mtjmohr

Memory Usage - Emsisoft Protection Service

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Emsisoft Protection Service as a Windows service under Microsoft Windows 10 Home as Professional on an irregular basis raises the CPU use to between 15 and 20 % (usually around 17.5 %) with a relatively low use of RAM between 150 and 350 MB; while the RAM used is completely irrelevant to me, the CPU use is critical to me: (1) the usual quickness of calling and running other programs and processes gets slightly delayed and (2) the Emsisoft Protection Service does its work for hours on hours without pause so that the ventilator is on high rotation all the time.

If, on the other hand, the Emsisoft Protection Service "under normal conditions" runs without this "high workload", why is it that it goes into this heavy working mode all of a sudden?

I can then only kill the task (using Microsoft TaskManager, I have to do the killing twice - no reaction after the first time, after the second time the CPU usage goes up to 100 % for an undefined time (sometimes seconds, sometimes more than 5 min) before the process itself is not even killed from refrains from "overusing" the CPU to a normal state.

What is the problem here, and which information do you further need for answering my question?

I have read all contributions about this topic in this support forum, but the suggested change of switch regarding the "optimization of memory use" does not bring by any solution to this problem.

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21 hours ago, mtjmohr said:

If, on the other hand, the Emsisoft Protection Service "under normal conditions" runs without this "high workload", why is it that it goes into this heavy working mode all of a sudden?

There are two possible reasons:

  1. A scheduled scan is running.
  2. Files in the quarantine are being re-scanned after updates have been installed.

Considering that this lasts for hours, a scheduled scan is the most likely culprit. You can check your scheduled scans by opening Emsisoft Anti-Malware, clicking on the Scan & Clean tile, and selecting Scheduled Scans from the menu at the top.

 

21 hours ago, mtjmohr said:

I can then only kill the task (using Microsoft TaskManager, I have to do the killing twice - no reaction after the first time, after the second time the CPU usage goes up to 100 % for an undefined time (sometimes seconds, sometimes more than 5 min) before the process itself is not even killed from refrains from "overusing" the CPU to a normal state.

The self-protection in Emsisoft Anti-Malware prevents its processes from being terminated by the Task Manager. You can turn this feature off in the advanced settings to allow terminating a2service.exe (Emsisoft Protection Service) via the Task Manager.

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Neither is the case. There is a scheduled scan, but it has never been activated. Additionally it was set to 12 AM, and my admittedly irregular problems usually start much later. They do not seldom start in the context of few files downloaded over Firefox, but I do not see any regularity behind that as the scanning process sometimes starts when I have not touched the laptop for hours.

There are 9 files in the quarantine which have already been re-scanned several times without any problem.

Any other ideas? What else could trigger such a sudden scanning process with such a high CPU load?

Thank you for the tip regarding the advanced settings you mentioned.

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@mtjmohr  - which version of EAM are you using?    Do you (in Settings - Updates - Update feed) have "Stable" selected?

You mentioned both WIn 10 Home and Professional in your first post.  Which is it?

What model of CPU does your machine have?   If you don't know, Control Panel - System   will show you.   I'm wondering if your CPU figure of ~17.5% represents one core (on a six core machine) running flat out.  

When the EAM service is busy, if you sort the task manager display by its CPU column, is anything else very busy?

 

@leo333D - what is your screenshot supposed to be telling us?    Do you also have a performance problem?

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Hello, Jeremy,

regarding the version see the attached file. The update feed is stable - see the next attached file.

It is both versions of Windows 10 (always latest version, not yet 2004), but Home seems to be more affected.

Regarding CPU please see the next attachment (sorry, all in German). As far as I remember the are 8 cores.

No, nothing is comparably busy. Firefox may occupy 30 % of RAM, but its CPU usage is way below 10 % (usually around 2.5 %).

I wrote: "I can then only kill the task (using Microsoft TaskManager, I have to do the killing twice - no reaction after the first time, after the second time the CPU usage goes up to 100 % for an undefined time (sometimes seconds, sometimes more than 5 min) before the process itself is not even killed from refrains from "overusing" the CPU to a normal state.)" - I will try and take a screenshot next time I see this phenomenon.

