When I read last week that Symantec was shifting the blame onto Microsoft for the problems that appeared after SP3 was installed on a system running Symantec software, I paused before writing about this. First of all Symantec products have a reputation for being, shall we say, suspect even when nothing else is happening on a system. So it was with a jandice eye that I did not take Syamnatec at it’s word.

Today Symantec says, we might be at fault, a little:

 After a lot of testing, we’ve reproduced a number of different cases where applying the XP SP3 upgrade adds additional registry keys within already existing Symantec registry keys. The Symantec keys affected vary from machine to machine and the effects of these added keys vary as well. We are still trying to understand why the upgrade is adding these keys. We have determined that the SymProtect feature is involved, though this issue is not exclusive to Symantec customers. We’ve seen reports from various users who are not running Symantec products.


To help prevent this issue from occurring, you should disable SymProtect prior to installing the Windows XP SP3 upgrade. This setting, in Norton Internet Security 2008 and Norton AntiVirus 2008, can be found within the Options page as “Turn on protection for Norton products.” In this case you should uncheck the box prior to the upgrade. After the upgrade is complete, please remember to re-enable this feature. It should be noted, however, that this workaround only addresses issues with Symantec products. You may still run into similar problems with other products affected by this XP SP3 upgrade issue.

For Norton SystemWorks 2008 you have to go to the Advanced Options UI that is under Settings. Next, click on “Norton SystemWorks Options” and select the General tab. Lastly, uncheck the box that says, “Turn on protection for my Symantec product”.

For Norton SystemWorks 2008 Premier you can use either the previous instructions or the Norton AntiVirus instructions.

For Norton 360, disable the “SymProtect Tamper Protection” quick control within the settings page.

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. We’ll post that on this forum as soon as it’s available.

  -Reese Anschultz

Now that the blame game is being spread evenly between Microsoft and Symantec, the most important issue is to follow the instructions that Symantec has supplied.

Comments welcome.