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You should always check the Application Event log if you notice McShield service is not in the correct state.
This could be a Virus like Sality...
I get this from time to time as well. The only thing that I can tie it to is the DAT updates did not take correctly.
What i do, is stop the McShield service. Then I will do a manual update. Once that is finished, then try and start the service.
It should start and stay that way.
Hope that helps