Users of the world's second best* browser were forced to use alternatives after an overnight update to Norton AntiVirus prevented Internet Explorer from working at all.
Aggrieved users who'd thought far enough ahead to install Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or any of the other alternatives took to Norton's official forum to vent their spleens.
"Sometime this evening, IE11 started crashing. In fact, it crashed an already-open browsing session, and now trying to start it up just instantly causes a 'Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working' error," wrote support forum contributor Sunfox, sparking an 11-page thread.
Forumites shortly figured out that an update to Norton Internet Security had broken something critical relating to IE, with monkeynuts posting:
I have uninstalled NIS and IE started working. Then reinstalled NIS, and once the patch was deployed IE started crashing again.
Tales of woe, heartbreak and downloads of new browsers spread, until about 0400 GMT, at which point a member of Symantec staff posted: "Kindly run manual live update (right click on Norton icon on tray notification area > 'Run live update ')," helpfully adding "Kindly stop using work-arounds."
At which point all seemed to be well, judging by the forum posts from then on. Various Reg readers whose machines had auto-updated overnight then wrote to us to let us know what had happened.
A Symantec spokesman said: "On February 20, 2015 Symantec received reports of 32-bit versions of Internet Explorer being impacted as a result of a deployed definition package.
This issue affected some Norton and Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) 12.1 and certain SEP RU2 customers who received the IPS definition, but it did not affect customers using Norton Antivirus or other Symantec solutions. Symantec quickly released a fix through our LiveUpdate servers on February 21, 2015 at 2.30am PST, resolving the issue."
Users still affected by the snafu are advised to re-run Norton LiveUpdate. ®
Google Chrome overtook IE as the world's biggest browser by market share in summer 2014. The more you know.
* A previous headline on this story mis-identified the affected product as Norton 360.