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antivirus programs and stutters

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OK, "try searching"-well don't worry, I have:With the increasing proliferation of malware, virus, popups phishing etc etc, antivirus programs are now getting increasingly robust and aggressive when performing their constant tasks. As a result, much more things will be happening inside your hard drive in the effort to stop all that kind of s..t from blowing your pc away.Since upgrading from Panda Platinum 2005 to Panda Platinum 2006 internet security package.my flight sim has been suffering frequent, heavy and repeated stutters. These typically occur at least once every 60 seconds for periods of around 20-30 sconds and also every time the fs program looks for new scenery files. It also occurs every time I start any other program, the initialisation of which is slowed to several seconds. Indeed, fs9 will now take some 2-3 minutes just to intit itself.It goes without saying that I get pretty-well infuriated by this, especially on final approach.It appears that my a-virus program is checking not just internet, but all files in the hard drive before allowing them to be utilised by any application.If I uncheck the "scan all files on disc" option, things are marginally improved. If I go offline(disconn internet) and completely disable panda, the problem is significantly reduced.(or should I say back to the "normal" stutters we are all used to).I wonder if anymore of you are having similar problems with other a/v software?I have looked at all the possibilities of excluding various files on the hd, but nothing, it seems, has a really profound effect, other than simply diabling the a-virus program entirely. The results of that might be catastrophic!I do have a lot of add-on scenery, but have disabled all that is not being used. I have tried flying an area without any added scenery, but still have the stutts!I have emailed panda two weeks ago. (So far without reply, though in the past they have responded in around 2 weeks) and hope they might have a solution, but perhaps one or two experienced simmers out there might have a useful suggestion other than perhaps "Get a different AV Program".Stuttering is one of flightsims biggest problems, affecting many of us, so any positive approach to help reduce it is going to be welcomed. I reckon antivirus does have a hand in it, probably just that it exacerbates existing stutters.

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This is a rich topic and usually people are extolling virtues of their anti virus software. One thing is clear however - there is no excuse to keep using anti virus programs that affect performance in your FS9. There are excellent free anti virus programs that have no visible performance hit on your flying experience. Ok, just as an example I am using - Avast. It is free, does excellent job of protecting my PC and has zero performance effect. I know there are others too.Michael J.http://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/forum/pmdg_744F.jpghttp://sales.hifisim.com/pub-download/asv6-banner-beta.jpg

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Any "active" anti-virus product (one that scans files whenever the OS makes a call to open, execute, rename, or otherwise access them) will have a negative effect on your system resources. Any software firewall will also have such an effect.So, for flight simmers, particularly those who fly online, I have the following recommendations:If you have a broadband (cable/DSL) connection, be sure to use a router between your PC and the cable or DSL modem. The router will do Network Address Translation, a technique for letting multiple PC's share a single IP address on the internet. One of the beneficial side-effects of NATing is that unless you specifically configure your router to allow inbound access, NOBODY on the internet can attack your PC directly, as the router will only allow "response" traffic flows to reach you. It's not impossible to attack a host behind a NAT router, but it's a lot more difficult.If you use a dial-up provider, see what sort of security they provide between you and other subscribers and the internet. Many top-tier providers like Earthlink set things up so that you are either firewalled off from everyone or you are grouped with a limited (less than 256) number of other users.If you have your antivirus software run regular full disk scans (I scan in the middle of the night 3 times a week) and check incoming files and email, your risk of infection is low. It is then safe to disable your antivirus software (and using a program like FSAutostart to actually stop the services) when running flight sim, unless you are also doing other things (like e-mail/browsing/etc.) in which case you shouldn't be whining about stutters anyway!.Best wishes,Timothy MetzingerCertified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)Senior Principal EngineerNortel Government Solutions(put this stuff here since it's relevant to the topic)

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I've become a strong proponet of www.avast.com - it's free and doesn't intrude upon games etc...

