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Updated Antivirus Causes Slowdown Opening Files


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#1 barefoot_bill

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 03:01 PM

HI! Might take a while to describe this...

This is on an old Gateway GP6-400, with Win98, 384M, 2- 80 Gb drives. Have been using eTrust Antivirus for several years. A recent A/V update installed a new engine version. Immediately noticed a problem opening files in Word 2000.

For example, with the old A/V engine version, double-clicking on a typical Word file would open the file in about 8 seconds which seems reasonable. With the new version active, it takes 45 seconds!! If I re-install the older engine version, the opening time returns to 8 seconds.

In either case, when A/V is put on "snooze" the file opens in less than 2 seconds.

The virus scan itself reports no viruses. Also ran an F-Prot scan from write-protected floppies. Again, no viruses. Also, Ad-aware and Spybot scans don't find any malware.

Now, the weird part is, another GP6-400 computer, with Win98, 256M, 2- 40 Gb drives, doesn't slow down with the new A/V engine version. It opens Word files in 8 seconds with either version active. Again, with A/V shut off it takes less than 2 seconds.

I temporarily copied each of the C: drives to the opposite machines' D: drives and managed to boot from D: in each case, effectively swapping the drives, and this showed that the slowdown is associated with the software rather than the machine itself.

Whatever is doing this causes several other effects, e. g. a few seconds delay initiating printing from Photoshop 6. But the Word file opening delay is the most obvious.

Sorry to be so verbose on my first post... hope someone can help.

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#2 Leurgy

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 10:47 AM

Hello barefoot_bill and welcome to BC. Don't worry about the post. Its great to get enough info to make some suggestions.

How many programs do you have running at startup? To find out, go to Start>Run and type in msconfig. Look under the Startup tab and compare the programs set to start when you boot to those in our Startup Programs Database at the top of the page. Disable any you don't need.

Perhaps this new scan engine is enough to eat up your available remaining resources. Go to Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Resource Meter and watch that as you open and close programs and perform other tasks.

Do a scandisk and defrag and run Disk Cleanup, or better yet Ccleaner. Watch the installation of that carefully as it will install the Yahoo Toolbar unless you tell it not to.

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. Abraham Maslo

**** We use our powers for good, not evil ****

 Trying to remove your data from the web is like trying to remove pee from a swimming pool


#3 barefoot_bill

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 11:11 AM

OK, I've been trying a lot of stuff, see if it any of it makes sense. I've also noticed it's not just opening Word files that's slow, sometimes it takes a while to CLOSE the document and the application as well. Sure feels like some kind of infection or malware...?? Scans still show nothing though.

I've been running Scandisk and Defrag weekly on all 3 of my computers, via Task Scheduler. No errors found on any of them.

There are 15 Startup items checked in MSCCONFIG. None are listed in the Database as ones that should be removed. Here they are:

ScanRegistry
System Tray
LoadPowerProfile
Tweakmaster
Memoryboost
EM_EXEC
TweakUI
VetAlert *
CaAvTray *
CAVRID *
LoadPowerProfile
CAISafe *
SchedulingAgent
AdobeGammaLoader.exe

* from Computer Associates

Just in case, tried unchecking Tweakmaster and Memoryboost and restarting, but it made no difference.
Kept on with this until eventually I had unchecked EVERYTHING except System Tray. After rebooting, still had the problem! It turns out that even with the four CA startup entries disabled, the Real Time Protection still somehow runs. So Word operations still slow down. (Note: System Information\Software Environment\Running Tasks shows nothing from CA even though Real Time Protection is definitely active. Weird!)

Re-checked all the above startups, rebooted, then opened eZ Antivirus Scan Settings and disabled Real Time Protection. (This requires restarting yet again!) Now all the problems are gone. So that's definitely the component that's involved.

During all of this I had the Resource Meter on as you suggested, and it always displayed 3 green bars. And when MemoryBoost was active it generally showed about 70% free.

Downloaded CCleaner and ran that. (Neat program!) This shortened the delay in opening a Word file from 44 seconds to 32 seconds. Tried restoring different stuff that had been cleaned and it seems something in C:\Windows\Temp caused the extra 12 second delay. But 32 seconds is still kinda long, no?

What gets me is that only Machine #1 of my 3 computers has this problem. Machine #2 works fine with either scan engine version, but it's a 1GHz Compaq so isn't directly comparable. But #3, which I use as a backup machine, is like #1, a Gateway GP6-400. Although it has less memory and smaller drives than #1, Word files open in about 8 seconds with either engine version active. (Just for reference, the older version is 11.9.1 and the latest is 12.4.1.)

Incidentally, Machine #3 has EXACTLY the same list (as above) of checked startup items in MSCONFIG, in the same order even.

Well I'm gettin' sick of the whole thing and my typing finger is wearing out. Tired of waiting for reboots too, Gateway's BIOS is kinda slow. Also, not sure what to try next... But thanks again!!!! ...bb

#4 Leurgy

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 01:54 PM

I would certainly disable AdobeGammaLoader.exe. The newer versions of Adobe are too intense for an older computer and its not necessary to be runnig in the background..

Lets try some diagnostics to rule in or out some hardware. Run Windows Memory Diagnostic or Memtest86 to test your Ram. Run SeaTools Online Edition to test your Hard Drives.

Edited by Leurgy, 27 February 2006 - 01:55 PM.

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. Abraham Maslo

**** We use our powers for good, not evil ****

 Trying to remove your data from the web is like trying to remove pee from a swimming pool


#5 barefoot_bill

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 07:07 AM

Hello again! Well, Microsoft Memory Diagnostic's extended test ran all night Monday and found no errors. Then SeaTools Online Edition extended drive test ran all last night and also found nothing on either drive (text attached.) I'm fairly sure it's a software thing.

I know exactly what you're saying about newer Adobe stuff. However I have the old Photoshop 6.0, which came out only about a year after this computer was built. I've disabled Gamma Loader (file date 4/99) at startup but then have to run it manually before printing from Photoshop, to get the monitor to look more like what the printer puts out. I thought it was a TSR????

Speaking of Photoshop, over the weekend I was doing a lot of photo printing and Photoshop started acting flaky, restarting didn't help, so I removed and re-installed Photoshop which got it behaving again. So, while I was at it, I also tried re-installing Office 2000 and eZ Trust Anti-Virus, but unfortunately this didn't have any effect on the problem! Oh well... what next??? ...bb

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