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The number one rule of technical support, which Symantec seems to have forgotten, is ***PAY ATTENTION***

June 16th 2009 in Uncategorized



I sent a request for technical support to Symantec today – I thought, foolishly it seemed, that it was clear, succinct, and to the point.  My message was:

Unable to download hotfix ftp://ftp.symantec.com/public/english_us_canada/hotfix/defutil/KB20080828105226EN.exe

Error when attempting download:

220 spftp/1.0.0000 Server []
501 Syntax incorrect
421 Service not available, closing control connection

I have been trying to download the hotfix for 48 hours.

Norton error requiring hotfix: – "The virus definitions required by Norton Internet Security are not valid. You cannot run a scan until this problem is resolved."

The Norton systray icon is RED.

Symantec technical support sent me the following response:

“I understand from your message that you have installed Norton Internet Security (NIS) 2009 and you are encountering an error message Error: "(3038,100)" when you run a Full System Scan with your Norton 2009 product.

This issue may occur if the virus definitions are not up to date, In order to resolve this issue we need to update the virus definitions using Intelligent Updater and run Full System Scan. For step by step instructions, please click on  the link provided below:

Title: ‘Error: "(3038,100)" when you run a Full System Scan with your Norton 2009 product’
Document ID: 20081007220233EN
Web URL:

The KB article I was referred to advises me to, and I quote…

“Download the fix tool.

Save the file to the Windows desktop.


For pity’s sake, which of the very first 4 words in my technical support request, being “Unable to download hotfix”, is so difficult to understand???

BTW, you will see that I did not actually tell Symantec that the error on the system in question was 3038,100 – that little gem of information was taken from a slew of system data that was added to the bottom of my request by support by the NIS support interface itself, unbeknownst to me (damned if I can understand why they need to know if I have an optical drive installed, or what the local time is where I am).  The error being reported the affected system was actually 3035,2 (but it seems that that error requires the same fix as 3038,100, so we’ll let them off for that one).

To save myself the grief that comes from beating my head against the brick wall that is Symantec technical support I sourced the hotfix via alternate means, ran the hotfix, rebooted TWICE and ran a Live Update.  Guess what… it actually WORKED.



I had replied to Symantec, before I was able to source the hotfix by other means, and asked that they send the hotfix direct to me via email.  I was less than polite, I am afraid.  This is what I wrote:

The VERY FIRST SENTENCE IN MY TECHNICAL SUPPORT REQUEST IS: " Unable to download hotfix ftp://ftp.symantec.com/public/english_us_canada/hotfix/defutil/KB20080828105226EN.exe.  Let me repeat the error message in hopes that somebody will actually READ it this time.

Error when attempting download:
220 spftp/1.0.0000 Server []
501 Syntax incorrect
421 Service not available, closing control connection

With that in mind, WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU SEND ME TO A TECHNICAL SUPPORT DOCUMENT that tells me to download a hotfix when I have already told you that it won’t download???  Please send the fixes to me by email.
Also, PLEASE NOTE that the Norton Support Window refers me to the 3038,100 fix tool, BUT the NORTON PROGRAM ITSELF reports that the problem is 3035,2.  <— PLEASE READ THAT VERY CAREFULLY – NORTON 360 IS ALSO REPORTING THE ERROR 3035,2.

I have another email here.  This time Symantec Technical support wrote:

“I understand that you are getting an error message with error code "(3038,100)" when you run a Full System Scan with your Norton 2009 product and you tried to download the fix tool and it failed with error code “220 spftp/1.0.0000 Server []”, “501 Syntax incorrect” and “421 Service not available, closing control connection” (My emphasis)

I would like to inform you that this issue might occur might due to lack of latest virus definition updates or if the virus definitions are corrupted.

In order to resolve it, we need to update the virus definitions of Norton by running the fix tool and then restart the PC. After restarting the computer, a Help & Support window may open and you may still see the error. Please exit the Help & Support window, and then restart the computer again. It must resolve the issue.

For further assistance with the steps that need to be followed, please go through the following link.

Web URL:


The technician then continued on, telling me that if the hotfix did not work I would need to download the Norton Removal Tool.

Yeah, I didn’t believe it either.  I was referred back to exactly the same URL even after they acknowledged that I was not able to download hotfixes.  My response began with:

“Forget it.  Please close this Technical Support Incident as "customer gave up".”

13 comments to...
“The number one rule of technical support, which Symantec seems to have forgotten, is ***PAY ATTENTION***”


Epic fail indeed!

Jay Lacher

With Norton I am not at all surprised.  By the way, IE8 in Win 7 reports this page load as ‘Done, but with errors on page.’.


@ Jay,

Re the errors, I’m not seeing them here. I’ll need more details of the script error.


Kaylene Horne

You get the same runaround with Trend unfortunately.

Customer gave up there also.



Still, the technician did give the best solution to your problem “Download the Norton Removal Tool”.


This is the error I see in IE8 on Win7:

Webpage error details

User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; Trident/4.0; SLCC2; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729; Media Center PC 6.0; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; Zune 3.0)
Timestamp: Sat, 20 Jun 2009 17:38:52 UTC

Message: Object required
Line: 208
Char: 3
Code: 0
URI: http://msmvps.com/WebResource.axd?d=TwDCgNFtJFlFRk_AF9RrCnaX_Mg-xCIMW6teDjmBk5wocjTgTMvevidIZwtko82W-Dqg5O4Zk8mT-VasSzhtgFB7l5GJqlCjlJIB4LKinb3Tsg23tlcq8JgvbGtWuMkT0&t=633747182020000000




Hmm. Seems to be Community Server specific (or, more precisely, CS theme specific). I’ll ping the blog server’s owners, see what she thinks.


Sandi &c.

Very Very Good Tech Support

What do you expect, poor quality tech support outsourced by Symantec to India.


You use Symantec? OMG! WHY???



The 2009 version is actually quite good; only takes minutes (if that) to install and uninstalls just as fast – much better than the behometh, unreliable, resource hogs of the past. That being said, Norton is gone now, and replaced with the Microsoft Security Essentials beta. It will be interesting to see how that pans out.


I dumped ESET for MS Security Essentials.  I’m tired of all the BS of dealing with these security companies that don’t care whether or not you own their product.


So far, I am *very* impressed by MS Security Essentials.


I am looking for solution to the same problem for beta release on windows 7 i.e NIS 2010, since this hotfix did not get installed for this release.

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