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More feedback on Virex 7.5 CPU usage, Prefs settings, etc.
Last Updated: 8/30/2004, 1:23 PM (ET)

Earlier today (8/30) there was a reader post on Virex 7.5 being pulled .Mac and VT. Here's a clip from the report with Apple's comments:

    "NOTE: Due to customer feedback and technical issues currently under investigation, we have temporarily discontinued distribution of Virex 7.5 from McAfee until further notice."

Several readers sent their comments on Virex 7.5 CPU cycle usage, prefs settings, removing it, etc..

Reader Reports (most recent first)

I mentioned earlier today I had not installed Virex 7.5 but wondered if there was a prefs setting to disable background scanning, etc. (to reduce CPU cycle usage)

"Mike, Yep there is a pref to disable background scanning. I noticed my machine being VERY sluggish and just turned off the pref. (Background virus detection)
matt "

"RE: Virex 7.5 pulled?
"I wonder if there's some prefs setting to disable any background processing/scanning. (my comments in the original post-Mike)"
The application preferences allows you to disable all of the background features, but this won't prevent the associated processes from chewing up CPU time (they usually sit around 10%, even when disabled).

To restore the system, you simply need to remove the "Virex" folder from /Library/StartupItems (if you start Virex afterward, it will complain and eUpdate won't function, but you can still do manual "On-Demand" scans). I simply stuffed the Virex folder (leaving it in the StartupItems folder), and haven't noticed any issues.
Best regards, Adam K. "

"You can disable the background scan as shown in the attached pdf file; however, there does seem to be a definite conflict between Virex 7.5 and Process Viewer.

After reading the report from Mark on your site, I thought I'd check my processes, but was unable to do so....Process Viewer would open, but no window would be presented and Process Viewer seemed to hang and become unresponsive, but was not recognized as having crashed when Force Quit was selected.

I then used the Virex disk image to use the provided Remove command. The removal was completed. I then tried to open Process Viewer and every thing functioned as it should....no restart or logout was done.

There is definitely a conflict with Virex 7.5 and Process Viewer. I also had noticed slowness, but had not tied it to my recent update to Virex 7.5.
I'm going back to 7.2.1
-Lee A. "

"Thanks for posting the note about Virex 7.5 and it's use of CPU time.
I checked on my machine (dual 1.8 G5 running 10.3.4), and indeed it is true.

Virex processes running after a reboot, when the Virex application has not been actively run are: Vshield (about 5-8% of CPU), VshieldBKgd, VShieldCheck, VShieldCore, VShieldMount, VShieldUpdate for a total of 5-10% of CPU.

Running the application Virex 7.5 and unchecking the "Automatically check for virus definition updates" preference causes the VShield process to drop to 0% of CPU.

The other Virex associated processes have minimal usage for a total of <1%. However, for a non-running program, these processes are using ~14 MB of RAM. If you have a Mac with a small amount of RAM, this can be 5% or more of your available RAM. All for a program that you don't think is running!

However, upon a reboot and without running Virex or any program other than Activity Monitor, VShield was again taking 5-8% of my CPU. Simply starting Virex 7.5, and then quitting it, without visiting the preferences panel, dropped the CPU usage to 0%.

So it appears there is a bug in Virex that, upon a reboot or system startup, automatically loads processes that have been turned off in Virex preferences. When Virex is run, it tells the VShield process to stop.

I have removed Virex from my computer until this is fixed. There is an uninstall program in the Virex7.5.dmg file, which runs as a Terminal script (no fancy user interface). Upon running this, the Virex processes were gone, and did not reappear on a restart.

I had noticed increased baseline CPU usage via CeePeeU, but had not diagnosed it. I'm now back to 2-5% CPU usage while reading or typing email. Thanks for posting the item about Virex.

Since my choice is to only run Virex when I want to check my system, and I do not prefer to have it constantly scannning files and internet traffic, I can install it when I want to do a scan, then uninstall it when done.

I'm sending a copy of this to MacAfee, but their web page uses a form and I can't just cc them. Update: From Safari and Explorer, their form is broken and I get an error message. I can not find a direct email address so I have sent them nothing. Arrgh.

"Virex 7.5 is still available via Network Associates download page. Have noticed a consistent CPU drain ~10%.
Dan "

The reader's comments said it was pulled from VT and .Mac - and even Apple posted this:

    "NOTE: Due to customer feedback and technical issues currently under investigation, we have temporarily discontinued distribution of Virex 7.5 from McAfee until further notice."

(from a reader post)

"... thought I'd post my feedback and what I've been reading about the new version of Virex (7.5). On single processor laptops turning on background scanning and all-the-time protection can really hurt overall performance. On my dual FW800 MDD it doesn't. I don't feel it at all and my processors are running just over 50% each with FAH responsible for 90% of that. Disk activity is higher with settings enabled like that, but on a tower I don't even notice it. On a laptop it would be much more annoying.
Snodman "

Virex 7.5 Pulled?
Here's a repeat of the original reader mail on Virex 7.5 being pulled (updated to include Apple's comments)

(from a reader mail yesterday - updated with more comments)

" Maybe you saw this already, but .mac and the links at VT/MU are now back to 7.2.1
I forgot to mention the official word from Apple:

    "NOTE: Due to customer feedback and technical issues currently under investigation, we have temporarily discontinued distribution of Virex 7.5 from McAfee until further notice."

I discovered this because I was getting frustrated by poor performance on my Ti867 pbook, and after running tests was looking at xbench scores that were substantially lower than past performance. Confounding the issue (and initially panicking me) was all the reports of ram issues with the 10.3.5 update. I rebooted off my firewire backup that still had 10.3.4, and all was good again.

Then I started looking at a cpu gauge and noted a vshield process that I didn't recall from earlier taking up entirely too much cpu time. I searched my boot volume for everything with 'virex', threw it all in trash, and then restarted. Once the reboot was done, all was back to normal performance, including the bench scores from xbench.

That got me looking for info on the web about this or any issues, and I came up dry. However, the fact that Virex 7.5 is gone, and my own experience, was all the confirmation I needed.
Mike C. "

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