McAfee utilities just don't get along

The McAfee Office suite is a tempting buy. For less than $200 you get a grab bag of ten separate, free-standing utilities -- including VirusScan, Nuts & Bolts 98, and Guard Dog -- that would cost hundreds of dollars if purchased separately. McAfee Software's parent company, Network Associates, acquired almost all these products when it recently bought up competitors CyberMedia, Helix Software, and PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), and the company's unfamiliarity with its stepchildren shows. PC World readers report problems just getting the suite installed.

McAfee Software recommends installing one product at a time. But even then, a conflict can bite you. Guard Dog's File Guardian feature may lock up your system when you try to use Nuts & Bolts 98's DiskMinder, DiskTune, or Image tools. At press time, the 20KB fix for the Guard Dog lockup was tucked away in the company's Web-based discussion forums on http://www.mcafee.com. McAfee Software suggests that you download the file and then copy it into your Guard Dog folder. (If you use Oil Change, it will put the file in the folder automatically.) When I downloaded the fix using Internet Explorer, however, the resulting file lost its .vxd extension, and the patch won't work without it. You may have to rename the file and add the missing file name extension back on. You may also be able to obtain the update by using the Oil Change utility that comes with McAfee Office.

Another headache with Nuts & Bolts 98: The Registry Wizard's Tune Up option has various problems that can corrupt Windows 98's Registry in some situations. McAfee Software posted an Instant Update fix last November but withdrew it when the new code caused the same problem elsewhere in the Registry. To download and install Nuts & Bolts 98 Instant Updates, choose Start-Programs-Nuts&Bolts 98-Instant Updates.

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