Thanks for engaging in this.

13-08-_2020_14-59-29.jpg
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13-08-_2020_15-01-14.jpg
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13-08-_2020_15-04-03.jpg
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As far as I can tell your cpu is 6 core (but that should mean it can run 12 threads at a time, unless that's been disabled somehow).   

You mentioned quarantined files; are any of these very large, or zipped (or otherwise compressed/archived)?      Unless a re-scan was having to unpack enormous archives, I can't see why a re-scan would take long at all.   @GT500 - if there ARE long-running (or even short-running) re-scans going on, would there be scan report files describing them, in C:\ProgramData\Emsisoft\Reports ?   And, if there's scheduled scanning going on (even though the OP thinks not), they too would generate reports wouldn't they?

Do you have any other security software installed?

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Hello, Jeremy,

the core thing has not been hampered with, they run full speed.

As for the quarantined files, please see the attachment. These are small files, and actually only the two GitHub directory-based files are real malware specimen, the rest are PUPs or actually false positives such as the R version 3.6.2.

Regarding any other security software: Yes, Kaspersky Total Internet Security 2020. I know what is constantly being said about two security projects possibly interfering with each other when installed and run at the same time. I have been checking this for more than 10 years in various combinations among which there are Bitdefender, Malwarebytes, Zemana, HitMan Pro etc. etc. - I never have had any incident regarding two of such products active at the same time.

Emsisoft Protection Service exposes the described behaviour also after I had uninstalled Kaspersky TIS 2020.

13-08-_2020_20-04-32.jpg
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10 hours ago, mtjmohr said:

Regarding any other security software: Yes, Kaspersky Total Internet Security 2020. I know what is constantly being said about two security projects possibly interfering with each other when installed and run at the same time. I have been checking this for more than 10 years in various combinations among which there are Bitdefender, Malwarebytes, Zemana, HitMan Pro etc. etc. - I never have had any incident regarding two of such products active at the same time.

A compatibility issue with another Anti-Virus is the only other thing I am aware of that is known to cause the issue you are experiencing. My advise would be to exclude the folders that Kaspersky Total Security's files are in both under scanning exclusions and monitoring exclusions in Emsisoft Anti-Malware, and then also exclude Emsisoft Anti-Malware's folder (usually C:\Program Files\Emsisoft Anti-Malware) in Kaspersky Total Security.

Here are instructions on excluding a folder from scanning and monitoring:

  1. Open Emsisoft Anti-Malware.
  2. Click on the little gear icon on the left side of the Emsisoft Anti-Malware window (roughly in the middle).
  3. Click on Exclusions in the menu at the top.
  4. The exclusions section contains two lists (Exclude from scanning and Exclude from monitoring). Look for the box right under where it says Exclude from scanning.
  5. Click on the Add folder button right below the Exclude from scanning box.
  6. Navigate to the folder you would like to exclude, click on it once to select it, and then click OK.
  7. Scroll down to the box under Exclude from monitoring and click the Add folder button right below that box.
  8. Navigate to the folder you would like to exclude, click on it once to select it, and then click OK.
  9. Close Emsisoft Anti-Malware.

Note: If a program is still running when you exclude its folder, then you will need to close it and reopen it for the exclusion to fully take effect. In some cases you will need to restart your computer before this will happen.

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Hello, GT500,

14 days - right from the day I started this thread here - no problems. No changes in the configuration of Emsisoft a2service.exe so far to keep the picture authentic.

5 min ago out of the blue, without my even doing anything at the laptop the following picture:

24-08-_2020_23-50-27.png
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6 hours ago, mtjmohr said:

5 min ago out of the blue, without my even doing anything at the laptop the following picture

How long did the high CPU usage last?

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The last times I complained about this, it never stopped: In one instance over 4 hours (I let it run too see what becomes of it).

BTW: Trying to end the task conservatively by using the Microsoft Windows 10 Home Task Manager results in a load of up to 99.7 % CPU - sometimes this spectaculum is over after a few min, sometimes, as yesterday, it does not stop doing so either and I have to manually reboot (I often cannot wait for this process to end since it completely obliterates everything ... and again BTW: Otherwise, I do not have the slightest issue with any other process behaving similarly ...) - I cannot even take a screenshot of this any more (the system is somewhat active in the background, I see that from changing mouse positions or windows during that phase, so it is not frozen).

