[solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

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[solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby Yasashii » 2014-8-29 @ 03:10

I've been using MSE for years now. I love it. It's beautifully simple, lightweight, and it doesn't annoy me (which is more than can be said about Avast, for example). The thing is, For quite a while now it's been seriously slowing down the loading of icons and thumbnails.

To specify what I'm on about: I have a folder on the desktop in which I put all the shortcuts to the software I install. When I go to that folder for the first time after the computer starts, I need to wait quite a while before all the icons are loaded up. That's the case for every folder in which there are lots of icons.

And yes, I know for absolutely sure it's MSE that's causing it. Disabling real-time protection makes the icons load just as they were supposed to. I am aware that poor performance of security software is usually caused by a conflict with another software of that kind. The only security things I have on my machine is MSE and the Windows Firewall so that's out of the question in my case. Also I haven't installed any other antiviruses before installing MSE so it's not a case of improperly uninstalled previous security software either.

Today I decided to finally address the issue. I tested various other antivirus software. I hated each and every one, even though the real-time protection on those didn't slow the loading of icons anywhere near as much as MSE.


Bottom line is, I'm not giving MSE up. Does anybody have any idea how to fix the problem?

Also, it should be noted that I've tried adding .ico and .lnk file extensions to the list of exceptions in hopes that it would make it just omit the icons and load them up normally but nope. No change. Maybe if I just added the .exe extension it would fix the problem as all those shortcuts refer to some executables, but then I might as well turn the protection off as .exe files are exactly what the protection is needed most dearly for.

I've also tried making the Windows icon cache bigger. Also, no difference.


I'm running Windows 7 SP1 x64
Last edited by Yasashii on 2014-8-29 @ 03:47, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby collector » 2014-8-29 @ 03:22

If these are shortcuts, it may be trying to scan the targets. It would not be scanning any icons themselves. If you open a folder that contains a number of executables, it takes a bit of time for all to be displayed as each is being scanned before it is shown. You could try to divide the shortcuts between a couple of folders to reduce the scan time.

Another thing to check is to be sure that all of the shortcut targets are valid.
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Re: Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby Yasashii » 2014-8-29 @ 03:47

Actually, I decided to test out one more antivirus. I've installed the Panda Cloud Antivirus and so far I'm pretty happy. I don't like the interface (it's a sluggish and pretentious pseudo-metro kind of deal. I hate that.) but other than that, it seems pretty solid.

It's simple, lightweight, and it works on an interesting principle (it's cloud-based.) And uhh... It just fixed my problem. Now the icons and thumbnails and whatnot load almost just as quickly as they would without an antivirus running. As long as this thing doesn't decide to pup-up a window with a "special offer", I think I'm gonna love it.

In short, I consider the problem solved. Thanks anyway :)
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby eL_PuSHeR » 2014-8-29 @ 07:10

I also love MSE. I have also noticed it's somewhat slow showing icons. Maybe we should tell Microsoft about that. I have also tried Panda Free AV. It's also lightweight and pretty capable (I agree with you about its interface though). But Panda will show you some ads popups every now and then (when threre is Internet connection). Not a big deal and they only stay for a second or two. Funny enough I have tried the Panda (paid) AV version and it's a lot worse than its free counterpart. What gives? You can configure Panda Free to alert you after encountering a menace; the paid version will delete anything it thinks it's a virus right away and without warning. I hate that.

BTW: I would not consider your issue being "solved" by swapping to a different AV. Although Panda is lightweight, it's not as lightweight as MSE.
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby j'ordos » 2014-8-29 @ 07:23

I also loved MSE, it was free, light and did pretty good in the tests. However, I recently checked it again, and apparently it's been going downhill very fast after it's initial moment of glory. Just look it up on google, there's tons of articles about it (example: http://securitywatch.pcmag.com/security-software/307816-microsoft-security-essentials-tanks-another-antivirus-test. So you should certainly consider another AV.
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby Yasashii » 2014-8-29 @ 13:42

eL_PuSHeR wrote:Panda will show you some ads popups every now and then (when threre is Internet connection).


Ehh... there's always something. Then again I was considering getting a system-wide ad blocker (Ad Muncher or something like that) rather than using adblock plus on my browser. Hopefully that will take care of it (and the gigantic ads in Skype...)

Btw. Since you have some experience using Panda, how does it do when there isn't an internet connection? Because it seems like the thing doesn't even download a virus database so I'm kinda worried whether this thing will do its job on my netbook (which, ironically, is the thing I use offline most often), when a friend of mine plugs in an infested pendrive (which happened once already but luckily MSE cleaned it)
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby obobskivich » 2014-8-30 @ 02:41

Yasashii wrote:Ehh... there's always something. Then again I was considering getting a system-wide ad blocker (Ad Muncher or something like that) rather than using adblock plus on my browser. Hopefully that will take care of it (and the gigantic ads in Skype...)


