both safe and sorry you have to be sorry before you can be safe.

Here’s something that’s frustratingly illogical. My Dell laptop came pre-loaded with Trend Micro’s PC-cillin Internet Security anti-virus program and a 3-year subscription, which is not too shabby when most new computers ship with mere trial versions. Unfortunately, when I upgraded to Windows Vista I lost the software and tried to reinstall it only to be told that I needed a serial number. Apparently Dell decided not to print this number anywhere, and I could only obtain it by running the program on my computer. Of course, at this point I’d already performed the upgrade and the program (and serial number) were gone. The version of PC-cillin I had wasn’t compatible with Windows Vista but a download was available – for those who remembered their serial numbers.

I’d given up hope of taking advantage of my subscription when an unexpected email arrived in my inbox announcing an upgrade to a new version of PC-cillin. This version was two version numbers newer than what I had originally (but still not the latest version that Trend Micro produced) and it claimed full Windows Vista compatibility. More importantly, it somehow gave me my serial number. “Oh, that’s great,” I thought. “I can get rid of my stopgap measure and get my full PC-cillin back.”

Here’s where the idiocy ensues. The file Trend Micro offers to Dell users is just an upgrade version, so it requires the original version provided by Dell in order to be installed. Well I tried to uninstall my “temporary” anti-virus and ran into enough errors to warrant a system restore. Finally, I got rid of it and prepared to install the upgrade on its own, which of course didn’t work. Lacking my Dell software CD, I resourcefully scoured their tech support website before finding the version of PC-cillin required prior to upgrading. Lo and behold, it wouldn’t install on my Vista system, saying I had the wrong operating system.

So here I am – the upgrade which brings Vista compatibility won’t work without a prior version, and that prior version cannot be installed on Vista. The latest version from Trend Micro won’t accept my serial number, since it’s only valid for Dell OEM versions.

As I’m typing this, I’ve stumbled upon another file on Trend Micro’s site which may be the complete new Vista-compatible Dell OEM version, so I’ll give it a go as a final resort. Even if this works, I’ll still be impressed that Trend Micro thought it would be adequate to offer an upgrade which was impossible to utilize…unless I wanted to enjoy the benefits of Vista compatibility while running Windows XP.

Sometimes I just wish that the Virus Buster was still around, busting all my viruses

5 thoughts on “both safe and sorry

  1. Still working on Virus Buster v.2!

    I didn’t really have time to read your article thoroughly, but I get the idea that you are unhappy with your anti-virus software.

    Well, as far as I’ve ever seen, the greatest anti-virus out there is Avast!
    Avast! is:
    1) free
    4)not a memory hog

  2. yeah i tried avast one time and i’m not sure why i dropped it. i’ve also used avg and it was ok. i guess a part of me just feels like i’m not getting quality software if it’s free.

    but as an update, i did get pc-cillin working, even though it’s been updating in an endless loop and not installing the update.

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