Sometimes after installing Symantec encryption software on a Windows client, you encounter system error messages or behaviors that appear to be issues with the new software, especially during the boot process. However, the real issue is often with the device drivers, which become more exposed by this system-level software, and must adhere to a more rigorous standard. Many of the messages or errant behaviors, therefore, are preventable. By following a short checklist focused on device drivers, you can provide a more optimum environment for the encryption software as it provides hard-disk security.
Causes of Outdated or Incorrect Drivers
A client computer can contain dated or incorrect drivers for many reasons:
The client computer’s drivers become outdated as the manufacturer releases updates that are never downloaded or installed.
New computers may come with Microsoft Windows generic (standard) drivers installed. These drivers emulate basic hardware functions but do not contain specific commands for distinctive devices.
New client computers are activated by imaging them from a corporation’s existing computers that are running a standard operating environment (SOE). This activation method can perpetuate the installation of generic Windows drivers.
New client computers are activated by installing the drivers from an existing computer made by the same manufacturer. While the drivers are from the correct manufacturer, the manufacturer may have updated or customized the drivers for this particular computer model.
New devices can require drivers that are not recognized by older operating systems.
Symptoms of Incorrect Drivers
The symptoms exhibited when Symantec encryption software is installed on a client computer that contains incorrect or outdated drivers manifest in a variety of error messages and behaviors, most often exhibited in the pre-boot authentication environment. For example, after the Symantec encryption software is installed, during reboot, one or more of the following conditions may occur:
The system hangs.
USB devices are not recognized.
The system continuously reboots.
Unexpected characters appear on the screen.
The message “Incorrect kernel for your CPU” appears.
The client computer cannot find or detect the Ethernet port.
Prior to installing the Symantec encryption software on a Windows client, make sure the client’s drivers are manufacturer-specific and current for these four components:
þ Storage device drivers
þ USB device drivers
þ Video device drivers
The Importance of Drivers
Symantec’s encryption software is more sensitive to drivers than most Windows applications. The software works at the system level, and loads during the initial boot process. The software interacts with two operating systems: a custom pre-boot authentication (PBA) OS and the host (Windows) OS. The software must be able to handle system interrupts and issue hardware instructions specific to each device, prior to Windows loading.
Fixing Incorrect Drivers
To ensure correct drivers, go to the manufacturer’s web site and download and install any updates.
Even though the Symantec encryption software contains chipset and device driver definitions for many of the systems on which the software is currently installed, receiving customer feedback about new hardware models or devices can help expand our product capabilities. Awareness of these new systems/models helps us include definitions for these devices in a future release. Contact Symantec support to provide this information.
Assumption of Additional Measures
This article assumes that prior to installing Symantec encryption software you also:
§ Follow best practices, such as update the BIOS, defragment disks, and back up your system. See especially “Best Practices: PGP WDE-PGP Desktop 10” in article www.symantec.com/docs/TECH149543.
§ Adhere to the product’s system requirements.
§ Follow any special instructions defined in release notes.
Keep your chipsets and device drivers current and manufacturer-specific to provide an optimum supportive environment—both in Windows and pre-Windows—for your system-level encryption software.
Imported Document ID: TECH179255
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