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If you click on the 'Details' tab at the top of the Task Manager it should show which part of EAM is using the CPU (a2guard, a2service or a2start)

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19 hours ago, mtjmohr said:

Trying to end the task conservatively by using the Microsoft Windows 10 Home Task Manager results in a load of up to 99.7 % CPU

The self-protection in Emsisoft Anti-Malware won't allow it's processes to be terminated. You'd need to disable the self-protection to allow termination of its processes.

 

19 hours ago, mtjmohr said:

The last times I complained about this, it never stopped: In one instance over 4 hours (I let it run too see what becomes of it).

Let's try getting a log from FRST, and see if it shows anything relevant. You can find instructions for downloading and running FRST at the following link:
https://help.emsisoft.com/en/1738/how-do-i-run-a-scan-with-frst/

Note: When FRST checks the Windows Firewall settings, Emsisoft Anti-Malware's Behavior Blocker will quarantine it automatically. This can be avoided by clicking "Wait, I think this is safe" in the notification that is displayed while FRST is scanning.

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Before this above-displayed Emsisoft Protection Service starting to use that much CPU percentage, I downloaded three MP4 files each of which had several GB size. Meanwhile, though, I have moved these to a different location. But I do not see any affiliation between the downloading process or the files being saved onto my harddisk and the sudden accentuation of CPU percentage by the Emsisoft Protection Service.

Edited by mtjmohr
Inserting a bit more of information

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During the execution of the above-mentioned Emsisoft Protection Service, I have changed the security switch regarding disabling the self-protection to allow termination of its processes. I could terminate it through the Windows 10 Home TaskManager, whatever "terminate" here means (even if I have other means to terminate processes, I wanted to show you the constant use and consequences of WIndows TaskManager), but the process per se is not "killed" but has simply and immediately stopped using that much CPU percentage, cf. the screenshot:

31-08-_2020_23-11-50.png
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Edited by mtjmohr
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I don't think EAM scans the colossal amount of data inside MP4 files, anyway.

In the screenshot above, you've got arrows pointing at what look like "Working Set" columns.  The 218 MB one is unremarkable but the other - around 1.1 GB is much more than I'd expect, unless (I suppose) a2service is scanning something big.   Here a2service's WS is currently 420 MB.

The fact that CPU is 17% means it's clearly doing something...

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If you terminated  a2service,  maybe a replacement one started immediately.  If you look on the Details tab, does the a2service that's running now have the pid (process-id) value  2932  that the one in the earlier Details display had (if so it's the same one) or something else (in which case it is new)?

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Is there any way you suggest I could make the Emsisoft Protection Service show what actually is does during this period of high CPU percentage?

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Here (on WIn 8.1) I used Admin Tools - Services, with admin authority, to look at some of the properties of the a2service service.  Here, it says than in any one-day period, a2service will restart twice if stopped (or if it crashes).  After that it might not automatically restart - I'm not sure.    It suggests that terminating it deliberately might only work once or twice before you'd have to reboot.

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Yes, a reboot would anyway what I would do next for other (regular) reasons such as the installation of new software.

I am meanwhile taking a look at the "log.db3" SQlite file and work my way through what is inserted and saved there.

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What's it doing?   - Not that would be meaningful to you or me.    If in the Details tab, you sort the display by CPU use, what else is using more than 1% ?

Or, if you sort on any of the I/O columns do they show any process reading or writing lots of data?

Emsisoft support might suggest that you run with debug logging on, so that next time this happens those logs might show what's so busy.  But last time I had a problem with one of the Emsi processes using lots of cpu time, debug logs didn't help.  (They probably showed normal EAM processes happening, without showing why they were happening so much more than usual).

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I did not find anything really interesting in the log.db3 file, especially no indication at what Emsisoft Protection Service had been doing before I "terminated" the process ...

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The log.db3 file is what holds the "Forensic" log, I think.  I don't think that's likely to help, after all you can look at that more easily via the GUI.

