Windows Live OneCare is a POS

Windows Live OneCare is a fantastic idea. Write buggy insecure software and then charge the people who buy your software extra if they want to buy OneCare, which is supposed to protect them from the errors you created in the first place.

Anyone else see a conflict of interest here? Why fix the software, when fixing it, only gives people a reason not to buy OneCare!

Anyway, a trial version of OneCare came on the Vista laptop that Microsoft sent me. This morning I was sent an Activation key to upgrade from the trial version to a full version. Excellent, that will get rid of the nagware screens Microsoft have in the trial version and allow me to update the virus definitions.

Ah, the naivete, if only life (with Vista) were that simple.

Three hours and countless restarts later I was still battling unsuccessfully to Activate OneCare.

First off, if you want to go from the trial version to a full version you have to uninstall the trial version (requires a restart) and download and install the full version (requires a restart). Why? Why can’t you simply add an activation code to the trial version and it change automatically to the full version?

Anyway, after going through this process I was faced with the following unhelpful error message:

Windows Live OneCare's unhelpful error message

When you click the Get Help button, you are brought to a screen which asks you what the error is! I dunno. You tell me. You are the one with the bloody problem.

“OneCare has encountered a problem” doesn’t elicit any helpful responses unsurprisingly!

I decided to make sure I had done a full uninstall. So I uninstalled OneCare (and restarted) and then I ran the OneCareCleanup tool (has to be run as Administrator and requires a restart).

I then reinstalled OneCare and sure enough an Activation screen appeared – wohoo, I thought, success at last. Silly me.

Windows Live OneCare Activation screen

I clicked on the Activate button, the screen closed and nothing happened after that. I decided to try a restart as almost everything else in this process had required a restart! Still no joy.

I tried going further in the Windows Live OneCare Support pages. Could I contact someone to help out? Of course not. Why? Because Windows Live OneCare determined that I was still in the Free Trial Period so I was only entitled to email support (24 hour turnaround).

Windows Live OneCare lack of Tech Support


I give up.

60 thoughts on “Windows Live OneCare is a POS”

  1. I went through this horror-loop too but as I’d paid for it (ok €19 for three machines for a year was cheap) I refused to give up and opened support tickets with them.

    Turns out that if your machine’s date/time is more than a few hours off, you’ll get that retarded error. Fix date/time and all will be well in activation. My machine was a day off for some reason.

    It works reasonably well for me except when it tries to do the regular full system scan, chews up 100% CPU and never finishes.

    It also didn’t catch a potential trojan that AVG caught.

    McAfee, Norton and the others have been at this game a long time. MS need to do a lot better than the current C- effort if they want to make a dent in that business. They had to give up the last time they tried it.

  2. It also appears they did little testing of the Beta->Full upgrade path. Half the time they give you web errors for the full product, the other half for the beta. Ditto the help pages.

    It’s pretty shoddy compared to some of the competition (one of whom I worked for, for a short period). They would go back 4 or 5 versions and make sure all upgrade paths were bulletproof.

  3. Tom, what is POS?

    First thing that comes to mind is: POS = “Point of Sale” terminal. But that’s because I have done a fair share of work on financial transaction processing software in the past.

    Somehow I suspect that is not what you meant. 🙂

  4. I tried to install Onecare after using the free trial version. It would work for a few days, then tell me ‘Your virus protection is out of date’ I had to keep phoning the oh so polite tech support guys, (some with a flimsy grasp of the English language). It would work for a day or two, then tell me it was out of date. I decided to cancell. That was at the beginning of March and I am still trying to get a refund. They actually charged me again, so I’ve now paid £75.98. I spoke to ‘John’ on Wednesday and he promises me it has gone through this time and I must say, it looks quite hopeful, but I am loosing the will to live and may have to shoot myself.

  5. having problems activating my windows live onecare, doesnt matter what i do i still cant activate it……..what is going on? Another thing is i cant find any telephone number to contact windows live onecare to resolve this problem….any suggestions? Someone please say they are having the same problem and I am not imagining this?

  6. hi

    can i get the activation key if its no use for you sir? i am trying it out.. it looks crap, bt wht if i try?? it wuld b a kind deed sir

    seth saad

  7. Can anyone give me a phone number for Liveone Care? I paid for a subscription and about 2 months into it I could not update Adobe. Copme to find out – Liveone Care was the culprit blocking my update. I uninstalled Liveone and tried to reinstall it. No such luck. My wife got on line & had to sign up for another “free trial”. The free trial is about to expire and I can’t contact them to let them know of my delimma.

