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RE: SA causing low memory error w/ OE (??)

Peter and others

I am another of those - like lorac30 and mlempert - who has been suffering what is being described as "The OE Problem" since about early September, and like them I have been reading and posting in the Microsoft Communities newsgroups in the hope of finding explanation and solution. I've just followed them over to this McAfee forum thread and thought I'd add to it in the hope that this might help in the search for the cause of the problem. I hope incidentally that I won't qualify as a screamer!

I have a laptop running XP Pro fully up to date (inc SP2) and use Internet Explorer 6 and Outlook Express 6. I have AVG Free antivirus, ZoneAlarm Firewall, and McAfee (free version) SiteAdvisor. And I have ample free space on memory and on disk (I don't run many resource hungry apps, no image editing, gaming or streaming..)

This all worked well until a couple of months ago, when during sessions of reading/sorting emails, The OE Problem appeared: a popup window saying "Message could not be displayed....etc", together with an inability to delete messages and, on opening other OE mail folders, some (not all) would appear to have nothing in them. Shutting down and reopening OE returns things to normal... until the same problem recurs, an hour or two, or maybe a few minutes, later.

Exploration of the problem in the Microsoft forum initially focused on (a) good housekeeping of OE folders to keep them small (mine have never been bulky); and (b) disabling email scanning by AntiVirus programmes. Neither action has prevented or cured the problem.

The only really solid clue so far - as described by various people in the long thread in the MS group, and mentioned here by mlempert - is that The OE Problem occurs when the "handle count" in Task Manager hits a ceiling. This isn't something most people understand, or monitor, as a matter of normal practice.

But the circumstantial evidence is that if you read emails in (normal) HTML format, AND have Site Advisor installed (whether active or disabled, and whether as standalone or part of a McAfee Security suite), the handle count increases rapidly as you look at, or scroll through, emails in OE. And the problem seems to have arisen only since (and exactly at the time of) the last Site Advisor update in early September. It remains unclear whether any program other than Site Advisor produces the same effect.

This prompted me to observe (as I posted in the MS group) that the key question is therefore: what does the "handles" read-out in Task Manager actually signify? And what process(es) are operating which cause the figure to rise?

This matters because the evidence shows that

- "The OE Problem" kicks in when OE hits the 'handles limit' (on my system, that seems to be at 29000);

- if you use OE infrequently, or have few or text only emails, or switch off OE after each session, you may rarely or never reach that handles-limit, and so don't experience The OE Problem;

- and if you have OE in "read all messages in plain text" mode (with or without Site Advisor), you are also unlikely to hit the limit and trigger the problem. So shifting to "plain text" appears to avoid the problem, but isn't in fact a solution;

- BUT if you have Site Advisor (free edition or Plus) AND have OE in normal (HTML messages) mode, then the handles count escalates a lot more quickly and you get The OE Problem. Uninstalling Site Advisor avoids (or cures?) the problem, because without SA the handles-count does not rise significantly and doesn't hit the ceiling;

THUS (deduction from the evidence) whatever makes the handles-count increase more quickly than in the past is likely to be A cause, if not THE cause, of The OE Problem. And the tests which many of us have done show that Site Advisor does indeed cause the handles-count to rise. Of course what we cannot now check is what the pattern was before September (did the count rise in the same way under the previous version of Site Advisor?)

Now, I don't know exactly what Site Advisor does with OE messages. But the circumstantial evidence seems compelling that it is doing something (since early Sept) which increases the handles-count.

Removing Site Advisor, or reading in plain text, are in effect two different ways of ensuring that the handle-count stays low. But I haven't seen any explanation yet of what the handle-count actually signifies. Like mlempert, I feel that once that question is answered, it should be easier to identify what applications or processes (whether SA and/or others) are to blame.

So the obvious area for McAfee's technical people to look at is whether, and if so how, Site Advisor may be causing the "handle-count" to increase so steeply when OE is being used; and whether something new in the early September SA update is specifically responsible.

A lot of people - judging from the number of posts in Microsoft, AumHa, and other forums, and now here - still value Site Advisor and are reluctant to uninstall it. But if it interferes with OE, we may have little choice. So we are hoping very much that McAfee will investigate this urgently and thoroughly...

We wait with bated breath!

br1anstorm
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Message 12 of 38

RE: SA causing low memory error w/ OE (??)

Passed this on, thanks.

RE: SA causing low memory error w/ OE (??)

Peter

A quick post-script to my previous post, prompted by re-reading one of Carol's earlier ones. I should note that I am not, and never have been, opted-in to the "PIP" element of Site Advisor (I've just checked).

My initial reaction is therefore that it was not the change to this, in the early September update of SA, which has caused the problem? What else was modified in that update, I wonder?

br1anstorm
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Message 14 of 38

RE: SA causing low memory error w/ OE (??)

Your guess is as good as mine on that one.:cool:

RE: SA causing low memory error w/ OE (??)

@Br1anstorm..

Certainly not a screamer.. and thank you for taking the time to post. A quick postscript to your postscript. :rolleyes: I should note, I wanted to edit out what I posted about the "PIP" program but failed to do so at the time. In the scheme of things, I don't feel it's of much significance.

@Peter..

I've been reading through some prior threads throughout the forum since the first week in September. When I first posted, I hadn't taken into consideration, that a lot of user's have SiteAdvisor bundled with whichever version they're using. Is it possible some of the "email complaints" could be related to SiteAdvisor?? Just a thought.

Carol
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Message 16 of 38

RE: SA causing low memory error w/ OE (??)

It could be, but we'll have to wait until someone comes up with some ideas.

RE: SA causing low memory error w/ OE (??)

Peter..

FWIW..

It took me a long time to get there but..... you can now add me to the list of those who have uninstalled SiteAdvisor. OE is running problem-free thus far. I suspect it will continue to. Generally I would have waited a bit longer after uninstalling it, but I've run some tests and believe it to be the/a problem. If I find it not to be the case, you'll be the first to know.

If McAfee cares .... I was using the latest free standalone running on a fully patched Windows XP - SP2. I can't say I didn't try. Now it's in McAfee's hands if they care to address the issue.

Carol
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Message 18 of 38

RE: SA causing low memory error w/ OE (??)

Noted.

RE: SA causing low memory error w/ OE (??)

So, what's their position on this ?
Reliable Contributor exbrit
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Message 20 of 38

RE: SA causing low memory error w/ OE (??)

Well, they said from what was written here, that it appeared to them that it only MAY be linked to SA and left it at that....I'm pretty teed off with that answer.
I'll chase it up more.