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Re: Latest update causing excessive CPU and Floppy Drive activity

I’m not looking to talk as much anymore, as the conversation is continuously forced to take directions neither wanted or controlled by me: for who wish to read, everything is written now, so anyone can think and judge by himself only, as a true free mind.

I wish also to add that I never spoke about Hayton moderator, as also he looks to me the sole performing as he should.

Consequently, I stop here as I would not feed further the “verbose issue”.

Against this, I feel like I shall drop another couple of lines for all the community here.

Please be informed that I never told about any virus or malware attack here (unless anyone would consider so the McAfee Total Protection 2013).

I clearly reported what anyone can verify by himself using a third party software (Process Monitor made available by Microsoft).  It shown, very clearly, that the McAfee mcshield.exe program, is continuously performing at insane rating, a command “drive:\$Extend\Reparse:$R:$INDEX_ALLOCATION) in polling all of our 8 XP SP3 machines drives (including the croakin floppy): in Italy we call these evidences.

Here in Italy, indeed it not appears to be a malware attack.

This appears instead to be an action taken by one of the exe files inside the McAfee Total Protection 2013 Suite, over eight machines never touched in the last months (again, I repeat on these no new programs installed, no existing program un-installed, no unsafe surfing as used for job only), so where should be our “bad habits” causing such insane action. Where are the virus or the malware?
I told is mcshield.exe collapsing our systems here, not any malware (at least unless it will be demonstrated something different).

So please forget all the rest have been previously told and focus on this now.

I told very clearly that Microsoft Process Monitor shown to me that is McAfee mcshield.exe program performing such huge frequency commands over all drives, and not a malware.
Why mcshield.exe is doing this over pure and perfect XP SP3 machines.
Why this have been after the automatic overnight update (as reported by many others here)
Do it should be a XP compatible behavior or not?

In my opinion, this is not a malware action.


More probably this is a low level wrong interaction of mcshield.exe with XP SP3 set (otherwise I’m here prepared to learn and study in detail any alternative explanation will be submitted to me), consequently due the absence of solid and trustable explanation, I still will be forced  to consider such issue as well within the contract promise of a total compatibility with Windows XP, for which the Microsoft support is still running (the latest patch at least).

I’ve not seen any big malware here causing all of such problems.
We have not experienced loss of data, corruption of data, or any warn (as it should be in case of malware) from McAfee suite itself.

As explained, in my opinion such issue fall well within the contractual promise of complete XP compatibility quoted over the McAfee carton package.
How sound this now?

Leave the future problems of Microsoft missed support as the final free decision of anyone of us, and tell us instead why McAfee looks to be not compatible with XP SP3, as well explained and supported by previous evidences. This is the sole relevant argument that deserve to be discussed under such actual forum thread.

With all the best from Italy

Greetings to all here

Steve

mjminer
Level 7
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Message 112 of 151

Re: Latest update causing excessive CPU and Floppy Drive activity

OK, everyone, take a deep breath. I would still like to get two things from this discussion, and it's headed in the wrong direction.

First of all, conspiracy theories:

Two reasons for NOT:

1. Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.

And many variations I'll leave to you all to explore.

(And, "stupidity" here is a strong word, let's just change that to "a mistake".)

2. McAfee is deeply embedded in your system - if they wanted to do something malicious, they could, and in far less detectable ways. This is a bug, people. An error. Not possible you say? Read on...

Second, bug:

How many of you are computer programmers? I'm guessing not a lot, or you'd be a little more understanding (I'm sorta defending myself a bit here, even if I do have a zero-error-rule  🙂

OK, who here has followed a recipe to make Macaroni-and-Cheese?

Now, who here has _written_ a recipe?

A recipe is a program. It describes inputs (ingredients), a process (the steps), and produces a result (the dish).

There are just two differences between the recipe and the computer program:

1. Length - in general, computer programs are longer. They could be as short as one line, or longer than War and Peace (10s of thousands of lines is common, and millions is not unheard of).

2. Precision - minor errors in a recipe are simply ignored by people, while similar errors in a computer program can range from irritating to catastrophic.

But, we don't have to restrict ourselves to just recipes. We can look at any text - such as the above contributions. There are typos, grammar goofs, too-long entries, etc. All similar to the kinds of errors that programmers (who are people) also make. I chose a random paragraph (5 lines, 4 sentences) and found one clear error and one subtle error in one reading. And, it was the first paragraph I chose, so I didn't have to look far to find supporting evidence.  🙂   Two errors in four statements. Does that mean a 10000 line program has 5000 errors? Well, hopefully, not. Let's not get into all the ways by which errors are found, just recognize that we all create errors, and not all are found before we poke the submit/post/distribute button.