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Hi all,I think I'll try the avast antivirus. I have nothing but bad luck with Norton's. They have gotten worse in my opinion. Ken.

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Yeah Norton is serious bloatware - I do system cleaning/optimization as a side job occasionally and it and McAfee have gotten really bad as of late, especially in their "Internet Security" versions - I've seen systems gain back several hundred megs of usuable RAM and over a minute of boot time simply from replacing those with better alternatives... Avast and Microsoft Antispyware combined are more than sufficient to protect most systems.

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If you're into a high-performance payware AV solution, I'd highly recommend NOD32 by Eset. I have yet to see anything that is as fast and light on the CPU and still get perfect coverage.I've tried Avast! on a few occasions and must say that it is defintely not light on the CPU. AVG's Free Edition is much lighter. I can't say about the accuracy of either free solution though, but if you're truly concerned about performance you can always disable your resident scanner while playing to alleviate any stutters it may contribute to.Nathan Nicholls

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As I have to substantialy up-grade my PC , I am going to keep the old one for internet connection and general PC work . The new PC will be dedicated exclusively for MSFS with no internet connection, no antivirus . If I have to download any add-on , I will do it on the old PC (I have Broad Band ADSL) and use a USB memory stick to transfer between PC . I propose ,for the new PC , to get a AMD Athlon 64 3800+ , HDD SATA2 Raid 0 , nVidia GeForce 6800GT (256 Mb PCI Express).MichelCYSSY

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If you absolutely can't live without Panda AV, you need to turn off all running app's in the background to free up some resources. More Ram won't hurt either.Now, the part you don't want to hear! I've got a New XPS 600 that was getting sucked down to 5 or 6 FPS when using Airports 2 and highend payware aircraft! The day I nuked Norton AV off my system, kill about 15 app's not needed running in the background, now running AVG AV and I was back up too 12 to 15 FPS which is good enough for fluid movement. I still get stutters, we all do at some point! It's just the way it is, for now anyway. We'll see what's what when FSX comes out.Cheers,Pierre.

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>As I have to substantialy up-grade my PC , I am going to keep>the old one for internet connection and general PC work . The>new PC will be dedicated exclusively for MSFS with no internet>connection, no antivirus .> If I have to download any add-on , I will do it on the old PC>(I have Broad Band ADSL) and use a USB memory stick to>transfer between PC . >I propose ,for the new PC , to get a AMD Athlon 64 3800+ , HDD>SATA2 Raid 0 , nVidia GeForce 6800GT (256 Mb PCI Express).>>MichelC>YSSYThat's serious overkill, there's nothing wrong with having an internet connection on your simming/gaming PC as long as you know how to avoid malware etc... Besides how else would you connect to VATSIM, download charts, use Active Sky etc. You'll need a net connection to even install and validate PMDG aircraft anyway.

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Avast! runs several processes (depending on how many of the scanners you have running) and I observe the CPU time for each, totaling it up. My comment was to the efficiency of the application in general, not just for FS. On my most recent run of Avast! (a couple weeks ago) it would total almost 30 seconds of CPU time within 5 minutes of booting. As a comparison, NOD32's kernel process (only one) typically accumulates about 9 seconds of CPU time over the course of a whole day of usage (Athlon 3500+) Obviously Avast! is not very light on the CPU in this respect.On a previous trial of Avast! a year so ago on a slower box, this discrepancy was actually very noticeable in terms of system performance. Perhaps with newer machines it isn't as noticeable, but the impact is there. Granted, the application is free, but AVG is still a more efficient (albeit perhaps not as comprehensive) free solution, if you're keen on squeezing every CPU cycle possible.As previously mentioned in this topic, the best peformance solution for Flightsim is to not have any extraneous apps running in the background. Task-switching in Windows, even to date is still a significant performance hit, so minimizing the number of background apps is key to the best performance possible. As long as there's a router between you and the rest of the Internet, along with periodic full AV scans of your system, there should be no reason to fear virus infection having a resident scanner disabled during FS usage (providing that e-mail isn't running as well in the background).