    All I need is a phone number. HHHHEEEEELLLLLLLPPPPP!!!!!!!!1

  8. iS 3 MONTHS THAT i TRY TO install Live One Care….unsuccesfully. It keep me bring in a loop of pages that goes in circle…..never one time come up a simple “click button” which say “Activation” and never give me the chance to enter the key ativation code ….
    Tried 10-15 times…Nothing!!! Ive bought it regularly so why I cannot install it???????????? Any help before I switch to another AntiVirus???? Soon I will

  9. iS 3 MONTHS THAT i TRY TO install Live One Care….unsuccesfully. It keep me bring in a loop of pages that goes in circle…..never one time come up a simple “click button” which say “Activation” and never give me the chance to enter the key ativation code ….
    Tried 10-15 times…Nothing!!! Ive bought it regularly so why I cannot install it???????????? Any help before I switch to another AntiVirus???? Soon I will

    Same situation…….

  10. ahhh — LOC — those are the initials aren’t they? I am in the mood for a class action suit. Everyone I know that has purchased LOC has now asked the tech experts at Microsoft to remove it completely from their computers. The purchase price was about $49 here in the US. Some of us spent many hours on the phone from the very beginning, the first sign of trouble being installation and activation issues. From there on it was a downward spiral, it seemed that the more the techies fiddled to find solutions the more the whole thing came unraveled and with that also went the performance of the computer. It came to feel as if my computer now belonged to Microsoft; LOC behaved more like a virus than a cure. The people at Microsoft, although very good to deal with, could care less that we have wasted our money. One must pay to participate in their great experiment? It is brilliant getting the public to underwrite a gigantic worldwide trial of a product!

  11. Dear John and Shelley, I phoned Onecare loads of times this summer. Unfortunately, in an effort to block the whole awful experience, I seem to have thrown away all the info I had. I have found a free-phone number, but am not sure if it is the one I used. I know I had to make about six menu selections to get through. You could try it anyway. It’s 0800 281221. Apologies if it is useless, or too late now, as you’ve shot yourself in desperation sheer desperation!

  12. could you please tell me how to un-install the OneCare completely from my computer. Please!!!!!!! I got a new 15 in 1, but i can cot install it because of ONECARE>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  13. Wanda, I had the nightmare of LOC here as well. My suggestion to you is to call them and get their tech people to walk you through the complete removal of it from your computer. That worked for me. Good luck. R.K.

  14. I’m also having major problems could you sent me the phone number of the secret society live onecare the 800 number you have listed is missing a number 800-281-221 ?

  15. I hate OneCare. I want it completely off my Vista ultimate machine. Please send the secret to completely uninstalling the non-activated version that came with the OS.

  16. John – Here is the number I have for Microsoft Customer Service: 1 + 866 + 663 + 2273. You will need to give them a product ID# and your subscription ID#. I talked to someone named Samina who was brilliant but still a company man so to speak. She, in the face of all my ranting, did with finesse and total professionalism methodically walk me through the COMPLETE removal of everything that was associated to Live One Care. Good luck, Robert

  17. I’ve never yet encountered a piece of software that wasn’t, to some degree or other, a pile of crap and I’ve been wrestling with it since 1963 in the old mainframe days.

    That said, does anybody know if, when you have all this trouble with W L One Care, can you get living Tech Support on the phone?

    Do we just buy the thing and get cast to our fate in an ocean of unknowable Monkey Business or will there be someone to help us when the smoke starts coming out of the computer and Windows Live One Care goes completely haywire and causes all of our tires to go flat and our house to catch on fire?

  18. thanks for posting this phone # for support. I had zero luck using their online “help” … cancellation was a breeze thanks to this post!

  19. Please give me an 800 phone #.I’m trying to buy the service but will not use credit card.would like to be billed or echeck

  20. I gave the wrong number sorry it was 1-425-704-2033. the other number I accidently posted is spam and tries to get you to sign up for something that asks for personal acct numbers and stuff do not call it. (yes I have reported that number thats why I pasted the wrong one and I apologize)

  21. I have had nothing but aggravation, Hours of wasted time, 1 of my 3 computers crashed and has not been repairable with this software. i’m still waiting on a refund.

  22. so i bought this live onecare at the store. i installed it and it worked fine for awhile. a week later it told me i still needed to subscribe? i thought by buying this i did? can anyone tell me if i need to pay more money and subscribe online? i’m frustrated

  23. I’m still waiting for the credit on this lousy software that took all my time up

  24. Worse install ever.
    I’ve restored an entire AIX system on a midrange computer in less time than it’s taken me to validate my product key for OneCare. Oh yeah, it’s still not activated.
    The install of the software went smooth enough but when I attempted to activate my subscription using the enclosed 25 character token (product id) I kept getting the nefarious message “Product Key Already In Use”. Using MSFT’s online, computer support is an exercise in futility. No matter what you put in you’ll either get a message stating it doesn’t understand the question or points you to another help screen which in turns points you back to the help screen you just left. Reminds me of the adage, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.
    Finding a phone number for live support has been impossible and I refuse to deal with their phone tree again.
    In the amount of time I’ve spent trying to get this product activated I could have driven from SF to Redmond.
    Sorry for the rant but I had to vent.
    I sent an email to their support line so I’ll see what happens in the next 24 hours.
    Think good thoughts.

