PGP Pretty Gruesome Product

I had to let this sit over night before I posted it. Otherwise, it would have been nothing but four letter words.

Before I dive into the problem let me say that I’ve been running PGP for years. I thought it was great product when it was free, but since its become a commercial product I’ve found that I’ve liked it less and less.

My first issue is the way PGP changed multiple file processing. In the free version you could select multiple files, choose encrypt and then each file would be encrypted separately. That was changed to zipping all the files into one and then encrypting the single file… which meant you had no f@#$ing clue what was encrypted. Sure its more secure, but that totally changed the work flow.

My second issue was all the crap I had to go through to get a copy of PGP with whole disk encryption. I won’t go into the details, but it took multiple emails and calls to get this straight. I finally ended up talking to the customer service manager (because everyone beneath him was a complete idiot).

My third issue is with the latest version where they removed the shred option when choosing to encrypt a file (its there for the Mac but not on the PC).

My fourth issue deals with the number of clicks it takes to encrypt and shred a single file. The number is something that would make a Vista user feel right at home (as in way too many). Thankfully, this stupidity has not made its way over to the Mac.

So with that as background (there is more but I don’t want to spend all night on this post) let me tell you about my troubles from yesterday. I was working on my old Windows PC at the office when a pop-up window appeared for an update to PGP Desktop Professional. I clicked Ok and let it do its thing. Big damn mistake. The PC rebooted and I started getting popups about a string missing for a parameter or some such rot. Needless to say, PGP was not updated correctly.

I jumped over to their support site (which is an utter joke) and found nothing in the knowledgebase. The KB is not much more than the manual rehashed. So next I tried the user forum. Its better than the KB, but there are lots of unanswered submissions. The next option was a call to technical support (which costs $43 for 20 minutes of time). I purchased my 20 minutes, but since this does not deliver immediate gratification (you have to wait for the damn email to arrive before you can use your time) I stumbled upon a post in the forum that looked promising. It was complaining about something similar and stated that you had to delete a bunch of files to really uninstall the software (since the uninstall program basically does nothing).

So for the next little bit I proceeded to delete every PGP file I could find (and there are a bunch of them). There was one file that I could only delete by booting into XP safe mode. Can you believe this? The forum poster was correct… the uninstall is an utter joke.

With everything uninstalled I started the re-installation process. Since PGP will not let you download and save the current version (another folly on their part) I had to go back to my original version and then re-install the upgrade. This worked thankfully, but I was out FOUR HOURS.

You would think that would be enough punishment, but oh no. I made the stupid mistake of updating my Mac version as well. That installed fine, but it toasted my whole disk encrypted drive (as in it would not read it).

Oh BTW, why in the hell is the whole disk encryption option not part of the standard install? What idiot made this choice?

Anyway, I tried uninstalling, re-installing. I tried running my old version. I tried many things, but the encrypted drive was toast. So thinking I would start over I re-initialized the drive. Guess what? PGP would not accept it as an encryptable drive. I tried every combination available. No go, so to hell with that.

And to hell with PGP. There went TWO MORE HOURS out of my day. I will not be renewing my maintenance on the PC… I seriously doubt I will renew maintenance on the Mac… and you can guess my opinion if someone asks me about PGP and their products.


~ by Genevieve on 2007.09.08.

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