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Over-reacting? I'd write/call corporate and explain that he invaded your privacy! You didn't ask him to "fix what's wrong with your computer"; you asked him if he could help you re-install your active copy of Norton. Besides which, if he was ACTUALLY a tech he'd understand that you NO LONGER have a problem since you did a nuke 'n pave on it, so there wasn't anything TO fix.


although their heart may have been in the right place, he should have at least asked permission or explained what he was going to do next to 'help'. otherwise, anyone with ANY common sense would see the 'unauthorized' moving cursor and would then flipped out.

i wouldn't file a complaint, as i bet the abrupt hang-up startled him enough.

if he's a friendly tech, he probably sincerely thought he was helping and was sad/disappointed that you didn't want further help.

if he was rude or pushy at all during the call (think: 'computer guy' from SNL) then definitely file a complaint as he was displaying 'dominant behavior' and a know-it-all attitude. (sorry, i've been watching a lot of dog whisperer as of late)


Oh heeeell no. That was invasive and illegal. Yes he had legitimate access to your computer IN ORDER TO DO THE JOB REQUESTED. "Fixing" your computer was not part of his job. You did the right thing by shutting down immediately.


That's definitely weird, I'm not entirely sure why you'd go into a screenshare for something like that but regardless I'd be calling them up again and talking to a manager. Norton antivirus is notoriously crummy though, personally I prefer Microsoft Security Essentials which is free and much more lightweight.


@whyexactly I can think of a couple of reasons why a screen share would have been initiated depending on the various circumstances the first being the client requested it as she already admitted to not being 100% tech savvy but it also depends on the company protocols and whether there was a form of security key that needed to be entered to redownload the full version of the software without another purchase as the licenses she'd have been using are per computer not per household.

The Last Archimedean

I junked Norton years ago. Avast works quite nicely. I had some bad experiences with Norton customer service as well.

Sorry you had to go through that.


I would of seriously started rasing red flags the moment he said "is it possible to hack someone's email."

Seriously, that is illegal.


@Techdeath: Makes sense, though I still maintain Norton is crummy when it comes to antivirus.


@whyexactly And I didn't argue with you on that fact and am unfamiliar enough with Norton to only theorise as to their possible procedures


A tiny, funny story about screen-sharing: my friend finished writing a mid-term paper on her laptop, saved it, then went to re-open it to ensure that it would come up correctly. Nope, it was gone. She looked everywhere, as she had to turn it in within an hour. Frantic, she called her boyfriend's very religious, very conservative, very tech-savvy father to help her find it. They did a screen-share so he could search through her files, and while he didn't find her paper, he DID stumble across the Literotica that she sometimes edits on the side. :D

The Last Archimedean


Ouch. That must have been, um, an interesting conversation the next time she spoke to him.

To help relieve stress, I write stories and post them on Literotica... working on one now actually.


That's weird I would think you would need some data retrieval software to find stuff after a factory reset like that especially with the size of the OS being rewritten across the partition. Wouldn't you pretty much need to send out the hard drive at that point to get it rebuilt? I kind of wonder what he was looking for maybe the initial setup files for the software or something. That is just a weird situation, definitely good to cut his access quickly.


If your computer is Windows Vista or newer Windows OS version, even with a full re installation of the OS to factory default, the computer will sometimes save a backup file named "Windows.old" to your hard drive. It's not unheard of for that backup file to OCCASIONALLY pick up on things that may hold the registry entry that contains a product key or an .exe file for a program from a previous Windows installation, either of which would have helped.

You didn't overreact, given the information that you had, but I'm pretty sure that's what he would have been going for. He should have taken the time to explain that's what he was looking for prior to digging around.

PS: Professional opinion incoming--ditch Norton and use Avast free version instead.


Canadia, you did the right thing.

I have provided tech support and I have also had to call tech support. My knowledge of computers is rather vast, so when I do ask for help, it is usually something out of my control, like an outage in internet or cable service. And yes, I have called tech support before for stupid stuff that I could have done myself. (One time my cat walked on my keyboard and hit the button to turn off wifi. Took me 45 minutes to figure that one out and I felt like an idiot.)

That said, I will not allow anyone to snoop around my computer unless I personally know them. I also will not allow remote access either. I have sensitive information that no one needs to see. So, even when I sell old computers, I take the hard drive out and beat it with a sledge hammer and throw the drive into the garbage.

When I was stationed in Iraq in 2003, we had some hard drives that were no longer needed or functional. We attempted a DOD, 7 level overwrite, and then proceeded to bash them with sledge hammers. Because the hard drives had highly classified information, you even had to have the same level security clearance just to bash the drives with a hammer. (Don't want someone without a clearance to secretly try and keep a drive. Classified information is taken very seriously in the military)


Just, what? NO. I would never in a million years let tech support take remote control of my computer. That's why I completely avoid Dell computers ever since they advertised that they pre-install remote access software on your computer like that was a GOOD thing or something. If I had called in to Norton and been directed to let them remotely access my computer through screen sharing I would have told them NO. Don't do that. EVER.

Furthermore, I don't even let people I DO know snoop around on my computer. If they want to use my computer I'm like ehhhh.... and only allow them to do so under supervision. I'm even more paranoid at work - I never save my passwords in the browser, I almost never bookmark sites, I turn off browser history recording and auto-complete for the URL box & forms. You know? It's like I have the kind of mind that can figure out what to look for so I take precautions against other people like me.

As for anti-virus, I use KOMODO anti-virus and firewall (the firewall is important) along with browser add-ons NoScript and AdBlock. And whenever I have to re-install my OS I've taken to overwriting the entire hard drive with zeroes - just one pass because I don't have super secret info or anything. I just want to sanitize it because I've had instances of viruses coming back from the dead if I just reinstall the OS over the old OS. Yeah, that little problem cleared right up once I started doing that.

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