And, it wouldn't surprise me if most virus scanners have 100-200 thousand lines of program code in just the core application alone, whcih means that there are likely a significant number of errors in any system you choose.

In other words, it was a simple mistake. Yes, irritating. Catastrophic, even. But a mistake, just like _all_ of us make.

So, what are the two things I'd like to see?

First, I already described a number of areas that McAfee should look at, procedure wise. This is a significant and obvious error that should have been caught even before getting out to us customers, and should have been regressed back out in far less than the ninety days currently planned (I think it should have been retracted in no more than a week from first reports). It would be nice to know that McAfee is looking at their processes and trying to figure out how to prevent similar errors from being so problematic in the future (just imagine if, instead of affecting WinXP, it affected Win7 or Win8, or, what the heck, all of them).

Second, I would like an understanding of the actual problem. It doesn't have to be a white paper, but a few sentences on a modestly technical level that describe the cause of the error would be appropriate. It's my opinion that, if you can't _explain_ the problem coherently, you can't _solve_ the problem. So, if McAfee can't explain the problem, then the most they can do is put a band-aid on the symptoms (which wouldn't give me a lot of confidence; it's the difference between putting a band-aid on my knee vs. not tripping in the first place).

Now, It's a beautiful day, go play.

Reliable Contributor Hayton
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Message 113 of 151

Re: Latest update causing excessive CPU and Floppy Drive activity

@mjminer

Nice post. I agree with you about this : what happened was the result of a programming error of some sort. Most likely the error got through because it only affected XP, and when they tested the changes before release they weren't using a dedicated machine to test XP because they threw out all their old Dell single-core machines years ago and are at best running XP in some kind of simulation mode on their brand new ultra-fast machines with multi-core CPUs and hyperthreading (machines which don't have floppy drives). Whereas we here in the real world still sometimes have an old machine, floppy drive, single core CPU, no hyperthreading, with XP as its only operating system. Now, emulation of XP on a new fast machine is going to be good enough most of the time to pick up problems in the code. But not, as we have found out, all the time.

Doug Richards (our main contact on the technical side) has confirmed that when they went over the code they located a section which contained a bug of some kind. That bug could be omission - maybe someone deleted or commented out a section which was XP-specific, assuming that now Microsoft has declared XP dead it wouldn't be needed. Or maybe some table contained incorrect data. My hunch is that the Reparse points do have something to do with this - but McAfee are highly unlikely to publish any of the code : this is not open-source code, it's proprietary.

Edit - I don't know what happened here, I really don't. But making a programming mistake is all too easy, and I've made most of them in my time.


Second edit - "a few sentences on a modestly technical level that describe the cause of the error would be appropriate". I agree, wholeheartedly. But experience cautions against expecting too much in the way of explanation. Microsoft do this sort of thing better, I think.


Now that they've found the code, it will be changed and tested (properly this time, I hope, and thoroughly, on a dedicated old XP machine) before it gets released. As Doug says, they still have business customers running XP (in this country the National Health Service still has well over half a million XP installations, and the public sector here has been slow to upgrade; same in the Netherlands). If only some of those are with McAfee you can bet McAfee have heard about this problem through other channels; and they'll want to test the fix thoroughly before releasing it.

There is at least a workaround for the floppy-drive-access noise. I don't know whether McAfee can do anything yet about the performance degradation that's been reported

At any rate, there's nothing more that we, the moderators, can do. It's been reported by you to us, by us to McAfee; the cause is found, coding changes are being made and a fix will be released. The rest is firefighting, and we're not over-inclined to keep returning to this topic. At least I'm not, since I'm about to go into hospital and there are other things I need to do right now, apart from all of this.

So unless there's anything new to report from our end I think we may put this for now onto the back burner.

Message was edited by: Hayton on 12/04/14 18:33:40 IST
Reliable Contributor catdaddy
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Message 114 of 151

Re: Latest update causing excessive CPU and Floppy Drive activity

I am sorry to hear there is a need for you to be hospitilized Hayton. Please know that being in "Bad Health" myself, I have empathy for you.

