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BitDefender 9 very slow at startup with "Scan accessed files" enabled (WinXP)

I'm 99% sure BitDefender 9 Standard's "Scan accessed files" option is the reason that my PC is bogged down at Windows XP Pro startup.  When this was enabled this morning, my PC was bogged down for 7 min 20 sec (7:20) after the Windows desktop appeared.  I disabled "Scan accessed files" and rebooted and the PC ran apps quickly at 0:32.  I re-enabled "Scan accessed files," rebooted, and the PC was bogged down for 7:15.  For the 7 times I booted yesterday with "Scan accessed files" disabled, the PC ran apps quickly after elapsed times that ranged from 0:31 to 0:41.  For the 4 times I booted yesterday with "Scan accessed files" enabled, apps would not run for anywhere from 1:22 to 3:05 after the desktop appeared.

(1) Would an upgrade to DB 10 solve this problem?
(2) How risky is it to run with "Scan accessed files" disabled?
(3) I also run Spy Sweeper which is busy checking stuff at startup.  If others do not find that BD9 slows their PCs, I wonder if the combination of Spy Sweeper and BitDefender be causing the extreme delay.

I've been using BD9 for over 6 months this problem did not start until about 4 weeks ago. I have autoupdates turned off for both BD and Spy Sweeper.  

Once past startup, BD9 causes some delays, but its performance during normal PC operation is tolerable -- I'm NOT commenting about how long it takes to do a full scan of all files on my drives.

(I originally posted a question about this at http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/XP/Q_22441239.html and then later isolated the problem to BitDefender )

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1 Solution
Sounds like you're already pretty sure the problem is with BD.  My recommendation:  drop BD and go with AVG antivirus.  Their free version is excellent and does not cause system problems like other programs.  If you want to upgrade, they have pay-for versions also.

With BD running scans of every file accessed (which is quite a few at startup) and SS doing the same thing, it's no wonder your system takes so long to start up.

Here's exactly the setup I have on my pc's (and what I recommend for one's I've worked on)
ZoneAlarm firewall
AVG Antivirus
All free and all effective with less system issues.
BenBurnedAuthor Commented:
Thanks, michko.

It's a real challenge to determine the best AntiVirus.  I selected BD after a fair amount of research (I used to run Norton).  There are a lot of varying opinions about AV programs.  A lot of geeks are very critical of Norton and yet PC Magazine has been giving it the Editors' Choice award.

There is a lot of very good freeware and a lot of poor commercial software, but for an AV, I feel that a paid product is worth the expense.  At least there is a staff that is paid to keep the program and signatures up to date, as opposed to a free product that is a secondary responsibility for someone.

QUESTION 1:  Do you know if the free AVG engine and signatures are updated as soon as the paid version?

My other thought is that there is a fine line between how effective a program is and how much of the CPU resources the program consumes.  To be really effective, the pgm has to burn CPU cycles (within reason), but I fear that BD9 may have some inefficiencies.  I think of this like tires.  I look for tires with the most traction, not those with the longest life.  You can make a tire last longer if the rubber is harder, but harder rubber will not have as much traction.  In a panic brake, I expect to leave a lot of rubber on the road.  

I am no longer 99% sure that BD is slowing my PC.  Two startups out of seven were fast (less than 45 sec).  Since Sunday, my PC took the following amount of time to finish startup (after the desktop appeared):  0 min 49 sec (0:49), 3:00, 0:41, 6:30, 3 min +; 1:26; 2:23.  All these times were with BD's "Scan accessed files" enabled

BTW, I e-mailed BD support Sunday night after I posted this question in EE.  They replied Monday suggesting that I update to version 10, which I intend to do.  They also recommend NOT running more than one security solution at a time.  I do not like this type of response.  I've been running multiple anti-malware utilities for years without a problem.  But, of course they want me to buy their complete suite.

BD support did not answer my question (also included in my original EE posting), so I'll repeat it:

QUESTION 2: How risky is it to run with "Scan accessed files" disabled?

Another BTW:  I just posted a question about why Process Explorer (procexp) display freezes for up to 25 sec at startup.  If interested, see http://www.experts-exchange.com/Programming/System/Windows__Programming/Q_22470125.html 
BenBurned - nice posts, extremely well thought out and detailed.  Excellent analogy to tires. I am impressed.  

