Back in April, we covered (1, 2) a serious issue with the beta version of Virex 7.5 (v7.5b1) where Virex would "detect" a virus in a user's mailbox(es) and subsequently delete the entire mailbox(es). Unfortunately, reports from MacFixIt readers indicate that this problem still exists in the recently released final version of Virex 7.5 (which is provided free to all .Mac members). For example, Michael Wyszomierski writes:
"Yesterday I downloaded Virex 7.5 (build 72) from the .Mac site and installed it. I turned on the Active Scanner and told it to Scan contents of mailboxes. I also instructed it to Clean when a virus is found, but did not check the Delete when Clean fails box. Today when I turned on my computer and launched Mail, I clicked on a new message to my .Mac account. It was an automated subscription mailing from Apple Discussions, so obviously not a malicious file. When I tried to read it, Mail informed me that the message had not yet been downloaded from the server, and I must take the account online. I checked the Online Status menu, and all four of my accounts, including .Mac, were online and checking mail. I quit Mail and relaunched, only to find that the entire .Mac inbox had been deleted. The other 3 POP accounts (.Mac was set up as POP also) have been unaffected so far. At some point during this Mail mess, a Virex message popped up informing me that it had found the mydoom virus in the .Mac mbox file, and had deleted it.
"This behavior is simply unacceptable in a final release. Fortunately I ran Backup yesterday, but this sure scared me. Hopefully a report by MacFixIt will warn others before the same thing happens to them."
We agree with Michael: Any bug that results in data loss is inexcusable in a final, non-beta release -- especially when that bug was known (and publicized) over four months prior to the final release.
Considering the severity of this issue, we recommend against installing Virex 7.5 until a fix is available.
Other problems In addition to the issue described above, readers also report other problems with the new version of Virex.
Can't install because of "anti-virus" software Several readers have reported an inability to install Virex 7.5, receiving an error that other, incompatible, anti-virus software is installed. Reader Tom Byers writes:
"I downloaded the Virex upgrade and when I try to install I get the following message: 'Virex 7.5 cannot be installed on this computer. There is anti-virus software running that is not compatible with Virex. Please remove any other anti-virus programs previously installed." I don't have other Anti-virus software installed and .Mac provide little of know feedback regarding help with this issue. Anyone else experiencing this problem?"
Possibly related to this, posts on Apple's Discussions forums are claiming that Virex 7.5 will not install if Norton Utilities is already installed. Martin Staum notes:
"Several Apple discussion boards are reporting problems with Virex 7.5. Installation hangs unless Norton MissedTasks file is removed from the /Library/Startup folder."
Excessive disk access We've received reports of excessive disk access as Virex examines the hard drive. Martin Staum also writes, "Subsequent to installation, background scanning activity -- that can't be stopped by turning off the option -- is causing noisy operation of PowerBooks, causing users to de-install Virex."
Inability to log in Kurt Meyer describes an issue where his eMac running 10.3.5 would not allow users to log in:
"[After installing Virex 7.5], my eMac did not start successfully, hanging during the (automatic) log-in-window process. I tried repairing the access rights, but that did not help. A safe start and running the 'Virex Uninstall.command' was the only solution for me."
Applications crashing We've had a few reports of problems with applications after installing Virex 7.5. For example, Jerome Adamstein writes:
"I upgraded to Virex 7.5 .Mac version when it was released a couple of days ago, since then I have had some major problems with applications crashing, especially with Photoshop CS. Also affected [were] Mozilla 1.8a3 and Netscape 7.2. This has been happening on a dual 2G G5 running 10.3.5. Took quite a bit of troubleshooting before I suspected Virex -- removed it entirely and the problems vanished.