Wishing you the very BEST,

Sending positive thoughts,

Sincerely,

Cliff
McAfee Volunteer

Re: Latest update causing excessive CPU and Floppy Drive activity

Sorry indeed in knowing you as going to the hospital Hayton.
I hope nothing serious, and in any case, I send over to you my sincere good luck.
I’m also sure that all here wishes to you to get back well very soon.
So forget this forum thread and take care of yourself.

I’m also sorry if the thread as been degenerating in some manner, but sincerely I do not believe to have to blame myself, as I already wrote “everything is written”, so everyone can read and judge what have been here.

We had indeed serious trouble for what have been called error, bug, programming error, or call it whatever else you wish, as also we still being having big operative troubles here, as we are loosing indeed money and opportunities.

I would indeed ask to your most moderate and fair person you have here, to sit behind my desk, and see and understand what happens here and how dramatically things are. Other users told you that they have been constricted to move to other systems, but such type of news are falling apparently without rumors here. Try to read some back message and see if I’m wrong.

We in Italy say that is easy to do war, when within soldiers will not be your son.
I hope this proverb clear to everyone.

We are so bad with our current troubles with such insane update that sincerely, I must confess, I several times driven back an inner very strong temptation to call my lawyers/attorney to see and check if there will be conditions to ask for damages, but fortunately, I didn’t done it yet.


Then I come hear and see very prudent and “verbose” approach without going inside the problem as I required since the earlier stage. I’ve been told to go to Technical Support: if this is correct, please tell me why you keep alive such Forum, if not for talking about users troubles.

I sincere wish no one to experience what we are suffering now, even if this as sure, would  make things very clear to anyone. We are in trouble. We are in difficulties also in making a stupid bid with Word, as system goes and come back when he wants. We have families behind us, living on earnings caused by our offices activities, so how are things now.
Do you understand and hopefully justify my pepper now?

I’m sure, no one would be so quit and calm as I’ve been, despite what type of hell we have experienced here, originated one day by the other, causing you to shift all scheduled activities, etc.

So indeed is better if we all here we stop to waste not required words, no one will longer attempt to do the policeman, as we need to wait if any good new will be indeed from Doug.

I hope to see you back and well very soon Hayton, so may be we can fight on another McAfee issue very soon.

Ciao and all the best from Italy
Sincere handshakes and hugs to Hayton
Steve

Reliable Contributor selvan
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Message 116 of 151

Re: Latest update causing excessive CPU and Floppy Drive activity

Hi Steve,

I have sent you a Private Message. Please respond..!

Regards

Reliable Contributor catdaddy
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Message 117 of 151

Re: Latest update causing excessive CPU and Floppy Drive activity

Hi mjminer,

           I want to commend you for your post in regards to the issues at hand. Although I experience no issues  being I am Running Windows 7 Service Pack 1. I can appreciate the frustration that has been "Thoroughly" expressed.

           I have been following all of the threads involved or pertaining to the issues with (XP).

And thus far, without insulting all other posts...yours was indeed a "Mature" summation of the entire Discussion. Thank you for your un-biased opinion. Again, as Hayton stipulated and all other concerned. The problem/issue at hand is indeed acknowledged.

Sincerely,

Cliff
McAfee Volunteer

Re: Latest update causing excessive CPU and Floppy Drive activity

I have the same floppy drive activity problem with my XP machine. I have been following this thread for over a month, waitng for a fix for a confirmed software bug in a previous McAfee update. I have had the vulnerability scanner disabled all this time in order to keep the drive from chattering. Is anyone at McAfee working on this? Can we get some attention here?

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Re: Latest update causing excessive CPU and Floppy Drive activity

I checked the timeline and we are still on track for a June release. If we get an early patch to distribute, this will be my first stop.

Regards,

mjminer
Level 7
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Message 120 of 151

Re: Latest update causing excessive CPU and Floppy Drive activity

Milstone -

It is seriously _not_ a good idea to be connected to the internet without an anti-virus product installed and active.

If your only symptom is the diskette chatter, then just disable the diskette in either the bios or the Windows Device Manager (per directions above). If you have additional symptoms, then try uninstalling mcafee and switch, at least temporarily, to something else.

Dougr -

Just out of curiosity - you mentioned doing a test run to be sure that you have addressed the diskette chatter (which, frankly, I could not care less about - I unplugged data and power cables from the diskette drive, stops that noise completely).

Have you done a test run to confirm that the performance issue is also addressed?

(Performance would be the only issue I care about. Unplugging the diskette drive did not fix this problem.

If this is a separate problem that you will only start to work on in June, well, you can see, I hope, that that would be a little disappointing.)

Peace.

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