Tried a modified hosts file? A lot lighter than yet-another-extension model. Also - yuck to adblock; if advertisers pay enough, they can get whitelisted. :blah:

Example of modified hosts file:
http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm

On the MSE issue - this seems like kind of an obvious question to me, but: why not just use the start menu for all of those exes, instead of re-inventing the wheel with a mega folder? :blush:

That said, I've never had issues opening directories with stacks of exes, zips, dlls, etc in them (up to say maybe 100), how big of a folder are we talking about in your situation though? 1000s? 10000s? How much memory does your computer have? Are you using ReadyBoost (or an SSD) to speed-up disk operations?

A quick'n'dirty fix you could do, would be to make that mega-folder read-only, and set it as an exclusion in MSE for real-time (scan it periodically ofc). It would require you to adjust perms to add exes, but otherwise should work.
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby Stiletto » 2014-8-30 @ 03:46

obobskivich wrote:
Yasashii wrote:Ehh... there's always something. Then again I was considering getting a system-wide ad blocker (Ad Muncher or something like that) rather than using adblock plus on my browser. Hopefully that will take care of it (and the gigantic ads in Skype...)


Tried a modified hosts file? A lot lighter than yet-another-extension model.


I can recommend either Spybot Search&Destroy's "Immunize" feature or SpywareBlaster to take care of this, they work great.
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby obobskivich » 2014-8-30 @ 03:53

Stiletto wrote:I can recommend either Spybot Search&Destroy's "Immunize" feature or SpywareBlaster to take care of this, they work great.


Had forgotten entirely about "Immunize" - yes it's also a great option. :happy:
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby Yasashii » 2014-8-30 @ 03:59

obobskivich wrote:Tried a modified hosts file? A lot lighter than yet-another-extension model.

Example of modified hosts file:
http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm


It had never occurred to me. I'll definitely look into that. Thanks!

obobskivich wrote:On the MSE issue - this seems like kind of an obvious question to me, but: why not just use the start menu for all of those exes, instead of re-inventing the wheel with a mega folder? :blush:


Simple convenience. Also, it's not like I use that "mega folder" of shortcuts for everything. Only utility apps are there. Now, I keep my games' shortcuts inside a folder that's inside of the shortcuts folder (Yo dawg! I heard you like... err, whatever, you get the point).

Also, I have a toolbar leading to the game shortcut folder on the taskbar. The idea is, I have a complete list of all of my games, and only my games, available with a single click. If I want a complete list of all the utility apps, I go to the shortcuts folder. Should I decide "hey, let's play a game instead of whatever useful thing I was gonna do with my time", the folder with the games shortcuts is right there.

That way, everything is separated and sorted conveniently, while if I was gonna go through start menu > all programs, not only do I get everything mixed together, but also a pretty long list consisting of names of the software. No icons which would allow me to quickly visually pick out what I want (which is possible when you have a shortcuts folder. Get the point?)

Also, for the games I play most frequently and the utilities I need to access quickly, there are pinned shortcuts in the start menu.

The result of all of that is that whereas finding a specific software I want to use would normally take me like 5 seconds, it now only takes 2. I know that you are probably reading this with your eyes popping out so let me just admit it: yeah, I'm a complete nut when it comes to optimizing everything to the last detail and making sure that everything is in its place.


obobskivich wrote:That said, I've never had issues opening directories with stacks of exes, zips, dlls, etc in them (up to say maybe 100), how big of a folder are we talking about in your situation though? 1000s? 10000s? How much memory does your computer have? Are you using ReadyBoost (or an SSD) to speed-up disk operations?

A quick'n'dirty fix you could do, would be to make that mega-folder read-only, and set it as an exclusion in MSE for real-time (scan it periodically ofc). It would require you to adjust perms to add exes, but otherwise should work.


Remember we are not talking about exes, zips, dlls and such. Those actually don't take that long to load even with MSE running. We are talking shortcuts. That means those icons which need to load up aren't actually there in that one single folder. Those are scattered all over the hard drive. To load up the icon on a shortcut of a game, the system has to access the installation folder of that game, and because the system accesses it, the real time protection on the antivirus also takes a look at it and only after that does the icon display. That has to happen for tens of shortcuts in that folder. If the antivirus is sluggish, the whole process is slow, and it's as simple as that.

And having said that the actual .exes the shortcuts are referring to are scattered all over the hdd, keep in mind that's a pretty darn big hdd. 1TB to be exact. Right now, it's 3/4 full. Every now and then I defrag the drive with UltraDefrag (I turned off the useless default automatic defrag of Windows 7) and it makes a noticeable difference every time but there's only so much you can do when you have to go through so much bulk.


