Symantec Facing Problems With Product Activation

from the why-bother? dept

At least Intuit realized what a waste of time and money it was to put product activation technology into their software. Once they realized the pointlessness of it, they issued a very public apology on the matter. Unfortunately, other companies aren’t quite so enlightened. Symantec is having all sorts of trouble with their product activation technology, that is preventing many legitimate users from using the software they paid good money for. Symantec is now saying that they’re working on it, but can’t figure out what the problem is, and can’t suggest a date when they’ll offer a fix. Here’s a simple solution: follow Intuit’s lead and ditch the activation technology altogether. The simple fact is that the software is still getting pirated. You see offers for it all the time – and it only takes a hacker a little while to figure it out. So, the only people this is really impacting are the legitimate users of your product – and you’re making their lives worse. Most of these people are going to go to a competitor, and will be quite vocal about why they would never purchase anything else from Symantec. Thus, it does nothing to solve the problem, angers your customers, and drives people to competitors. How does this make sense?

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Comments on “Symantec Facing Problems With Product Activation”

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Andreas says:

NIS 2004 sucks

I was a long time fan of Norton Internet Security, till version 2003. 2004 plain sucks, slows down even sometimes completely blocks my machine. Already getting the upgrade from 2003 to 2004 took me 25 minutes on the phone with a call center worker. Seems their CEO is now coding the webpages (and that shows…)

sucks …..

Patrick McCoy says:

Re: NIS 2004 sucks

I have had MacAfee that came with my machine in 2001, and never had a problem. I was told that it was useless, and to get rid of it. I bought Norton Internet Security 2004 for approx $70.00 at Best Buy, and cant install it!! I am not one to know much about computers but I learned a lot by trying to install this software!! Still can’t get it to work, and uninstalled and reinstalled about 15 times. I refuse to call the NON toll free number, for their assistance. I give it a capital SUCK in my rating. Do these company’s think we are all computer whizes??? How about the Guy who would like to have protection even if he know nothing about computers? Maybe thats why there are so many unwanted baby’s in this world….They make rubbers for people that know how to put them on…. What about people that don’t have a clue?? No Instructions?? Oh well just trying to make lite of the subject before I explode!! thanks for letting me vent!

Ed Halley says:

No Subject Given

I know a number of pro photographers who don’t blink at the price of Photoshop, but start considering free products like GIMP or other commercial alternatives, because Adobe added activation to their latest suite.

Adobe tries to make it simple and sensible (one copy can be used on two machines) but any time you control how your customers use their product, you will lose those customers.

Mike Gauthier says:

Symantec Activation problems continue.

Symantec’s AntiVirus Activation is still causing problems for some legal users. Attached is the latest message I senr them. I have been without antivirus protection for over two weeks and Symantec has not provided a way for me to fix this. My last Email to them was:

I use Norton Antivirus 2004 on two systems. One of these systems is used for testing and is frequently reformatted to either install a fresh operating system or to change between Windows XP, and Windows 98, and sometimes Windows ME. The Symantec product gas a copy protection scheme that only allows me to install it a few times and then I get and error message indicating that I exceeded the allowable number of installs. The last time this happened, I explained the problem to a Symantec representative who reset the counter. Unfortunately, it’s happening again. Not only does this cause a serious inconvenience, the remedy is getting to be more difficult to obtain. I have called the activation phone number on several occasions and have not been able to get connected (all circuits are busy), or the call is connected and I am put on hold waiting for the next available representative. The phone system indicates that calls will be answered in the order received, but there is no indication how long the wait is and there is no option to leave a message. I have waited up to 20 minutes on hold once and up to 10 minutes several times without ever getting through. I resorted to email, but the folks in India say they cannot help with activation issues and gave me this web address. They also gave me the standard activation number and a non toll-free number that was not working.
Please reset the counter so I can continue t use the AntiVirus software on THE SAME MACHINE. I don’t make illegal copies, and I don’t install it on any other machines.

Finally, please don’t ask me to waste more time by trying to get through to the activation 800 phone number. The waits are unreasonably long if you can even get through to it.

Your immediate attention to this is appreciated.

