Neglect your computer network, expect to have problems.

We recently took a call from a customer that has neglected their computer network for years. They have been customers of ours since 1997, but for various reasonsĀ  they prefer to try and muddle through problems on their own or try and ‘live’ with problems they cannot resolve. We do not provide them with any scheduled maintenance service – they just call us to make specific requests.

Last month we got a call from them out of the blue. Their server based AVG Internet Security antivirus and firewall package had expired and they had tried to renew the software without our help. Unfortunately for them, they purchased the wrong thing. Twice.

Not only had they purchased the wrong product but they attempted installation of the wrong product too and this installation failed. Their time and money had been wasted and they had made a minor problem worse.

Always ready to help, we contacted AVG. As one of the larger AVG resellers in the Norwich and Norfolk area, we were able to pull some strings and part-fund the correct AVG product with their previous, incorrect purchases.

When we went on-site to install the software there were more problems. Installation of the server product went smoothly, but out of four computers, AVG would only install on one of them.

To our amazement, one computer was still running Windows 2000. At time of writing, this operating system is well over ten years old and it is not surprising that AVG do not make their product backwardly compatible with such an old operating system. TheĀ  development costs would be too high when you consider only a tiny portion of computers still run Windows 2000.

On two of the other computers, the remote, ‘server-push’ installation failed, each for different reasons. We tried direct installs on the computers too, which also failed, so we had to send AVG the installation logs for a detailed analysis.

By this time we had been on site for about three hours (mainly because the computers were all so old and so slow) and so we left site and returned after AVG had given us some feedback.

With their assistance we identified that multiple older versions ( right back to AVG 8 ) had not been properly removed from the computers and went through a time consuming procedure on each computer to remove all traces of the older AVG products.

A few hours later we had finally achieved (or so we thought) a healthy AVG installation on their network.

The day after the installation we took another call from the same customer. None of the computers that we had installed AVG on were able to send email. We treated the problem with our highest priority and provided immediate remote assistance.

After around half an hour we traced the problem to the Outlook 2000 email client on the customers computer. Outlook 2000 was released in 1999 and is now eleven years old and unsurprisingly it was not working properly with the AVG Anti Spam componentsĀ  ( avgaspmx.dll ) and disabling this feature solved the problem.

A job that should have taken us a couple of hours on a single visit has taken the best part of eight hours to complete, during two site visits and one remote support session. Not only that, but the customer’s Windows 2000 computer is not fully protected with antivirus or firewall, and there is no spam filtering enabled on the computers.

The moral of this story is that if you do not invest in your computer network and do not have your network professionally maintained and supported on a regular basis, then you should not expect things to go smoothly when you do want to have work done.