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>Now, the part you don't want to hear! I've got a New XPS 600>that was getting sucked down to 5 or 6 FPS when using Airports>2 and highend payware aircraft! The day I nuked Norton AV off>my system, kill about 15 app's not needed running in the>background, now running AVG AV and I was back up too 12 to 15>FPS which is good enough for fluid movement. I still get>stutters, we all do at some point! It's just the way it is,>for now anyway. We'll see what's what when FSX comes out.>>Cheers,>>Pierre.Does this still hold true if the Norton 'auto protect' feature is suspended? Are there still Symantec services running if that's done?PhilSymonds

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Yes, even with Norton AV suspended, there are numerous other parts of Norton running in the background, ie: live update If you look in your task manager under system proccesses, you will find at least 6 norton related app's running. The program gets so buried into the O.S. and registry, you can't even kill some of those Norton app's.I've tried what your suggesting, but it's no where near giving back the horses your loosing to the program! Do a google search of all your running app's, that way you'll know which one is part of what. Just type in the app just as you see it IE; nprotect.exe and goggle will help tell what it is.That's what I've done a long while ago. I wrote down all my running app's after a fresh install, did the google thing, and wrote a list of what each was, and what they do. Great to have as a reference to, if you suspect something is amiss and have something running in the background that doesn't belong!Unplug from the internet, then turn off all the norton app's plus any others you don't need. There are some app's that won't let you shut them down, so you should be good that way. Do the google so you know what's what, kill them all you don't need, stay offline, than give your flight a go, see how she performs.Goodluck dude,Pierre.

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The FSAutostart program does a VERY good job of identifying services and processes and stopping them. I've found that it manages to completely stop all the norton background services.

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>The FSAutostart program does a VERY good job of identifying>services and processes and stopping them. I've found that it>manages to completely stop all the norton background>services.>Hi all,Talking about Norton's antivirus, I do have to say one good thing about the Norton's. It removed two of my trojan viruses, which was keeping my adware from being removed, even after running the Sypware/Adware program. One was called Virtumondo.C and the other was VirtuMonde. The Spyware/Adware program would not remove them. I had to download and run the Virtumondo.C and VirtuMonde Removal Tools from Symantec. I had AVG virus scan that detected the viruses but I could not find anything on their website to remove the trojans. I had Norton's AntiVirus and Norton's Internet Security on my computer and worked fine. But recently, I started having more problems with my Nortons. When I try to scan my computer for viruses, it would constantly start and stop, start and stop in rapid succesions. It was not a smooth continuous scan. I had to uninstall it because it servered no use and it also effected my flight simulator. I reinstalled the Norton's, which is Norton's 2003 antivirus and update the virus definitions. It said that my subscription was good until July 2006 but I don't know if this was correct since I had an older version of Norton's. It would work fine for a while but after a month or two, it would start giving me problems, such as starting and stopping continuously during a scan. When this problem occurs, it also slows down FS2004 big time, slowing my fram rate from about 30 to 40 fps down to about 2, 3, or maybe 5 fps. As long as Norton's is operating properly, it doesn't effect my frame rate at all. But when it starts acting up, I takes forever to scan my computer and that's when it effects flight simulator. It still effects the flight simulator even after I disable or close it. I have to uninstall it. Does anyone know what is causing this problem? Is it because I have an older version? I keep thinking that when the automatic update runs and downloads the definitions, it must be downloading a file that's not compatible with Norton's 2003. That's just a guess. Ken.

