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Two questions here. First, Security Scan Plus : uninstall it. It's basically a marketing come-on for someone who doesn't have McAfee. It used to be harmless enough (ultra-fast memory scan, check browser cache and history, not much else, and then vanish) but some time back it was modified to put hooks into your browsers and - from what I could see - stay resident as a hidden running service. Well, that's sneaky. I used to run it once in a while just as an alternative to a Quick Scan, but I dropped it and I advise you to do the same. Your browsers might run a bit faster, maybe.
Second question : does McAfee slow down your system? Two answers here. If you've got an ultra-modern machine with huge amounts of memory and disk space (and fast disk access speeds) and a multi-core hyperthreaded top-range CPU, McAfee will run like a breeze. That, I assume, is what all the developers have got. They never see any performance issues and are amazed when people complain. If, like many (me too, although I also have one of the newer machines) you have an older machine with limited memory, slow disk access speeds, and a single-core Pentium, your system will creak and groan when McAfee goes into one of its periodic bouts of heavy-duty processing. In particular, the update manager and installation will grab about a gigabyte of memory, which means a massive amount of memory swapping to and from disk (which is why access speeds are important).
Yes, McAfee is a heavyweight. It's designed for modern machines. It doesn't run well on older machines. That's the uncomfortable truth, even though the Marketing Division (hello, Sirius Cybernetics) insists McAfee will run on anything with 512Mb of memory and a few gigabytes of disk space. Well, it probably will, and you even might find it acceptable if you're the kind of person who likes watching paint dry.
Don't even ask about using a dial-up connection.
That's probably more information than you were looking for. The other thing : what's slowing down your system? Could be anything. Try the usual - run disk cleanup, do a chkdsk, defrag. Look for all the programs and services which start up when you log on, and eliminate anything that's not strictly required. Look in the Scheduled Tasks for programs that are scheduled to run at certain times, and adjust the frequency and how long they're allowed to run before being terminated. If McAfee is slowing you down, try tweaking the settings in Security Center. And if you have any programs installed that conflict with McAfee, consider uninstalling them. There's a list somewhere but I've forgotten where it is - probably in one of the FAQ documents, which are hidden in some dark corner of the website.
Wow! Most helpful! Thank you. Not too much info at all.
This computer used to be lightning fast, and in fact the other devices (two Macs and two iPads) on my network still are. But I do only have 2 GB of Ram on this computer, and it is old by now (a few years). Vista Home Premium, 32 bit. AMD dual core 3600+. 1.9 Ghz. 151 free space of 288GB HD...I suppose i should have mentioned this earlier!
I'll uninstall SSP.
I have run disk cleanup, and tried to run chkdsk but for some reason I cannot log on as admin. to do it. I have to do more research to figure that one out.
Thank you so much, Hayton. You've provided good direction. MUCH appreciated!
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the obvious things. Slowdowns can mean you've malware on your system, so do a Full Scan and then run one or two other programs like Malwarebytes Free or Microsoft Safety Scanner (it never hurts to have a second or even a third opinion). And if the slowness is noticeable when you're using a browser go in and look for all the extensions and add-ons and plug-ins that accumulate there. Sometimes you can find something there that's installed itself without asking you first. Firefox seems prone to that, for some reason.
If the slowdown gets really bad, then what a lot of people advise is to back up all your data (and I do mean ALL your data) then format the disk and start afresh, reloading the OS (and all its updates and service packs and patches, of course) and then downloading all the stuff you need every day like browsers and Flash and McAfee and games and utilities and ....
I don't think I'd bother unless it was a real emergency. Some people swear by it, but they're just masochists with too much spare time on their hands. Your PC would run really fast though, at least for a while.
Edit - I found the list of incompatible third-party programs. It's at