Why is MsMpEng Is annoying me?

I am working on 3 brand new almost identical installations of Win XP SP3.  I am up to date with MS Updates.  I istalled MS Security Essentials.  One PC is fine. On the other the MsMpEng is locked at 99%  CPU usage for about 3-4 minutes whenever I open a random folder or application, before it releases it.

I know what the culprit is (MSSEssentials)  I just don ot know how to stop it from doing that. Disabling Application and program protection under Realtime Protection stops the 99% but  Realtime Protectionin in MSSE lites up in RED, almost forcing a user to start realtime protect again.  I could deal with that, but The owner of the PC cannot.  

I need to learn how to stop this from happening.  And I also wonder why the other 2 PCs do not have a problem.  These 3 PCs are the first that I used MS security programs. 1 is fine. One grabs 99% for 30 seconds then releases.  But this one that I  am writing about takes anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes to release its MS grip on the CPU.

I remember having this problem with MS Antispyware, then Win Defender( that hasn't found a bad guy YET, to my knowledge).  I just uninstalled them and it was over.  That is not an option here.  I was scheduled for the owner to pick this up today but I cannot let her have it this way.  She is rightfully upset.  I need answer quickly.  My customers are the type that do not pay for AV, so that also is not an option.

The QUESTION IS:  How do I  prevent this miserable MS program from acting the way it is and stealing my resources?

Thanks in advance.
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How about removing it and trying Avast Free?
Is windows desktop search on that machine.
Disable it or uninstall it if allowed.

Check if windows defender is installed>disable its service

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Donnie616Author Commented:
Ok guys--thank you--Now to answer your questions.

Hi ed--Avast alone is not good for my client.  She needs more and not so unfreindly interface.  I usually give MBAM and SASW with AVAST or AVIRA Or AVG.  But they all will kill an older CPU, like most of my repairs are.  So that is why I tried this MSSecEss over the weekend.  it worked so good on an older machine, that I thought I found the holy grail.  NOT SO !!

Optoma--you may have a point.  when MS updates on  this installation with a new toy i just discovered,  Windows desktop search was part of the bunch and was also annoying me.  I thought I got rid of it, but it is worth another look.

Funny thing, 3 PCs side by side, same SP3 install disk, same apps installed, same updates installed from a CD (My new toy)  But this MS app works differently on each.  I actually have them on 3 different screens so I can see what is happening on each.  I don't understand what is going on.

Will check back. after some tests.  BTW, this is not persistent ALL the time.  Just right at start up for several minutes and then later on it happens when trying to open a file or folder----sometimes.  It really needs to be fixed or like ed said, it needs to go.  I cannot deliver it like this.

thanks again

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Donnie616Author Commented:
Sorry.  From above:  >>when MS updates on  this installation <<  I meant, "when I installed MS updates on this Installation"
Donnie616Author Commented:
I think it was 'Desktop Search" that caused the problem. I removed it and now after desktop loads,  MSSE fools around @ 50-99% for about 30 seconds, then all is normal.

Donnie616Author Commented:
I would never have figured that one out.  Not without coming here to EE.

Thank you
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