For years I enjoyed a trouble-free experience with my free anti-virus and firewall software. And then, a year ago, I decided to upgrade to the Pro version on the promise of it being more manageable and less intrusive. I can't say the promise was fulfilled, but at any rate it continued to do exactly what it said on the tin in terms of keeping my computer safe.
And then... and then... and then... early last week, with the year of my license almost up and my software running out of time, I began the attempt to renew it. Seemed straightforward enough, just fill up the online form and... well, to begin with, I needed to insert the license number for the existing software. It was one of those numbers with three billion digits, but not to worry, I had it stored safely in my impeccable filing system. Only it didn't work - the number I mean, not the filing system. Large red letters proclaimed INVALID NUMBER! I tried again. Obviously, among the three billion characters were several 0s that might have beenOs and several Os that might have been 0s. I tried every possible combination - and several that shouldn't have been possible. INVALID NUMBER! , INVALID NUMBER! , INVALID NUMBER!. So I crawled down into the bowels of the information file, found the license number secreted there, and cut and pasted it onto the blasted form. INVALID NUMBER!
Nothing for it, of course, but to email the address (sales@) given on the form, thus to plead for help. The reply came promptly back that (presumably because I was upgrading, not buying from scratch) it was not Sales I required, but Customer Services. Off went another email, this time to the afore-mentioned Customer Services, explaining in some detail the nature of the problem, i.e. that their forms were not accepting my officially supplied License number. The reply informed me that in order to help me they would need the license number of my software. I could go on, but suffice it to say that soon after this I gave up and decided to try another brand altogether.
All went well and the new software was soon downloaded. My plan now was to go off-line whilst I uninstalled the old and installed the new. Uninstalling the old did not go smoothly, it was extremely reluctant to wave me goodbye, and to complicate things further, the new, although it was now on my hard disc, could not be installed off-line. It had to be done remotely. I was at this point, though, offered help in uninstalling the old, and that now went smoothly... except that I was now on-line and unprotected (other than by Windows's own very basic offering). It took a fair while to install the new, so I then decided, my computer having been at risk for that amount of time, to run my brand new virus scan. It reported eventually - over an hour later - that all was well and that no threats had been found. The following morning after booting up it went into download mode again, and again for an hour or so, during which I could not get on to do anything I wanted to do. it was, apparently, downloading the virus scanner! And it has done it every morning since, despite the fact that I have disabled the automatic download facility and elected to download manually.