1 - I don't have a paid version of AVG and am not completely sure about their update procedures.  The free version checks for updates daily.  From what I can tell all versions access the same db, so whenever your version checks it gets the latest.  I haven't seen any delay in retrieving updates.  According to the Grisoft web page this is the extra you get with their paid AV:

More security!
+ Anti-Spyware (available in AVG Anti-Malware)
+ Anti-Spyware, Anti-Spam and Firewall protection (available in AVG Internet Security)
24/7 professional technical support
High-speed downloads
Customizable settings
Your language

I do know they offer complete solutions for the corporate world and are making pretty good inroads.  We haven't changed at work, but I'm pushing for it.  Basically I like their product and how it treats my system.  When testing it on my home test pc with some virus infected files, it caught them immediately.  And I run a lot faster with AVG than with Norton.  

Microsoft recommends not running more than 1 solution at a time.  It can cause problems with 2 separate programs trying to scan the same thing at the same time.  When I do my full system scans I do AV, then Spybot, the Adaware, not all three together.  If I try all three at the same time, they occassionally cause conflicts and lock up.  A lot also depends on how you want your AV/spyware solutions to act.  Myself, I prefer a more manual approach, which is why I'm ok with Spybot and Adaware.  Spybot does have an alerter for registry/startup changes, but it doesn't actually scan files, so doesn't interfere with AVG.  I've heard of problems running two solutions at the same time, and I've heard of folks with no problems doing so.  Pretty much a matter of which programs, what they're scanning at the same time, and personal choice.

2 - I would say you would want to scan files as they're accessed.  Yes, it takes system resources to do so, but if something nasty comes up you can usually catch it before it does much damage.  This will slow your boot up as a lot of files are being accessed at that time.  Alternately, Spybot has a lot of system immunizations and notifications of system changes.  Run it and check out their advanced mode.  Some pretty impressive tools if you know your system, which it sounds like you do.

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BenBurnedAuthor Commented:
Ben Burned has been busy.  I tried today to download BD 10, but BD has no record of my account.  I e-mailed them and am awaiting a response.  Will post when I have news (unless I decide to let my EE account expire)
BenBurnedAuthor Commented:
I finally downloaded BD 10 a few weeks ago and am still experiencing somewhat slow startups when the "Scan accessed files" option is turned on.  Specifically, it typically takes around 1 min 20 sec (1:20) to 1:50  after the desktop appears before I can run apps.  The one time that I disabled "Scan accessed files" in BD 10, I was able to run apps after 0:30.  I've decided to tolerate this delay for the time being, especially since I have another year left on my two-year license.  I have turned off autoupdates in SpySweeper but haven't experimented enough with this setting to know how this impacts startup time.  In fact, this would be hard to test because whether there is an update or not is out of my control.

My EE subscription is ending today.  I intend to make another post & award points to michko, but I'm making this post now in case my subscription expires before then.

BenBurnedAuthor Commented:
The site http://www.av-comparatives.org/ has comparative scores of various Anti-Virus Software.  I don't know anything about this organization -- I read about this organization in PC Magazine.  AV-Comparatives reports AVG as slightly better than Bit Defender in total detection rates.

michko, thanks for your advice.  I'm giving you the points (but I'm somewhat uncertain because the AV-Comparatives PDF report says that the scores do NOT also apply to the free versions.)
BenBurned -

First, let me say thank you.  Not for the points (which I do appreciate), but for the pleasure of discussing an issue with someone who can think(!) and does their research.  

The majority of reviews in publications like PC Magazine are for the full paid-for versions.  Simple marketing.  Some companies don't offer a free version of their software, so they review what is selling on the market.  I'm still happy with the free AVG version, the only difference I've been able to see is that it takes a bit more hands-on maintenance.  Which I actually prefer.  Just depends on personal preference.  

Also, I am only running AVG's free antivirus.  For ad/spyware detection, I've been running Spybot and Adaware.  From some other discussions on this site, I've been checking our SuperAntiSpyware (although I really dislike the name and their tacky icons), but it seems to also be a pretty good ad/spyware solution.  Like always, their free version requires more attention than their full product, but so far looking pretty good.

If you're interested, a couple of good Windows cleanup programs are CCleaner and Cleanup.  Check them out.  They're a good addition to a solid pc maintenance routine.

Another aside - you said your subscription is about to expire.  From our discussions here, you could easily contribute to EE.  Pick a couple of topics that you feel comfortable with and post some suggested answers.  It only takes 12,000 points (in accepted answers) a month to be able to post unlimited questions.  My own case - I registed for EE a couple of years ago.  I only started posting answers in Feb of this year and have not had to worry about a paid subsciption since.  It's been a pretty rewarding experience also.

Lastly  - thank you again.  Best of luck to you and yours.
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