McAfee Security Center is a whipping

My new Dell XPS 400 came with McAfee Security Center. My old home machine runs Norton Internet Security. To be honest, I figured the two would be pretty similar in features so I considered the free Dell McAfee bundle to be a good deal, particularly in light of the generous length of the subscription.

Boy was I wrong. McAfee has been one whipping after another and has, by far, been the biggest “change management” issue for my customers (ie, my wife and kids) with the new machine.

The biggest problem is that there does not seem to be a way to connect a Privacy Service account with a Windows account. On our home machine each of us log in with our own account. That lets me limit the kids’ ability to foul up the system. With Norton Internet Security I was able to tie a Windows account to a maturity level. Norton then made a decent attempt at blocking inappropriate content. With McAfee it isn’t as seamless–anyone wanting to use the net has to log in to McAfee Privacy Service even though they’ve already logged in to their Windows account. The Privacy Service accounts are managed separately from the Windows accounts. That’s shoddy and cumbersome. I’m supposed to ask my four year-old to remember two passwords?

The next annoyance was when McAfee alerted us to a “missing component” and suggested reinstalling. I don’t know why but I let that one slip. The thing that bugged me was the re-install. The product is actually a bundle of four products. When you install them they each need their own re-boot. If you must require a Windows restart, how about giving me the “restart later” option? Four re-starts? Good thing my system boots quickly!

And now for the hat trick. When you ask the McAfee to check for updates it fires up the browser. Unfortunately it doesn’t know how to work with anything other than MSIE. I bought a security product, McAfee! Why would I be running MSIE if I were concerned about security?

McAfee, your ultimate goal in life should be transparency. When your product becomes a pain it will get disabled and ultimately uninstalled. Paricularly when it comes to virus and firewall software, that’s definitely not good for anyone.