J. L. Varco says:

Re: Symantec Activation problems continue.

Norton Anti Virus 2002 Subscription Upgrade was Paid June 23, 2004 by credit card (29.95)confirmation # 9309014371 from Symantec Corp. with expiration date 24-Jun-2005. At no time until today Oct. 10, 2004 was notification..”versions of Norton AntiVirus listed on this page have been discontinued. Therefore our support are no longer available.”List includes all Norton AntiVirus prior to Oct. 2003. This is directly from Techsupp. I want return credit on my credit card for ID# 184636362 from Oct.7, 2004 to June 24, 2005. I already ordered the upgrade 2005. Hopefully to fulfill my antivirus needs.

Mike says:

Symantec Activation

I agree. I have activated Norton Anti-Virus over and over waisting so many hours of my own time and recently hired a technician to come to my home and he was unable to resolve the issue. I contacted Norton by phone (I could barely understand the agent who had such a stong accent) and was sent an e-mail with instructions. It still does not work. I purchased the product legally in the store and have only experienced hours of waistful frustration ever since. Never again Norton!!!

Lisa says:

Re: Symantec Activation

I don’t get it either!!!! I’ve tried activating my product (Norton Antivirus 2005) 50 times and it still does not work! Now I have up until tomorrow to do this or I “will not be protected?” give me a @#!!^^** BREAK!!! So what am I supposed to do now. It says something about product key not working??? I tried calling the ridiculous customer service but was asked for a credit card # and put on hold for 25 minutes. Finally when they came back, we got disconnected!!!!!!


Enid F Jebbia says:

My antivirus 2006 doesn't work

I bought yesterday from Staples a brand new norton antivirus 2006 and I am having problems to install. It says I have to remove the old one. But my old one can’t be removed . It says that the SWI update still installed.

What can I do to solve this problem? can you give me step by step directions Please.

Thank you very much.


Allan Laing CNA CNE PCSS says:


My utilities 2006 was activated / registered the same day I bought this product. Now every time I booted my laptop Symantec wants me to go through activation again. this process locksup my laptop. I have since removed symantec sw and went to a second sourse for the protection I need.

I may not a happy user / client of symantec and I am considering never wasting good money on a product that the very manufacturers can screw up.

Lisa says:

Symantec Activation

I have tried to activate my Norton Internet Security 2006 and there is no activating it. I have tried and tried. This business of giving you 15 days and then you can’t do anything about it is for the birds. I feel like I have been robbed.

I can’t get anyinformation by phone. None of the solutons they claim to work does. I am so discussed and angry I could scream. I don’t think anyone is being treated fairly and it seems as if this company feels it is ok to take advantage of hard working people.

Bill Morgan says:

Symantec IS 2005

I called today about the “activation key problem” and they tried to get me to upgrade to IS 2006. Interesting that the problem as noted above exists in the 06 version as well. Support agent accused me of installing the program on 4 computers, I haven’t. This could be the end of Symantec in the consumer realm. I just wish I could reach all of the Yahoo users so I could tell them, NOOOO, DON’T DO IT!!!

Steven Friedman says:

I've HAD IT with Norton

I have been a loyal fan of Norton Utiities since the 1990’s. Since 2001 each successive version has gotten worse. The last staw was Norton 2006. About the only2 things I use are GO Back and Antivirus. When I had a problem installing Go Back 2005 reinstalling the tech would even attempt to answer the question inisting the problem was fixed in 2006. It wasn’t so I plunked down another $70 for 2006 only to have the technician read verbatum what was on the WEB site already. I finally tracked down and solved the problem by contacting ROxio who previously owned the product and gave me the fix that they had told Norton about 2 years ago. Now I can’t get anything to work after having to restore my system from a backup, the Activation says it’s invalid. NO MORE! I’m stripping every Norton Product off my system and going to other sources.

Jason says:

Re: I've HAD IT with Norton

Same thing happened with me, i upgraded to 2007 after a reinstall due to a restore on my computer. Tech support had the hardest time understanding the simplest of complications, and inorder to talk to someone live for them to be able to do nothing is 20-30 bucks!?!?! not only that but the online support is useless it has no practical use.

