Wednesday 9 May 2012

Antivirus update

I'm now uninstalling Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 from my main Windows XP system, and will give a try-out to Microsoft Security Essentials. If that doesn't work out, I'll be back to AVG. Kaspersky seemed to be unable to give reasonable performance in the set-up that I have for that system:

  • Toshiba Tecra M10 with 3 GBytes memory and 150 GBytes of disk
  • Windows XP Pro Service Pack 3 
  • Microsoft Office Pro 2003 including Outlook 2003 
  • Mozilla Firefox as the default browser, though Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari are also installed and were tried out to see if performance would be any better
  • Microsoft Task Switcher power toy used to move from application to application
The system would hang up frequently, usually when Outlook was used.  Moving from message to message could cause processor utilisation to go to 100% and stay there for minutes on end.  One of the key components in Kaspersky, avp.exe, seemed to clock up a colossal number of page faults as shown in the Processes tab of Windows Task Manager, and the system fan seemed to be operating most of the time.  I tried reducing the e-mail scan heuristics intensity to 'Light' in the Kaspersky settings, but to no avail.

Of course, it's quite possible that cumulative security updates from Microsoft may have messed up Outlook's performance.  I felt that performance worsened after about April 2011, and this happened to coincide with updates for AVG Internet Security, which I was using at the time.  It will be instructive to see if Outlook performs as well as I'd expect with Microsoft Security Essentials.  

The experience of uninstalling Kaspersky and installing MSE has been pretty painless and fairly quick - about three quarters of an hour, including one reboot and the initial quick scan.  I decided to opt for Advanced membership for the Microsoft Active Protection Service in the MSE settings, but 'No' to Customer experience monitoring; the former should only be invoked if something happens, while the latter could impact performance at all times - presumably it starts a service at Windows load time.

By the way, MSE is free for small businesses with up to 10 PCs and for domestic use.  I'm still running Kaspersky on the Windows Vista PC without any obvious problem, although I don't run Outlook on that system.

No comments: