Avast 6 "sandbox" feature drags down system performance even if not enabled


S

Stan Brown

If you use Avast free and updated to program version 6, you may have
noticed some slowdowns, as I did. I'm posting this in case it may
help others.

Problem 1 is the false positives, which are annoying: Irfanview, as
well as the command-line utility GAWK (so far). Problem 2 is that
listing them as sandbox exceptions doesn't restore their performance.

I have a set of batch files that call on the GNU command-line utility
GAWK to build my Web pages. GAWK in turn calls two DLLs.

Starting last week, I noticed that these files were taking much, much
longer to execute. Most used to run instantaneously and now took 10-
15 seconds. A few used to take the better part of a minute (because
they had to look up last-modified dates of many files) and now took
close to 10 minutes.

Today I figured out that the problem is Avast's sandbox (code
emulation). Listing those files as exceptions in the sandbox DOES NOT
WORK even after I completely disable the sandbox; they must also be
list as exclusions in the real-time scan. When I do this, my batch
files seem to run about as quickly as they did before.

I went Googling and found this URL:

http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=65446.0

with this text:

"My experience of the recent slowing down when launching applications
is that it is related to the new test for sandboxing. I noticed that
even if an executable is excluded from the sandboxing feature it is
still slowly launched ! The file must be excluded from the whole real
time protection to recover a fast launch."

This exactly matches my experience. I have the whole sandbox
disabled because it found false positives for Irfanview and for
command-line utilities I've been using for years, but Avast still
slows down the launch of this particular executable and its two DLLs.

I hope this is a blip and Avast will fix it soon. I would hate to
see Avast go the way of AVG, which became such a drag on my Windows
XP system that I eventually gave up on it. I know I have little
right to complain, since the product is free. :)
 
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T

The Seabat

<<SNIP>>

Wrong group, dude! This is Windows 7, not some anti-virus thread!
 
R

Roy Smith

<<SNIP>>

Wrong group, dude! This is Windows 7, not some anti-virus thread!
But on the contrary, it is a program that *RUNS* on Windows 7 and it can
affect it's performance. So it is very relevant to the topic of this
newsgroup.


--

Roy Smith
Windows 7 Professional
Thunderbird 3.1.9
Sunday, April 17, 2011 8:10:54 PM
 
T

The Seabat

The OP didn't even say that he was running Win7! And if that is your
criteria for this group, I could name hundreds of applications that
slow down Windows 7. Should I start posting them here? Once you open a
can of worms. . . . . . .
 
N

Nil

The OP didn't even say that he was running Win7! And if that is
your criteria for this group, I could name hundreds of
applications that slow down Windows 7. Should I start posting them
here? Once you open a can of worms. . . . . . .
The OP is a frequent poster here and it's clear that he uses Windows 7.
His post was interesting and relevant to my system, too.

You should pay attention to what's going on here before trying to
control the group's content, inserting your foot into your mouth in the
process.
 
S

Stan Brown

The OP didn't even say that he was running Win7! And if that is
your criteria for this group, I could name hundreds of applications
that slow down Windows 7. Should I start posting them here? Once
you open a can of worms. . . . . . .
Well, okay, I originally had a much longer article explaining the
steps I had gone through because I thought it was Windows updates
that were responsible for the slowdown. I edited out all the false
starts and posted only the actual problem and solution.

It might have been better if I had said "drags down system
performance in Windows 7", but it's a long subject line already. And
after all, this is a Windows 7 newsgroup so I thought that was
implied.
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

Well, okay, I originally had a much longer article explaining the
steps I had gone through because I thought it was Windows updates
that were responsible for the slowdown. I edited out all the false
starts and posted only the actual problem and solution.
It might have been better if I had said "drags down system
performance in Windows 7", but it's a long subject line already. And
after all, this is a Windows 7 newsgroup so I thought that was
implied.
Yes, it was implied :)
 
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V

VanguardLH

Stan said:
If you use Avast free and updated to program version 6, you may have
noticed some slowdowns, as I did. I'm posting this in case it may
help others.

Problem 1 is the false positives, which are annoying: Irfanview, as
well as the command-line utility GAWK (so far). Problem 2 is that
listing them as sandbox exceptions doesn't restore their performance.

I have a set of batch files that call on the GNU command-line utility
GAWK to build my Web pages. GAWK in turn calls two DLLs.

Starting last week, I noticed that these files were taking much, much
longer to execute. Most used to run instantaneously and now took 10-
15 seconds. A few used to take the better part of a minute (because
they had to look up last-modified dates of many files) and now took
close to 10 minutes.

Today I figured out that the problem is Avast's sandbox (code
emulation). Listing those files as exceptions in the sandbox DOES NOT
WORK even after I completely disable the sandbox; they must also be
list as exclusions in the real-time scan. When I do this, my batch
files seem to run about as quickly as they did before.

I went Googling and found this URL:

http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=65446.0

with this text:

"My experience of the recent slowing down when launching applications
is that it is related to the new test for sandboxing. I noticed that
even if an executable is excluded from the sandboxing feature it is
still slowly launched ! The file must be excluded from the whole real
time protection to recover a fast launch."

This exactly matches my experience. I have the whole sandbox
disabled because it found false positives for Irfanview and for
command-line utilities I've been using for years, but Avast still
slows down the launch of this particular executable and its two DLLs.

I hope this is a blip and Avast will fix it soon. I would hate to
see Avast go the way of AVG, which became such a drag on my Windows
XP system that I eventually gave up on it. I know I have little
right to complain, since the product is free. :)
Rather than disable the sandbox feature, have you tried disabling the
Behavior Shield? In prior versions, this was a passive function used to
report back to Avast some parameters they may incorporate in detecting
suspicious behavior. It didn't make any changes or otherwise throttle
the host. However, as of build 5.1.889, they turned on the Behavior
Shield and it now has user-configurable options. This new active shield
can cause many problems. It wasn't long before they then released v6 so
the problem might've been around since 5.1.889, you updated to v6, and
it was about that time or later you noticed the problem and possible
source of it.

When Avast6 screwed up something completely unrelated to security, as
noted at http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=72405.0, I dumped it and
will wait until Alwil decides to do better code reviews before releasing
a new version. I liked Avast but it seems to be getting too fragile and
overly interferring. Alas, that seems a problem with the other popular
security products, too.
 

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