  25. I paid for Windows Live One Care and my pc went bizark, so I had to do a recovery, now I can’t download it and I can’t get in touch with them to get my refund are something. What a Bummer!!!

  26. You had much worse luck with onecare then I ever did, although I do have complaints, I found the program to be easy to use and not that bad at all. I still trust Norton more though :P.

  27. Hi there! I need all your help badly. I chose to cancel Windows Live Onecare before the renewal date was up, so I wouldn’t need to pay again. I done everything to cancel, yet they hadn’t taken my details off the system and still charged me. So I got in touch with them and they apologised and told me I would be given a refund. Now 4 weeks later I am still waiting for it. I contacted my bank and they said it is nowhere to be seen, there has been no payments from them whatsoever to my bank and yet microsoft said according to them I have been refunded. Now I need to contact them to tell them I still have had nothing but it won’t let me fill out enquiry forms anymore because I have no subscription to them. I even downloaded the trial version but I still can’t email them. Please does someone have a UK phone number so I can get my money back???

  28. i paid one care 1 year subscription till feb 2009 i am now told i am out of date fed right up can you help jim.

  29. Microsoft will not return refund because I had the use of their software too long. Does anyone know how we can start a class action law suit against them.

  30. Sara, Check your statements carefully and make sure you arn’t charged again, as I was. I kept trying to get a refund and ended up paying for the damn thing three times. In the end, I wrote to Mastercard and they got my money back straight away. ( I should have done this at the first sign of trouble.

  31. Hi,

    I’m trying to cancel the Onecare trial but cannot find where to do it.
    Can anyone give my a phone number for them or let me know where the page is I need to be.? I keep going round in circles.

  32. If anywhere on the application no matter what, it says Windows Live you are screwed. Don’t just walk away. Run for your life; and Vista sucks too. But, Bill and Linda don’t care they are off trying to save the world with your money.

  33. Lynn,

    the phone number you need to call is: 1(866) 663-2273 in the U.S.

    Hope that helps


  34. You can use your Windows Live ID to get your subscription ID. If you dont have a Windows Live ID then just use your product key ID to get your Windows live ID. Or you can use your subscription ID to get both your Windows Live ID and your product key ID

    And if you dont have have any one of those then congratulations that means your not dealing with stupid bullshit once so ever and you still have your sanity! So just sit back and have a drink and tell Windows Live One Care to go fuck themselves!

  35. I have downloaded windows one care to my computer since i bought it…3 weeks now it is asking me to restore my files…for what reason i dont know…can someone tell me what windows one care is doing to my files and my computer?…also there is no one who is there to be talk to niether a technical support centre either..Can the internett secuties investigates these problemns too…also some time my firewall is found off i have not done so either….

  36. I’m trying to cancel ms onecare. I phoned 1 866 663 2273 and was directed to billing. They didn’t answer but did play music and gave continuous adverts for one care. After quite a few minutes on my cell phone they put me to voice mail. I told them my name and advised in the message I was asking my credit card company to dispute the money. C $67.15. The company will send me a form. If I’m right and I know I am I will get a credit. If wrong I will pay credit card company C$10.00 It seems that this has happened to me in the past and I don’t understand how a large company can just charge an account without authority.

  37. Ok, I pressed 0 to get through to MS Customer service and got through to livecare support. He hot connected me onto billing. Billing looked over my account and said they would credit and cancel my account. He also assured me they would not renew next year. He did say that live care service accounts are automaticly renewed each year but in this case it won’t be renewed next year. So almost 2hrs of time this morning has been spent cancelling. That includes less than 10 minutes of two phone calls to credit company. The second one to advise them not to dispute MS livecare charges.

  38. I changed base units in november and duly followed instructions to download live1 to new unit,all i got was a 90 day trial and all attempts to talk/email a question with these numpties has failed.They keep qouting the 90 day trial details not my ongoing subscribed details.Due to their lack of understanding of a simple problem every time i contact them, after 30 seconds, i lose the will to live!!!!!!