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OK, but (the new) a2service is behaving.  I see its WS figures are back to 242 MB (in use now) and 420 MB (max), both of which are more or less what I'd expect.

Is there nothing at all in the Forensic log, when a2service gets busy?   Anything described just before it starts to get busy?  If you click on log entries they show more information.

Are there any indications of scans happenning at these busy times, from the files in: C:\ProgramData\Emsisoft\Reports

Could any of your software have been installing updates?  That might account for sudden scans occurring even if you don't know about it.  And I know that after Windows Updates install, Windows will sometimes rebuild "assemblies" in the background making machines unresponsive for hours or days (for people with old slow machines) until that's done.  I don't know if EAM would be busy at the same time.

Do you still have Kaspersky excluded from EAM's monitoring, and EAM excluded from Kaspersky's monitoring?

There are system monitoring tools that can tell an expert more about what's going on in a system ... eg: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/procmon  but tools like this generate huge amounts of information - as that page says: "millions of captured events and gigabytes of log data", and it's useless unless you know what the normal sorts of activities are.  

 

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True, the new service IS behaving as the old one has done until the point t(zero) ...

No, I do not see anything striking my mind as far as any log files or reports are concerned.

There are no "spontaneous" new software installations, updates or upgrades - I have set all these issues, although automatized, on hold until I approve. This mean that an Update or upgrade might even be downloaded, but it cannot be executed until I approve of this process manually. This is even the case with updates / upgrades from Microsoft Windows.

I have never so far experienced your assemblies issue, this was never a problem with me.

I have as far as now NOT excluded either anti-Malware products from each other's surveillance and especially the quarantines - both carry about 15 items each over a period of 15 months. I know this was an option for me to do, but first I wanted to reproduce the phenomenon itself.

ProcMon is my great friend that I like to rely on, but using ProcMon also means that you better know what you are looking for because otherwise the searching process can take you a very long time. I do have considerable experience with it since it is an extremely cool tool to get an inkling why a process simply does not work regularly, and I do use it for forensic purposes. I will narrow my own search within that context by using it until the next time.

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Oh, sorry, I have given you improper information: The Kaspersky Total Internet Protection 2020 Quarantine is excluded from scanning (but not the other way round):

01-09-_2020_00-27-22.png
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I do see, though, that there is Drive F:. This is an external 4 TB drive which I excluded here as I am using it constantly for backup processes (new and incremental every day, one complete backup once a week, and one image creation job of C:\ also once a week).

Could that actually play a role although I have excluded the entire drive here?

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Further not really interesting i<details are delivered by the Microsoft Windows Event Log Detail when looking for "Emsisoft" under "Windows Protocols" -> "System"

01-09-_2020_00-47-05.png
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The translation into English goes like this:

"The service 'Emsisoft Protection Service' had to be terminated unexpectedly. This has happened already 1 times. The following correctional measures are being carried out within 0 milliseconds: Restart of the Service."

This is the only evidence that there had been "something".

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The assemblies thing happens (as far as I know) whenever there's a .NET update.  I think each of the existing assemblies on a machine gets recreated with the uptodate versions of its parts.  Anyone with a modern, fast, multicore machine is quite likely to be unaware of the rebuilds, especially if they don't have Task Manager (or in my case the much more detailed "Process Hacker") running AND look at it often.  I think I read about this on one of those "my machine's slow after every Windows Update - why?" threads on some website somewhere.

If you're used to using ProcMon then it might be worth logging what files a busy a2service is reading/writing.  But if eg it's just (say) busy grabbing and releasing memory over and over again, then there'll be no clue why.

If the problem IS interaction with Kaspersky, then I would think only EAM debug logging would help to show that.  And even then, who knows what the trigger is?

 

Drive F: exclusion is probably not a problem.  But bear in mind that the whole backup & image creation processes have to read file contents (from elsewhere) too.   

 

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Maybe exclusions (from monitoring) for the programs that you use to make backups and images would be worth a try.

What do you have File Guard's "scan level" set to?

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In your August 24 screenshot, right under the Emsisoft thing using 30% cpu there's something called   "Dateisversionsverlauf..."  which Google translate tells me means "Fle Version History". 