Gerard Egan says:

Symantec Activation

I wish I had seen the comments on this site before I bought from Symantec. I downloaded SW 2006, Firewall and Partition 8 yesterday from their web store. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO ACTIVATE THESE PRODUCTS !!!. I have tried everything. Uninstalled, reinstalled. reboot, Autofix(theirs) but absolutely no good. I have sent an email to them and I await their reply but i’m really bothered by the above comments about their support(lack of) and inability to offer a solution. Think I have just thrown away good money. I have used their products for years but it looks like they are destroying their customer base. If I cant get a quick solution from them I will never use Symantec again. Motherofdivinesweetsufferingjaysus.

Brian Weir says:

Text of complaint sent to Symantec

I am an extremely disappointed former enthusiast of Symantec products. Symantec’s Product Activation technology does nothing but create grief and hardship for my customers. My summary follows below.

On May 11, 2006, I purchased Norton Internet Security 2006 on behalf of a client for a system I had built and was servicing for them. Three months later, the clients had to ship the system back to me for a hard drive service, but unfortunately, had committed the very human mistake of losing and misplacing the product activation key on the envelope of the Norton Internet Security 2006 product.

My first attempt at a solution was naturally to contact Symantec since Norton Internet Security 2006 is their product. I was politely told by a Symantec customer support representative that since I had purchased this from a third party online vendor and not from a Symantec online store, that I had to contact the online vendor from whom I purchased this product from. I did that.

After a week with no response from, the online vendor I had purchased NIS 2006 from, I received a very polite reply from Newegg that basically stated that because product keys consist of most of the cost of the product, that was unable to assist me with my problem and that I would need to speak to Symantec about the problem.

So now I am right back at Symantec again. I relayed my tale to two customer service representatives, who each proceeded to tell me that because the product keys are unique to each Norton Internet Security product, they could not assist me with a new product key. However, I was told that for a fee of $79.95, a twenty-percent discount of the retail price of Norton Internet Security 2007, Symantec would be more than happy to mail me a CD of their latest security product.

My clients are already out $30 for the cost of this software that they cannot use and that Symantec will not make them whole on, all because of the very human error of losing something as small and delicate as a product activation key. The problem however, is a customer support structure and an activation technology that does much to protect Symantec’s product and profit margins from software piracy, at the expense of their customers and computer system builders like myself who up to now had thought Symantec produces premier products and had unparalleled customer support.

My reality of Symantec now is a customer support structure that is indifferent to everyday mishaps of their customers, insensitive when it comes to their needs, and attempts to use their misfortune as a sales opportunity point to persuade them to purchase a newer and more expensive $80 product when Symantec refuses to make them whole on a $30 one.

I don’t find that to be a persuasive argument to convince my customers to purchase a Symantec product. I will wait seven days from this writing to hear back from Symantec on how they intend to correct this situation.

Failing that, I intend to take my saved copy of this complaint and post it on every major computer enthusiast bulletin board and let them know how Symantec ignores their system builder base and end users for the sake of a product protection technology they have no control over and ties the hands of their support center to first and foremost meet their customers needs above all else.

Just ask Sony what happened the last time that company incorporated poorly thought out product protection technology.

Thank you

GVSrinivas says:

Do not know hot to acitivate using product key

After my norton expired, i bought online Norton Internet Security 2007 2 year subscription upgrade paying US$82. Though once i pay, there would be window asking me to enter the product key thus activating the product. Hell, i was wrong. The vendor pocketed the money and just closed. Ever since i hang around with a print out of the product key not knowing what to do. Norton help says: To activate your product from the Help menu, At the top of the main window, click Help and Support > Activation. On the Activation screen, click Next.
On the Activation Successful screen, click Finish. However, I don’t see any damn activation command in the help menu. ANY IDEAS?