  39. I purchased Windows One Care in Jan 2008. My computer went from bad to worse during this time and in November I had to have a major overhall. A colleague told me he did not trust One Care so in November I mailed MSN- somewhere – couldn’t find any direct Windows One Care site, and cancelled my subscription. I did not re-install One Care and told them this. In Jan 2009 I had two email from their Billing Department, one saying my One Care was due for renewal, and the other saying they could not charge my Debit card as it has expired. Thank goodness it had, otherwise I would have paid again for something that I did not want. The emails were No Reply so I could not get back to them directly. It took me over half an hour to try to find somewhere I could contact about this and in the end mail MSN again, asking them to cancell One Care. They replied with a list of “contacts” for technical support, not mention on Windows One Care. I mailed again and the reply I got today 8th Jan had given my, I presume, a telephone number, which I assume is in the USA, certainly not in UK. I am not prepared to ring anywhere. I would have though there would have been an email address to contact them.
    I am not at all happy with the service from Windows One Care.

  40. Windows Live One does NOT catch anything. I have been attacked by trojans and ran the stupid scan multiple times and still nothing. I know I have trojans because it attacked my internet. I’m going back to spyware doctor. This is ridiculous.

  41. Tom Raftery, thank you and God Bless for offering this blog.

    Yes! Don, thank you! 1 866 + 663 + 2273 does work, I received an refund of $29.00. After 6 evenings of frustration.

    Cancel ID #1092842477

  42. It is sad to see that people are still dealing with the ‘nightmare’ of LOC. I still resent the 49.50 US I paid Microsoft for a product that was such a mess. It was only on my computer for a short time; then I had THEM remove it completely from my computer. Did I get a refund? They are the only business I know that gets to keep the cost of a product when it is not satisfactory. Maybe one day there will be a class action suit regarding this Goliath?

  43. Hi tom, you are POBS. what? now you understand!

    go learn something about computers, or from computer for dummies or go buy MAC.

    live one care is NOT a fix for windows. its fix for bad software that comes with last time your wife downloaded porno while you were in office.

  44. @Farrukh
    “or go buy MAC”

    Yeah, right, assuming you have *very* deep pockets. Most people are not going to go buy a new computer because one security suite was bad, here’s a though, go buy Norton 09.

  45. i purchased the boxed disk along w/an hp laptop recently. i have tried several times to install it on my desktop at home, to no avail. it give me an error message that says:
    The procedure entry point AttachConsole could not be located in the dynamic link library KERNEL32.dll. i searched for this file, and found many of them…i have no f***king clue which one it is…this program seems to have lots of frustrating features.

  46. Live one care is the best anti virus software that I have ever used in my life.

  47. Hats off to the Microsoft. I heard that windows 7 is coming up with Integrated live one care software. I am eagerly waiting not only for windows 7 but also inbuild live one care. Thank you Microsoft. U R Rocking!!!!

  48. I would also like to add some more comments about Vista. Vista, I would say the best operating system. Though this OS uses lot of resources, it is more stable than XP. Recovery console in Vista is added advantage, with which we can boot the computer, if the computer faces any booting issues. Regarding the windows update, I would say it is the best. Recently I installed SP 1 and every thing went on smoothly. I dont know why people are complaining about Vista. I also want Microsoft to add Live one care as the integreted part of Vista operating system. If that comes, I dont have any problem in purchasing another Vista disc for my computer.

  49. After reading this blog, I don’t understand the confusion over Windows Live OneCare. I really love this software. I’m using Vista as my OS and Windows Live OneCare as my security software. Life is great and yeah to Microsoft.

  50. Found this site looking for Windows OneCare CS tele#. Thank God.
    Just today I looked in my email and found their notice dated 1st of September, telling me they (have? or will?) auto-debit my account for 50.00 US ~ thereby auto-renewing to a ?Free? 6 month extention this coming 1st of October! What the hell is that!?
    I have the paperwork piled in some stack or at the bottom of a drawer from, I dont remember, I purchased OneCare – has it been a year or more?
    It gave me problems and couldn’t finish scans, so I uninstalled and deleted it after a few days or weeks.
    And I didn’t even think of calling them to get a pro-rated refund – – I just thought “fuck it.” Completely forgot about it, until this email shows up!
    It should be Illegal for Any corp or company or government to auto-debit-renew any product or service without full informed agreement and permission of the client/customer beforehand …
    And this week I’ve been forced to deal with two other sneaky online crap-businesses debiting my account behind my back, I didn’t even notice until I found out my account was overdrawn (jesus, i know i had enough money !?) and BofA debited my account fees of 3 X $35! FUCK!
    In Ending, this site saved me hours tonight in search of the ‘non-published secret CS#’ number.
    I called and they are closed … Thank you everyone.
    AND, YES, I will join a class-action suit.
    PS ~ I have AVG free anti-V/M/Sware – its good! and free.

  51. while i had windows live installed in my computer i downloaded 22 sixcs incase something happened to my files and programs but now because the trial has run out i can not use these discs such a waste of money and time is there anyway that i may use this program without purchasing it and im sorry but not income was happy to use the program which i found great to be able to fix thee problem would appreciate this very much i thank you

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