Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What's up with McAfee lately?

I am active at several different forums where people ask for help with malware removal. They start with posting a HijackThislog or other logs and then we give "step-by-step" instructions what to remove and how to remove it.
Malware is one of the most common reasons why a computer becomes slow and unstable - However, many people do believe that every computer problem is a malware related problem, so they post their logs and ask for help.
In 40% of the cases, there's no malware present, so we have to look somewhere else what is causing these problems...

In most cases, it's like searching for a needle in a haystack - but after a while, it's becoming obvious what is causing these problems if you're dealing with them everyday. And such example is McAfee.

Not sure what happened with latest McAfee, but many people are having A LOT of problems with it. The most common problem I notice with McAfee is a severly slowed down system. I did the test, installed McAfee Security Suite (1024MB memory) and after reboot, my system was crawling!!
That's why, If people are complaining about a slow computer/slow internet - if there are no traces of malware present and they do have McAfee installed, then the first step I ask is to uninstall McAfee and replace it with another Antivirus/Security Suite. 90% success!

But the slow down issue is not the only problem that McAfee may cause. Other problems I've noticed with McAfee as well are:

* Programs freezing
* Explorer crashing
* Internet Explorer crashing
* Outlook crashing
* Only able to boot in Windows Safe mode
* ..... you name it.

McAfee already made its own incompatibility list and I am sure it's still missing a lot of Products there. It's normal that you shouldn't have more than 1 Antivirus/Firewall installed, because they are not compatible with eachother, even though they are disabled. But if it's up to McAfee, people should uninstall the most commonly used Antispywarescanners as well, such as Ad-Aware and Spybot S&D. Hence, they even recommend to uninstall SpywareBlaster. Huh?
And even though you uninstalled them all.... the problem remains....

In general, if there are no traces of malware present and McAfee is installed - uninstall McAfee first and see if that solves your problem (whatever problem you are having). Believe me, in most cases, it is the solution!
In some cases, it's hard to convince people that McAfee is responsible for the problems they are having, they just won't believe it since it worked fine in the past. Reference here. The guy believed he had a terrible Virus causing all these problems and couldn't believe it was his McAfee causing all these problems. I already explained to him a couple of times that I was pretty sure his McAfee was the cause, it took me 2 pages to convince him... and he still wouldn't believe.. until he decided to uninstall it after all as a test. And guess what? :)

Ofcourse, there are also a lot of computers where McAfee runs smoothly - where there are no issues at all - but unfortunately, nowaday posts at forums show that McAfee just won't run properly on a lot of systems. That's why, if you want to use McAfee, use the trial first before you decide to purchase McAfee.

There are some other Security Products that may cause similar issues as McAfee, such as Norton Internet Security, Zonealarm, but I'll rant about that later :)

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