Jerry Otwell says:

Don't Buy Anything From Symantec

I paid $83.98 to renew my subscription to this ripoff
company. I spent hours with their techs. All of them were very difficult to understand. English is obviously not their native language. I did everything that they told me to do. I finally got the software installed but it will not let me register the product. The only way that I am able to run it is to click on the 15 day free trial purchase. I am just LIVID. I have just downloaded the virus protection which is a new component of Spysweeper by Webroot. I am very pleased with this software. Again, Stay Away From SYMANTEC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Roly Poly Man (user link) says:

Re: Norton Internet Security

I bought Norton Antivirus 2007 yesterday and have wasted endless hours of my day off from work trying to install this piece of crap software. Norton has no Customer Service at all, and none of the links to their phone service work. Many of the links on their website also don’t work. Norton/Symantec is utter garbage, and I have been robbed.

Mike Black says:

Re: Re: Norton Internet Security

Everyone seems to be having some problem or the other with the installation of Norton products. Follow the following steps and you may get the product installed:

1) Ensure you don’t have any older version of the Norton software(Norton says that the new version would overwrite the older one but in some cases it does not happen. Its not just because of Norton alone but the Operating System also plays a vital role.)

2) If you do have an older version then goto the following link and download the removal tool to completely remove Norton off your system(This tool only removes Norton products above Norton 2003):

3) The tool may take 15 to 20 mins to remove Norton and once done it will prompt you to restart the computer. Just do so.

4) Once the computer is up and running proceed with the installation.

Hope this helps.

Best regards,
Mike Black

Ron says:

Re: Re: Re: Norton Internet Security 2007

Hi Mike,

I came across this website while searching to see if anyone else had problems while installing NIS 2007

I had NIS 2006 running on my computer with an activated account for liveupdates for the last year.
I have been using Norton on my computers since the eighties without a glitch and so I just recently went out to upgrade to the NIS 2007. (System meets the requirements)

Like you I used the Norton removal tool from the Symantec website for a complete removal.
I also deleted all the Symantec and Norton lfiles that were still left on my computer after using their tool.
Inaddition I had also come across a couple of sites that suggested removing Spybot, LavaSoft Adware, etc. which I also did.
My system being completely cleaned of anti virus and spyware programs (by the way it never ran so fast) I performed the installation from the CD, everything goes fine until the activation screen comes up…and then freezes.
My cursor freezes into the hourglass and does not allow me to activate my account. This has happened to me twice.
I am running an older Dell Dimension 8250 with a 2.44Ghz Intel processor c/w 1gig of Ram. Video card is compatible also and I am running Windows XP Professional.
The only thing I have not done as suggested by some blogs is to go into my windows registry and start deleting files….I’m not sold on registry cleaners and screwing around with it makes me uncomfortable.
Can anybody help?

Mike Black says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Norton Internet Security 2007

Hello Ron,

Even I have noticed in couple of cases when the activation screen freezes after you reboot the computer. I don’t think it has anything to do with registry entries b’cuz the removal tool removes all the files from program files and windows directory & also keys from the registry which may cause problem with the new installation/activation. So I would suggest PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH THE REGISTRY. It is the most sensitive part in windows. You got to know what u r doing when u r in there.
Your computer’s configuration is pretty gud to run Norton 2007, no doubt about it. I would suggest that you do the following:

1) Goto Start > Run and type “msconfig” with out the quotes, and then goto the “Startup” tab. There ensure all the check boxes are unchecked except ccApp. There wud be one more checkbox(i don’t recall the exact name but it would have “wiz” in it) which actually opens up the activation window. Keep that too checked. And then reboot your pc.
2) Now when ur pc comes up, it would only load norton. Check if you can activate the product or not.

By the way are you using any of the Roxio’s software?? I had noticed in couple of older versions of Norton that they had some kind of incompatibility with Roxio(Not sure about Norton 2007). If you do have Roxio then i would suggest that you uninstall Roxio and then perform the above mentioned steps.

