Waaaaay Too Much Background Activity

Fred: You recently listed the new I tunes 7 as a resource hog.  I don’t have much of a problem with that as I do with the new version 2007 of trend micro internet security.  as I write this e mail, I am getting a lag of several second between typing and display, the program is taking as much as 50% of my cpu & 85,000k of memory just to run in the background. I have contacted them, I have received no response other than their canned text. It is also causing my hard drive to spin up steadily for 10 minutes after the computer boots.  I have a p-4 HT 2.6 with 512 megs of ram, not a screaming powerhouse by today’s standards but it should be able to run a anti virus program and e mail at the same time. —Bob & Paul Hadley

Wow! Heavy background activity— especially of unknown cause— is annoying, but "a lag of several second between typing and display" would drive me up the wall. Intolerable!

It may indeed be a problem with Trend Micro’s AV. Some security tools— especially suites that have several tools on guard and running in the background all the time— can be real oinkers. But a lot has to do with what else is on your system, because the interactions between and among software can be complex and hard to predict.

To troubleshoot this, try removing or disabling any/all other security tools you have active. Antivirus tools, in particular, can and often do fight with each other if more than one is installed and active on a PC because they can compete for control of the files that are being scanned for malware.

Running more than one firewall can also cause problems; each one wants to "own" the internet connection, with poor results.

And anytime you have two or more tools simultaneously running whole-disk scans, system performance will usually tank.

So: Simplify your setup so that only the Trend Micro security package is running, and see if that helps. If not, then your system just isn’t going to do well with Trend Micro’s package; and your only real choice is to try another security suite.

But if performance is OK when Trend Micro’s suite is the only security tool running, then you’ll have to weigh the tradeoff between performance and security to come up with an acceptable mix of tools that not only protects your PC, but that also doesn’t drag performance down to intolerable levels.

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Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.