What is that doing?   Is it a backup or file/search indexer?

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Yes, it's Windows File History. I have steered it toward saving data into the external Drive F: (which has still 135 GB space from 4 TB).

It is, however, very rare that I see it at all, and I have never seen it before in this combination of appearance - nevertheless, I will take a look at it with ProcMon, too. But no longer tonight. Time to hit the sack.

Good night and thank you for your efforts.

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7 hours ago, mtjmohr said:

During the execution of the above-mentioned Emsisoft Protection Service, I have changed the security switch regarding disabling the self-protection to allow termination of its processes. I could terminate it through the Windows 10 Home TaskManager, whatever "terminate" here means (even if I have other means to terminate processes, I wanted to show you the constant use and consequences of WIndows TaskManager), but the process per se is not "killed" but has simply and immediately stopped using that much CPU percentage...

The Emsisoft Protection Service should be restarted immediately if it terminates. The only exception to this is if you stop the service via services.msc, however it would be necessary to shut down protection via the Emsisoft Anti-Malware System Tray icon before this would be possible.

 

6 hours ago, mtjmohr said:

I have as far as now NOT excluded either anti-Malware products from each other's surveillance and especially the quarantines - both carry about 15 items each over a period of 15 months. I know this was an option for me to do, but first I wanted to reproduce the phenomenon itself.

Emsisoft Anti-Malware's quarantine files are encrypted, and nothing can scan their contents.

BTW: Anti-Virus software will open hooks to every running process on the system. In order to do this they need to inject code into every other running process. This is one of the main reasons why running more than one Anti-Virus software at the same time is bad, and why Anti-Virus software can conflict with each other, as they are also trying to do this to each others' processes. Exclusions prevent them from doing this, which is why excluding one Anti-Virus software in the other and vice versa can help prevent compatibility issues, so I highly recommend doing this as soon as possible.

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1 hour ago, GT500 said:

The Emsisoft Protection Service should be restarted immediately if it terminates. The only exception to this is if you stop the service via services.msc, however it would be necessary to shut down protection via the Emsisoft Anti-Malware System Tray icon before this would be possible.

Well, the restarting process happened automatically after the first active termination of Emsisoft Protection Service via Windows TaskManager. I actually experienced the same behaviour as described before tonight another time, and it took me three of these terminations before the process was terminated for good (maybe I was too impatient and clicking once would have been enough) and I then, the process had been killed from the list displayed by Windows TaskManager, had to restart Emsisoft Protection Service manually which resulted in the same high CPU percentage and required to be terminated again which resulted in another process killing. After the second manual restart of Emsisoft Protection Service it "behaved" quite normal again until now.

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1 hour ago, GT500 said:

Emsisoft Anti-Malware's quarantine files are encrypted, and nothing can scan their contents.

Yes, I have seen that, the same holds true for most other products I have ever been using so far (Kaspersky, Bitdefender, etc.).

I have physical access to these "repositories" and can at least view what has been identified as "material to be quarantined" for both Emsisoft and Kaspersky.

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1 hour ago, GT500 said:

BTW: Anti-Virus software will open hooks to every running process on the system. In order to do this they need to inject code into every other running process. This is one of the main reasons why running more than one Anti-Virus software at the same time is bad, and why Anti-Virus software can conflict with each other, as they are also trying to do this to each others' processes. Exclusions prevent them from doing this, which is why excluding one Anti-Virus software in the other and vice versa can help prevent compatibility issues, so I highly recommend doing this as soon as possible.

What do you *exactly* mean by "excluding"? You mean the directories where an anti-malware product stores its files (Program Files, ProgramData, %AppData%\Local, %AppData%\Roaming, etc.)?

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Okay, the complexity seems to be enormous. I admit I do know about the potential of mutual affections of anti-malware products, but this is not the overwhelming rule to my experience.

But: Why then does a product as Emsisoft or - vice versa - Kaspersky then at the moment of installation not tell me "Oh, Mr Mohr, you stupid git, you have Kaspersky / Emsisoft installed, we strongly encourage you not to install two such products at once."? Obviously, if this problem really results from an incompatibility of two major anti-malware products installed at the same time, this issue has been known for more than a decade. So the respective industry does not do anything for the easy detection and potential elimination of this issue?