Hope it helps you resolve ur issue.
(Note: If you still need help you may mail me @ cuz i don’t often visit this site.)


steve says:

Amen, I have nsw2006 that is rendered usless, because I installed it too many times. NIS2006 missed a trojan and wiped out hard drive, hmmm! (1)So I got new hdd and reinstalled(2) , then i decided to re-partiition the hdd, One of the pinouts on hdd broke so I returned(3). So here we are, new hdd without NSW2006. I have been faithful to Symantec for 10 years and the customer svc Indian Effstick just can help. I am so pissed at them!

b says:

Mission impossible

My client purchased Symantec Mail Security for SMTP, received PDF certificate with serial number. After that, all we can do is download software from their site, but when we try to get licence key, their system says that it cannot find licence for that serial number !?
It’s a shame that after you give money for something you are not able to use it because of the stupid system thay have put up.
I used to think of Symantec as reliable company, but not any more…

Harry Lefto says:

Norton Systemworks

I have happily used Norton products for a dozen years, but all things come to an end. Activation has been nothing but trouble, and to make matters worse it seems that Symantec does not care – at least judging by the technical support. I have purchased several Symantec products since they began using Activation and every one has had the same problems. When my most recent product failed to activate and tech support falsely accused me of installing the software to multiple machines, I decided that enough was enough. I’m fed up and I will never buy a Symantec product again. Why would Symantec throw away good customers?

Veronica Beatty says:

Activation problem

I’ve been a good symantec customer for sometime. I am 70 years old. 3 months ago my compaq computer crashed and burned. I just purchase a emachine computer to replace it. When I went to put my 2005 Norton Internet Security prorgram on my emachine you said I couldn’t activate it because I used it on my compaq computer. I am not a person to cheat or use someone elses programs. I’m on a limited income and I can’t afford to buy another Norton internet program for awhile. If you check your records you’ll find that I am telling you the truth. I bought the 2005 program online with my credit card. Also I think my Subscription order will due about April. I can’t buy a new program and pay for my Subscription. I have downloaded enough troubleshooting information from you people that it fills 2 notebooks. I would like to hear from someone at Symantec about this problem. All your comments have expressed what a valued customer I have been. Well this valued customer is madder than hell. (*&%$#@&*&%#@)

Ian Bowler says:

Get back at Norton Rubbish Products


The majority of people on here appear to be Amercian (quoting dollars), but i’m pretty sure Symantec is a Britich company.
Over here we have a program on prime time TV called Watchdog – were they investigate companies activities and ask hard questions live to the CEO’s of such companies – basically they put the tightners on them.

Have a look at and look for the programme site for watchdog. You should be able to complain some more there – if enough of us complain then they might do a TV piece. That’ll embarress the hell out of Symantec then maybe they’d get their crap together!!!

Yours sincerely,
someone who like ONE of symantecs products…… a loooooong time ago!















Ricky says:

I bought my copy of NIS 2007 from PC World (UK)in January(Actually my wife bought it, I am disabled and house bound). Recently I got a message from NIS telling me I had to reactivate. (I have already done this). When I did I got a message saying I had exceeded the number all installations allowed. Support is pitiful but I managed to get an e-mail dialogue going. They are adamant that the activation code has been used on more than 1 machine. Now I know for a fact that my sealed PC world copy has only ever been installed on my 1 and only machine. However, Symantec are unwilling to budge and insist my sotware has been used on “more computers than is permitted”. They will not waver from that argument. My anger at this is beyond belief!!!. Never again will I buy a Symantec product. I am also considering legal action.

henry mcglone says:

norton internet security 2007

i purchased a 3 licence norton internet security 2007
installed it on three pc’s in my small pc business about three months ago 5 days ago a trojan got through norton and messed up a lot of data including the norton programme so i thought i would ring them up to try and activate the product after tthere product caused the problem by not working in the first place no joy no one wants to know after 5 emails and about 2 hours on the premium rate number they told me that i have to buy another copy NOW IAM SURE THIS MUST BE ILLEGAL SOMEWHERE DOWN THE LINE AS EVEN SUPER RICH BILL GATES WILL HELP OUT WITH ACTIVATION AFTER A WHILE AS HE HAS ALREADY GOT ALL THE MONEY HE WANTS any norton can fuck off i will pay my £60 and take them to county court in the uk as they have to honour the product as you have bought the licence by the way they will let you install a single licence product 3 times in case you have problems but if you buy a 3 licence product hard shit they dont want to know AN ALTERNATIVE TEL NUMBER TO THE RIP OFF HELP LINE IS 0207 6165600 NORTON SEE YOU IN COURT

