Last night my mother complains to me that “nothing is working” which eventually gets translated to “the internet is down”. I show up to begin my standard diagnostic work. I don’t believe that it’s my Mother’s doing, because I long ago trained her to click “No” to everything – even if she ends up in an infinite loop (e.g. Flash install). Her computer randomly breaking down is actually something of a rarity. I ended up spending an hour doing all the standard reboots, entering safe mode, diagnostics, network reboots… until… McAfee.
At the time of diagnostics, her computer had McAfee Security Center or some such suite. It came pre-installed and pre-activated with her (Dell) computer so I figured why not let her use it. This turned out to be a mistake. The second I uninstalled McAfee from my mother’s computer, it worked perfectly. Effectively McAfee air gapped my mothers computer. That’s a little too secure for her, as she really likes to check her email.
McAfee did publish a notice about their little cock up, but it’s too late for them in my book. I suggest you uninstall McAfee and replace it with something that is a bit more reliable. Microsoft Security Essentials works surprisingly well as a replacement.