Just to give you another example: I had been using Bitdefender, always the maximum product for private users, for years and simultaneously the Antimalwarebytes product: Never for one moment was there a disturbance, my system had always been clean (to my knowledge), and system issues had been caused to 95 % because I had been hampering with some Windows system resource by trying to change a low-level change of some driver.

Then, for reasons of better overall results and better individual configurability, I have changed to using Kaspersky TIS, always the latest version. And Antimalwarebytes. No issue.

Now, I am using Kaspersky and Emsisoft, together, and apart from this issue with the Emsisoft Protection Service I do not see any interactions which might make me uninstall Emsisoft again.

You see, I want to fine-tune a system, and one protection product has always shown not to be sufficient to keep a system clean, at least in my case. I do understand that this might not be in the special combination of Kaspersky and Emsisoft, but the principle remains abundantly clear to me that one product is not really doing everything I want it or expect it to. In this case, I do see that Kaspersky is even the stronger product, but that is my personal conviction.

And, furthermore, although it is well possible to use any product developer's forum for asking nice people like you for help, I am missing the "big scheme" of direct interaction with the product developers and, additionally, that issues like this one might already have been seen multiple times and a solution proclaimed in the sense of a small FAQ like "Kaspersky and Emsisoft and vice versa do not match as a combined installation because of ... and due to ...". THAT would be really helpful in my opinion.

And, finally, I do not see any such "behaviour" from Kaspersky's side, there are no CPU percentage rises or unending scans. Not a single time while Emsisoft has been installed and running.

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4 hours ago, mtjmohr said:

What do you *exactly* mean by "excluding"? You mean the directories where an anti-malware product stores its files (Program Files, ProgramData, %AppData%\Local, %AppData%\Roaming, etc.)?

In EAM, you'd exclude from monitoring the .exe's that are part of Kaspersky's product.  In Kaspersky, you'd exclude EAM's .exe's.

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DLLs aren't executed in their own right, but get loaded by exe's.  It's the exe which matters, so that (I suppose) EAM doesn't inject anything into that process.  Whether such a process loads specific DLLs will be irrelevant, surely.

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4 hours ago, JeremyNicoll said:

In EAM, you'd exclude from monitoring the .exe's that are part of Kaspersky's product.  In Kaspersky, you'd exclude EAM's .exe's.

I have mutually excluded all the directories now. This is something both should be able to handle without excluding every single exe file.

Here is the screenshot for Emsisoft:

01-09-_2020_17-36-53.png
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And here is the screenshot for Kaspersky:

01-09-_2020_17-39-39.png
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I will keep you in the loop as to what will happen. Both configurations are installed and exported.

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Running Kaspersky and Emsisoft at the same time is just asking for problems.

Malwarebytes is designed to run along side an anti-virus, most anti-virus programs are not designed to do this.

Running both probably weakens your protection as both programs will be fighting each other as to who does what.

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54 minutes ago, digmor crusher said:

Running both probably weakens your protection as both programs will be fighting each other as to who does what.

I do acknowledge that, but none of this industry's product developers and distributors do acknowledge that openly.

This is the point here for me.

You see, I do not care which mix of products I handle, I just want to understand what the issue is. With a technical description of the reasons for it.

I cannot as proprietor of my own product go along time and never mind other products or take a look how they interact and possibly avoid that for the so-called user-friendliness or - more modern - positive "UX".

This what we are talking about here is not a most recent issue. It goes on for more than one decade now. Time enough for the industry to acknowledge that there are other parties which do something similar.

Other industries have already understood that for a long time. Take the car industry. Mounting two different sets of tyres diagonally or even one tyre only with another material layout than the other three is contained as "dangerous" or "not advisable" in ever car owner's manual. Why is that not possible here?

Answer my question to yourself and you see why I am complaining. Not that I have not found the best help and support here in this forum. But the conundrum is a principal one: The industry *knows* and *is aware of* that there are such gits and nincompoops as I am who do install several products together, so why not try that in their own labs and say "no, no, no, no, no, don't do that!"?

At the moment, with the changes performed, no disturbance as of now, at least ...

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