Steve says:

Norton Activation

This is such a pain. My copy of Norton internet protection ‘de activates’ itself all the time. My children come home to do their homework and find a message that says your norton firewall and a.v. are not working and they are rightly afraid to use the pc, cos dad gets mad if anything bad gets into the computer. Then every evening I have to fix it. However now it is telling me I have reactivated it too many times and so I have to buy a new key. I am taking it back to the shop as unfit for use and getting my money back as I have only had it for 3 months. I have installed Avast (beware of fake sites suggesting you buy it it’s still free) and turned the windows firewall back on although I will install Zone alarm also free next week when i have time

Kate Hillier (user link) says:

Symantec Nortonworks 2006 won't install on my Syst

It complains of too many processes eating up memory and Goback refuses to install. I paid £39.00 for it and don’t know what to do.
Error 9999.171
NB I love reading the entries being a long Norton Fan bar its inflexibility and lack of OS catered for beyond the ubiquitous MS.
Win XP Pro on machine AMD 2600 and 1GB Memory insufficient. HD is very full with8.5 GB left.
thanks and God bless!

Jill says:

I bought Norton internet security 2007 in january for £24 PC world on special offer.
Have had problems with pc needing to do more than normal factory resets thus more than normal installations of norton. Got PC replaced by pc world yesterday because of faults and tried to activate my norton on it and bam you have exceeded the allowable amount of installations appears.

Just got off phone with norton on the 02076 165600 number and was told they cannot increase the amount of installations and it will cost me a further £39 for a new subscription and they will then add my remaining 7 months subscription to the new one.How kind

Was also told if I have same problems again with this pc the same will happen again regarding my subscription

What a load of bollocks talk about rip off

Have used norton for years but will never buy it again

Art says:


Unfortunately I had to replace my hard drive on my Dell Dimension 8200. In doing so I lost my Norton virus protection. It was purchased on line for 70.00. What a joke it is trying to contact them. When finally you do you speak to someone, they are in India and can hardly speak English. I was on the phone for almost 2 hours and finally got a new download. Trust me it isn’t worth doing business with any of these company’s that give us shi“y service. They outsource our jobs and money and I personally am finished with them. I will try my very best to find a security system that is made and serviced in the USA. If anyone knows of any such company please e-mail me asap. Let me add that Dell is just as bad….

Jack says:

Norton 36

Before the end of the subscription period Norton 360 on my Vista system activation started and put the online protection off.

The activation process stops before it is finalised, even without any other antivirus running (only Window Defender and even after putting this off) nor parently control.

The autofix programm for freezing activation of Norton did noit work either since it was not possible to download the file needed.

What hafve I to do to get a safe laptop again?

Chien says:

Activation just frustrates and Symantec is the ultimate loser, but they have not figured it out yet

Right on. I was a Norton Symantec user for about 15 years. There products got worse, activation was aggravating, wasted so much time, tech support is useless, so in the end I said goodbye and did not bother. However, I kept using my NSW2006 Premier, until hard disk upgrade gave me an activation exceeded allowance message. Now I really won’t bother–they lost me for good. You are right, only the legitimate customers are lost–who wants to waste so much time. Hope they go out of business sooner than later, before frustrating more people. They really do not deserve to stay in business with such an approach to their past loyal customers.

Anita says:

Activation of 2009

Ipurchased a Norton Internet Security 2009 last week but was unable to activate it. It kept telling me that my email address was incorrect. I got a hold of some guy by the name of Tom and asked for his assistance. He asked if I had a virus and I said I don’t know. He said he would help me over the phone for $99.00 after I paid $59.74 for it at Walmart. He was a jerk and no help at all. I called back 2 days later on a Sat. 4/4/09 and was transfered to India. This guy helped as best as he could and at least gave me information where to mail the program back. I had to let him take over my computer to get it off. Now I am looking for a phone number to call their customer service regarding a charge to my Amex in Dec. 2008 without my permission. Does anyone know how I can get my money back on this charge? I can’t get anyone in their billing office.

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