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Hey Ken. Are you saying that you have your virus scanner running while trying to fly? If so, it's no wonder where all the processor power has gone! I wish I could help with the other weird things Norton is doing, but I have no idea about that.The point I'm trying to make about Norton, is that it's a known resaource hog! Yes FSAuto Start works well, but if you kill all your Norton app's for flying, you'll need to be off line and that way, you can't fly using real time weather. With Norton running in the background and running FS9 and Complex Gmax Aircraft and addon scenery and high detail, autogen setting, the FR's go in the tank!I'm running a new high end machine and with all those things I just listed, with Norton running, my FR's were taking a beating at complex airports and high end planes. Since I dumped Norton for AVG, I can run everything at max or 95% with excellent FR's. FR's locked @ 30.Hope this helps?Cheers,Pierre.

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I changed from using NIS (Norton Internet Security) to Avast! and the built-in firewall in Win XP and I'm very pleased with the result - my PC is much more responsive now both in FS and in general.

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I use AntirVir XP! It is the best and it has no impact on performance whatsoever.

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i switched yesterday from Norton to Avast and have seen a good improvment in my overal system performance! thanks for recommending it!

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>Hey Ken. Are you saying that you have your virus scanner running while trying to fly?Hi Pierre,No, I usually turn it off. Sometimes I do forget to turn it off but when it's operating properly, it doesn't effect my frame rate in flight simulator. I've tried it with Norton's turned on and turned off and I did not see much difference if any in the frame rate. I do have a fairly high end computer. The only time it would bog down my frame rate is when it started acting up. You are correct that it has known issues. I've read about a lot of them on their website. I think it does use more resorces than some of the other antivirus programs.Ken.

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>>Hey Ken. Are you saying that you have your virus scanner>running while trying to fly?>>Hi Pierre,>No, I usually turn it off. Sometimes I do forget to turn it>off but when it's operating properly, it doesn't effect my>frame rate in flight simulator. I've tried it with Norton's>turned on and turned off and I did not see much difference if>any in the frame rate. I do have a fairly high end computer.>The only time it would bog down my frame rate is when it>started acting up. You are correct that it has known issues.>I've read about a lot of them on their website. I think it>does use more resorces than some of the other antivirus>programs.>>Ken. At this point Ken, what do you have to loose by giving another AV program a try? I gave up 8 more months on my Norton subscription, when I removed it. SO what, what I got in return far out weighed the loss, if you can even call it a loss!! Go WWW.Grisoft.com and download the free version exe.After that, get off line, remove all of Norton, than install AVG, run the updates and go for a fly. See where that brings your FR's?Cheers,Pierre.

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I found a switch in the panda interface "close auto protection". I tried it and my 3 test flights have been awesomely smooth, even with heavy ai traffic, online with vatsim, and using top addon scenery/aircraft.I am also using "end it all", which closes or kills background stuff.I am following each test with a full av scan and so far not a single virus found. I think "close auto protection" just stops the local resident scanning, but leaves the firewall and email protection running, tho' I need some clarification from panda on this.

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Hi Pierre,I have it already. I did uninstall my Norton's and installed the free version of AVG antivirus. I can say one thing, I can tell my computer boots a little faster than it did with Norton's. You said that after I have downloaded the AVG to go off line and remove all of Norton's. What would be the purpose for going off line to uninstall the Norton's? If I should, I did not do that. I'm using broadband so I'm always connected. The only way to go off line is to disconnect the cable modem or remove the plug. Anyway, I would like to know if it was necessary to disconnect from the internet and what would be the reason for doing that when I uninstalled the Norton's.Ken.

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Ken,I was assumming that you still had Norton installed. If that was the case and you tried installing AVG, Windows won't let you do that.! I just meant, get the AVG exe, than unplug from your modem so you aren't open to attack while on line with no AV running.Uninstall all of Norton, reboot still off-line, than install AVG, when completed, plug modem back in, establish net connection and run the AVG updates to get current virus defenitions onborard, Now you should be done. Check your processes tree to see if you have any left over Norton exe's running in the background. I always go into the program files folder and delete the leftover Norton or Symantec folders left behind after the uninstall.Let me know how many processes you have running in the background after boot, if you wouldn't mind, thanxs.Cheers,Pierre.

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