Stay away from the new Rogers anti-virus

I followed the email from Rogers (my ISP) that told me they were dropping Symantec and I should install their new anti-virus offering. I should have known better, but I don’t know what came over me. It’s my own stupid fault, and I’ll never get those two hours back.

The email told me that I “need to upgrade to our NEW Rogers Online Protection before June 30th, 2009”, and that “Rogers Online Protection replaces the [Symantec] security suite” we previously received for free, for being a Rogers customer. It sent me to rogers.com/upgradesecurity which bounced me to a page from which I downloaded the installer.

Just as their email promised, “Upgrading to the NEW Rogers Online Protection is free and easy” other than having to reboot, which is not an unusual experience when I’m running Windows.

However, after the reboot, things were far from easy. Logging in took much longer than usual, and the applications I have auto-start on login (e.g. Pidgin, my instant messaging client) hung. In fact I couldn’t even get the Task Manager to respond!

Very, very, very slowly I started getting pop-ups from the new Rogers Online Protection tool. My core 2 quad CPU machine, with 4Gb of RAM (well slightly less than that in Windows because it can’t see it all) usually flies along, but now it seemed to be running molasses.exe

I tried acknowledging the pop-ups (which told me Rogers Online Protection was blocking access to the internet) but the egg timer just kept on spinning.

Eventually I gave up and hit the PC’s reset button. I logged in again and gave ROP one last chance, but it was just as bad as before – if it was a horse, it would have been put down on the spot!

I played a few rounds of terrorist hunt on Rainbow Six on my Xbox while I waited for the paint to dry, killing processes each time the Task Manager came back to life, and eventually ROP stopped strangling the life out of my PC. Immediately I brought up Add/Remove Programs and tried to remove ROP … except it wouldn’t let me because it had installed a second application (without telling me) which I had to remove first. If you’re going to install two apps and not tell me, then I should be able to remove one and it should clean up its own mess.

The uninstall took an age too, and then proudly told me I’d have to reboot. No option to do it later. Just one button – “reboot”; no way around it. (Actually this was the same on the install but I’d forgotten about that until now.) I wonder if their UI “designer” was Mr.Hobson?

Having no other choice, I let it reboot and hoped that would be the end of it. I don’t know why I’m still such an optimist – I’ve been with Rogers long enough that I should know better. Sure enough, as I logged in a Rogers pop-up appeared, pointing out that ROP wasn’t fully installed. I launched Add/Remove Programs and finally the dragon was slain. (Hey, it’s St. George’s Day this week so I can use than reference!) At least this final uninstall didn’t insist on a reboot.

Finally free of that Rogers monstrosity, I did what any geek would do – I tweeted about it and wrote this blog post. It’s cheaper than therapy and far less frustrating than trying to explain to Rogers why they suck so badly.

As for anti-virus on my Windows PC, I’ll go back to either NOD32 or AntiVir – both are professional AV products, unlike the mess that Rogers are foisting on their customers.