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Norton Internet Security Now Refuses to Let Customers Uninstall Jul 25, 2013 - 9:55
WEST CHESTER, Pa.–Norton Internet Security has quietly rolled out its you-can-check-out-any-time-you-like-but-you-can-never-leave uninstall policy. We learned about this new "safeguard" when we attempted to update our Java software and became the unsuspecting recipient of a free fifteen-day trial version of the Norton Guantanamo Ultimate Security Suite♠ as well.
We do not remember specifically asking to lease this monster, but the memory of the three-day struggle to free ourselves from its protective grasp remains seared on our brain as if it had been applied with a branding iron.
Upon seeing the dreaded Norton icon in our system tray and wondering what the hell it was doing there—and noticing also that our computer was running slower than a sumo wrestler in quicksand—we right-clicked on the icon and rest is misery.
That click produced a fifteen-choice popup menu that did not include an uninstall option. There were nine upgrade options, four non-transferrable lifetime-purchase options, one option that bounced us out of the popup menu altogether, and one option buried in the middle that read "Trust Us."
Is this man the anti-Christ?
We weren't feeling all that trustful, but we clicked that choice anyway and were taken to the Norton website, where a flashing red message informed us that our computer was at risk for "terminal and fatal" lockup unless we ran the Norton Deep Throat Security Scan♠ immediately, after closing all open applications and saving our data. The Norton Deep Throat Security Scan♠ would take between four to six hours to run and could require ten restarts and extended periods in which the screen went dark. The computer would not be a available for our use during that time.
Nine hours later, after the Norton Deep Throat Security Scan♠ had run its course, we were no further than we had been when we first noticed the annoying and uninvited Norton icon in the system tray, looking like a turd in a punch bowl. We right-clicked the icon again, clicked "Trust Us" again, and were taken to the Norton Website again, this time to a page asking if we wanted to A) reinstall the Norton Guantanamo Ultimate Security Suite♠, B) repair the Norton Guantanamo Ultimate Security Suite♠, C) like the Norton Guantanamo Ultimate Security Suite♠ on Facebook, D) order additional licenses for the Norton Guantanamo Ultimate Security Suite♠, or E) speak directly to a Certified Norton Technical Expert.
We chose E, which produced a large dialog box wherein we were asked to describe as clearly and succinctly as possible the reason for wanting to speak to a Certified Norton Technical Expert.
"To find out how to uninstall the Guantanamo suite," we typed.
They can't hear you scream when you're on hold.
We are experiencing an extremely high volume of requests to talk to a Certified Norton Technical Expert at this time," came the dialog-box reply. "The average wait is nine to twelve hours. Please have your receipt for the Norton Guantanamo Ultimate Security Suite♠ handy in the event that you eventually do speak to an agent. Also have at hand your Norton Guantanamo Ultimate Security Suite♠ purchase order number, your nineteen-digit model number, and fifteen-digit serial number; the name of your computer's manufacturer, your computer's model and serial numbers, the amount of installed memory on your computer, the name of the operating system you are using, and the name and build number of your default browser.
Finally, please provide the date on which the Norton Guantanamo Ultimate Security Suite♠ was installed on your computer. This date can be found at Tools>Products>History>Install>Guantanamo Suite>Essentials>Log.
Priority in the queue will be assigned according to the length of time the Norton Guantanamo Ultimate Security Suite♠ has been installed on your computer. If the copy of the Norton Guantanamo Ultimate Security Suite♠ about which you are inquiring has been installed fewer than ten working days from the date of installation, please reapply to speak to a Certified Norton Technical Expert in no fewer than three and no more than four weeks. This message will not be repeated."