On Access Scanners Killing App Performance

At work I’m wrestling with McAfee’s on access scanner absolutely crippling Lotus Notes latest client R8.5.1.  By killing the mcshield process you can realize a dramatic improvement in the startup time and overall performance of the Lotus client. A side benefit is that the omnipresent crashes I was facing have virtually disappeared.

Also, if you use the designer client you will see at least one order of magnitude increase in performance. I went from being amazed that such a terrible designer client had been released to being horrified that a relatively capable designer client had been so crippled by on access anti malware software as to render it useless.

Obviously our security folks are not going to be satisfied with simply disabling the scanner so the challenge is now to find some way to make these crappy security products ignore the right files so that the business applications can get on with being useful.

Today I was working at home with Quicken 2010 and I was miffed by how sluggishly it was behaving. I’ve got an i7-920 computer chip overclocked to 3 GHz, 12 Gigabytes of RAM and 64-Bit Windows 7 Professional pushing Quicken along. In theory it should be screaming.  Pulling up the task manager, what do I see but for pretty much every mouse click the MsMpEng executable (Microsoft Security Essentials Anti Malware scanner) is sucking up 10-30 percent of my CPU.

I’ve tried configuring the scanner to ignore my executable (C:\Program Files (x86)\Quicken\qw.exe), the Quicken QDF data file type (QDF extension) and even the entire dedicated drive on which the Quicken data files reside. But nothing has any effect. I’m pretty sure that those options are provided for the same reason as “Close” buttons on elevators exist: to give you something to do while things proceed at their normal pace.

Now killing the MsMpEng process absolutely fixes the issue. Quicken takes off like there is no tomorrow. Again, this is not an appropriate answer. You need to have rather sophisticated protections in place to work in today’s sophisticated cyber world. But it does point a finger directly at the resource hogging culprit.

So tell me, why does our protection software have to be so crude and bloated that this is even an issue? Does anybody have any suggestions or alternatives that you are happy with? Until this issue I thought I was VERY happy with Microsoft Security Essentials. But I’ve never needed to tweak it before. Now I want something effective. Symantec’s products have proven themselves to be monstrous resource hogs in the past. My McAfee experience at work is leading me away from that direction. Suggestions are very welcome and even more so if you’ve worked with Quicken in a Windows 7 64 bit environment!

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