Microsoft OneCare turned out to be NoneCare for me

There’s a guy on a Channel9 forum who asked about people’s experience with Microsoft OneCare. This is their AntiVirus / happy PC program, and I bought it a while back in large part because I liked the ability to install on up to three PC’s. I’d been meaning to write up my experience for a while, and this gave me an excuse. Here’s a link to the post on Channel9, and my response is quoted below.

I’m sure lots of people have had good experiences, but I’ll share mine.

I bought a copy at a local retailer, took it home, and tried to install it. During the install, it asked me to uninstall my previous anti-virus program (this will become important later), and log onto Passport (I used the same acct I’m using now). OneCare then asked me to provide the validation key from the package. I did so, and OneCare told me the number was invalid.

So I get on the help line. And I wait. Finally, I speak to a tech who asks a bunch of questions and ends up saying, “sounds like a billing problem – let me transfer you (and by the way, here’s a ticket number).”

I’m transferred to the billing department, and the first thing I do is give them my brand new incident number. “Oh, sorry – we can’t use that number – we’ve got a different system here.” The story of the cobbler and his shoes flashed through my mind, but I pressed on with this new guy. A few minutes later, after walking him through the whole problem, he says, “yeah, I think this is a tech support problem…”

“But no!,” says I — I just came from there, and this can’t be right. Surely the two departments can get together and figure this out, right?

But they couldn’t. I trade more calls over the course of a few days. At one point someone suggested I take the software back to the store and exchange it. Of course, I observed to them that there was no reason to believe there was anything wrong with the box at all — the problem was the damned number printed on the box! I also pointed out to them that software retailers have a no-open-box-return policy.

It was at about this point that I started to get a little annoyed, not only because I had a box full of useless software, but because my PC was now unprotected, having had it’s previous virus scanner uninstalled. I pointed this out to the people on the other end of the phone, resulting in lots of sympathetic hmmmm-ing, but not too much action.

So I asked again for these two departments to convene a summit and, in short, get their sh*t together. Please. “Get a plan, and give me a call.”

“Fine. We’ll have a manager give you a call.” In the mean time, why don’t you install the trial version – that’ll keep you protected while we sort this out.

No manager ever called.

I installed the trial version, by the way, and it immediately started crashing my PC. Happened at least once a day.

After about two weeks of this crap, I uninstalled OneCare and put on a free antivirus program from AVG.

Of course, your mileage may vary. 🙂