Fixccs.exe has also been linked to problems some users had installing early builds of XP SP3 late last year. In a support forum thread that started December 22, 2007, Shashank Bansal, a Microsoft engineer helping users troubleshoot XP SP3 installation bugs, said: "This is a serious problem for us and we would like to investigate it to further depths. We would need help from all users on this forum for the same." Bansal then asked users who had had trouble updating from XP SP2 to SP3 to identify the process that had hung or had hogged CPU cycles. "Look out for cscipt.exe or fixccs.exe," he asked.
Cole said Symantec was working on a standalone tool that would delete the extraneous registry entries. "We hope to have it ready pretty quickly," he said. "We're working with Microsoft in the normal channels."
That word must not have trickled down to Microsoft's technical support representatives. Users who have posted to Symantec's support forum and others who have e-mailed this publication claim that they have been told by Microsoft support that the fault is all or partially Symantec's.
A user going by "ZLevee" copied messages received from Microsoft support to a post on the Symantec support site. "Based on the current research, the issue can probably be caused by the conflicts between SP3 and Norton. Please let me know if you have any Norton product installed.," ZLevee said the Microsoft support representative had claimed.
A reader e-mailed an account of his experience last week with Microsoft's support. "I had an online chat with a tech support person named 'Obaid' on 5/18," said Thom Nielsen in the e-mail. "He told me that Symantec products do NOT work with XP SP3. He told me Symantec is aware of the problem(s) & is working on it."
"This is the first I've heard of this," said Cole when asked to comment. "I hope we can clear up any confusion."
When asked whether it had uncovered any more information about the disappearing Device Manager and the corrupted registry entries, Microsoft said it nothing new to add beyond the recommendation it made Tuesday: that users contact the company's technical support desk if they have had problems upgrading to XP SP3.