The Easy Guide to the McAfee Glitch, Preventing It, and Fixing It
The McAfee Glitch starts when an automatic update is pushed out to users. It is supposed to contain updates targeting new viral threats, but instead becomes ths problem itself. Due to an oversight in McAfee’s quality assurance testing, the antivirus software inadvertently targets a core system process (SVCHOST.EXE) as being a virus. The problem doesn’t rear its head until the user rebooted the computer, which many often opt to do at a later time, but when the reboot finally happens, users are shocked to find that they either can’t access much of anything (including internet, networking, and the start menu/toolbar) or are unable to load windows at all. Safe mode boots were also affected as the core processes which are removed often take out USB functionality with it, disabling some keyboards and mice.
Luckily, McAfee is typically quick to respond through the removal of the original ‘bad’ update, and the implementation of a new ‘good’ update which doesn’t contain the problem. This means that if you use McAfee, and haven’t had a system crash, DO NOT reboot your computer until you follow the manual update instructions as described by McAfee here: http://promos.mcafee.com/LegacyLp/en-us/landingpages/npdatupdate.asp?cid=77151 This will make sure you have the correct ‘good’ update in place before the inevitable reboot. As long as you do this, you should be fine.
If you’ve had the misfortune of being hit with this glitch (and are likely reading this on another computer), you’ll need to do the following:
- From a working computer, download the file from http://download.nai.com/products/mcafee-avert/tools/SDAT5958_EM.exe (McAfee created)
- Burn that file to a CD ROM
- Boot your computer into safe mode (hold F8 during the boot-up sequence before the Windows logo)
- Run the file from the CD
- Reboot your computer normally
- Follow the instructions at http://promos.mcafee.com/LegacyLp/en-us/landingpages/npdatupdate.asp?cid=77151
For most, that should do the trick. If not, you can try some of the other more complicated solutions listed HERE and HERE.
UPDATE: After a more in-depth review of the information, it seems that the original glitch that made press, which I used as research material, actually happened in 2010. In my haste to help solve the current problem, I totally overlooked the year differences in the sources I used. However, this has affected a user here in 2012, and the same fixes fixed the problem, so it appears this may be a second shot of the same type of problem, albeit a new incarnation. A major difference is that this has affected a Windows 7 system, putting more than just Windows XP at risk. In light of the fact that this has happened before, I am strongly recommending an exodus from McAfee, who seems to have some issues with not targeting the systems it’s supposed to protect. Coverage of the original problem in 2010 can be found HERE and HERE, as well as McAfee’s original response and follow up.