappear.
        • Maybe if you ran an IT Department

          You would know that is not true.

          Windows Updates and patches delivered automatically and all I need to do is spend about 10 minutes a week looking over and approving the patches on the server.

          Our Antivirus/Anti-Spyware solution is practically transparent. Set up the management side with rules and let it role. Done and Done. We have Security Firewalls and Internet content filters with Malware/Spyware filtering so the only threat we really have is stuff brought in on media such as flash drives. Occasionally we will get a machine that will get infected but it rarely if ever leaves that machine. The solution is image the computer which is 2 - 4 clicks of the mouse and 10 - 15 minutes later the machine is back to normal with no interaction after those few mouse clicks

          I work in IT education and my biggest challenge is dealing with the staff and students that ask dumb questions all day. Some of the people that post on here remind me of those people I support with their idiotic comments and stupid reasoning.
          • Stretches credulity to the max.

            Let's see, a company of 65K employees might have a large IT base. 100% of EVERY patch gets tested first because a substantial amount of the time the the update borks something.

            The corporate AV suites are "transparent" too for those using Windows except for the times it fails, which it often does because AV is entirely reactive. And you outline how wonderful it is, yet you have to keep it up to date, create all the rules, rework the rules and constantly update the spyware/malware filters but that is all "trivial". And that magic "image" process you say takes 2-4 clicks EXCEPT the attempts to recover all the data, and the massive number of updates since the image was taken, which, if the image is a few months old can mean 1-2 hours and 8 reboots, all while the employee drinks coffee. But other than that, running Windows is a panacea.

            My point exactly, over the years, the constant and never ending need for constant maintenance has simply become the cost of using a computer, not a "Windows" problem.

          • Can you support this?

            [i]...substantial amount of the time the the update borks something.[/i]

            I would have to say it's with in house or poorly written applications because patching rarely causes problems for the OS or properly written applications.

            [i]The corporate AV suites are "transparent" too for those using Windows except for the times it fails, which it often does because AV is entirely reactive.[/i]

            So why incur the cost? It's obviously not working so it makes little sense to continue using it. Employ security best practices and be done with all of this. Why do people/companies continue to ignore security best practices and instead rely on proven, ineffective "solutions" which cause more problems than they solve?
          • Sounds like you had bad IT experience

            Patches rarely "bork" anything in my experience and yes we do not push out patches the instant they are released and that should go for any platform, not just windows.

            Sure I had to create the rules but I rarely have to rework them. The Corporate Antivirus versions usually manage themselves and update daily or multiple times a day. This glitch where a DAT or definition update caused huge problems is extremely rare.

            As far as 1 - 2 hours goes for imaging and patching and data recovery that is FUD at its best. All data is saved on the network or off of the local computer. If a user saves to the local computer then oh well it is lost. We make it pretty clear not to save to the local computer and if a company does allow this they better have a procedure in place or they are just a bad IT department. Many client Management suites like the one we use will take periodic snapshots of a system and its files so a reimage can bring it back to what it was yesterday or before the problem happened with no or minimal loss and time.

            If another platform would work with the software that an organization uses or their way of working you are naive to think they would not switch or make a plan to switch in an instant but most times the pain and headaches are much much worse than all the FUD that people spread about windows.
        • You should fire the lot of them

          What is it with these people and their lame IT departments?

          It's allways the same people "We spent today cleaning this off. Yestarday it was 'this', the day before 'that'"

          I deal with large orginizations and colleges all the time and don't really ever hear of all these troubles the people here have.

          I don't have these problems at our orginization.

          Maybe the problem isn't with Windows after all?
          • Its because they don't exist

            and if they do it is not because of Windows. The Anti-Windows crowd just likes to repeat these things to try and make others believe that Windows is such a pain to operate and manage.
          • Exactly...

            very true: [i] try and make others believe that Windows is such a pain to operate and manage[/i]

            First and foremost, a good firewall (cisco ASA, etc) with inbound and outbound filtering on, spam protection (app river, 'cuda), and internet filtering (websense, ISA)...the rest is pretty much gravy: patch mgmt through WSUS or whatever, and anti-virus mgmt through whatever enterprise product.

            Obviously, of course, unless your company runs McAfee.

            90% of our calls that are the "pain to operate and manage" are our users themselves who don't know what they're doing - trying to use a printer that's not turned on, or need to change the color in an Excel bar chart (I'm not kidding, real life examples from the last two weeks)

            I use linux at my home and work pc (along w/ xp, vista, 7), and I like all of them, but I would never subject myself to pushing an entirely different o/s out to our users and try to manage/support it across our network. Hell, even upgrading to Win 7 and Office 07 scares the you-know-what out of me because I know my phone will be ringing off the hook.

            As far as I'm concerned, the best thing MS can do with a service pack for Win 7 and Office 07 is incorporate the "classic" theme.