As for the processing power of my PC: 4GB DDR2 and an Athlon 2.8 x2. That should be enough juice to at least warrant quick loading of icons with any antivirus as long as the antivirus isn't sluggish. I'm not using ready boost. That thing is only for pre-fetched stuff, though. In other words, ready boost doesn't actually boost performance, it just loads up most commonly used stuff so that it can be accessed a bit faster. Meh. I did, however, make the pagefile bigger and created another pagefile on my second hdd (160GB). I believe that my system has all the breathing room it needs to work at an optimal performance and it does with, for example, Panda antivirus.
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby eL_PuSHeR » 2014-8-30 @ 07:45

Yasashii wrote:
eL_PuSHeR wrote:Panda will show you some ads popups every now and then (when threre is Internet connection).


Ehh... there's always something. Then again I was considering getting a system-wide ad blocker (Ad Muncher or something like that) rather than using adblock plus on my browser. Hopefully that will take care of it (and the gigantic ads in Skype...)

Btw. Since you have some experience using Panda, how does it do when there isn't an internet connection? Because it seems like the thing doesn't even download a virus database so I'm kinda worried whether this thing will do its job on my netbook (which, ironically, is the thing I use offline most often), when a friend of mine plugs in an infested pendrive (which happened once already but luckily MSE cleaned it)


I think older versions didn't fare very well in this regard. Current versions are safe without Internet connection. I don't know how it does it though. :lol:
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby eL_PuSHeR » 2014-8-30 @ 07:48

obobskivich wrote:Tried a modified hosts file? A lot lighter than yet-another-extension model. Also - yuck to adblock; if advertisers pay enough, they can get whitelisted. :blah:


I am using Mirage Anti Bot for automatically managing my hosts file. Very effective added protection and the software is extremely lightweight on resources. Sometimes, you must install it before antivirus; AVAST complaints about it if I recall correctly.
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby eL_PuSHeR » 2014-8-30 @ 07:54

I forgot to say that I have MSE's Real Time Protection DISABLED. I usually tend to scan everything manually. I haven't had a virus in ages.

Also, don't forget to check bundled adware in third party installers. Most infections nowadays come from there instead that from Internet.

There are several programs for dealing with these: Xplode's AdwCleaner is my favourite. Malware Bytes is also good, and there are a lot others.

Don't forget Autorun issues, specially with USB pendrives and such. I have autorun DISABLED.
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby Yasashii » 2014-8-30 @ 09:23

eL_PuSHeR wrote:I forgot to say that I have MSE's Real Time Protection DISABLED. I usually tend to scan everything manually. I haven't had a virus in ages.


Right on. I'm way too lazy for that, though XD

eL_PuSHeR wrote:Also, don't forget to check bundled adware in third party installers. Most infections nowadays come from there instead that from Internet.


Yeah, those have been a real pain in the back lately. Usually I'm just extra careful before clicking the "next" button during installations. Sometimes, though, dudu happens anyway. Just two days ago I downloaded a little piece of "free" software known as WinToFlash.

It came with an installer. I naturally assumed that the installer would, you know, install the program. So I run it, there's a license agreement. There's always a license agreement in installers so I just check the "I agree" box and click next. Then again, and one more time. I was kinda nervous that day because I was trying to get a little project of mine to work and none of the other software did the job so I didn't even care to read a single line of those agreements. I was just clicking stuff anxious to get to work.

So yeah, the installer proceeds to show progress of stuff downloading and installing. After it's done, a .zip archive appears on the desktop. WinToFlash is in that .zip. So I'm like "well, if the software is in a .zip file anyway, then what was the installer for?". Well, turns out the installer was just for the adware that came with this program. The homepages on all my browsers have been overridden with some piece-of-crap website. A browser window opens like every 30 seconds to show me a "special offer", and such stuff.

So I get rid of that adware one-by-one. Then I run the program. It asks me whether to run something. I click yes without giving it much thought either. I was convinced that I'm past the adware on this thing. Well, I wasn't. Turns out it asked me whether I agree to install another piece of adware and I clicked yes so I had to get rid of that as well.

So then it's done, right? Nope. I run the program, I set it up for what I needed to do and it starts doing its thing. Guess what? It downloads and displays a flash ad you cannot close while that's happening. Gah!

That is the single most adware-infested piece of software I have encountered in my entire life.


I mean I get why they'd do this. It's a small company which produced a simple, small, but very useful piece of software. It's only natural that they'd want to get some money for that. Most companies of that sort simply put a big "donate" button with PayPal logo on it on their websites. That is the way it should be done. Putting ridiculous amounts of cleverly woven-in adware instead is just morally wrong, the way I see it. In fact, I believe that putting adware in installers should be illegal.

Advertising is a great way for the authors of software to score some coin without the users actually spending a dime. That's why you don't pay for googling stuff and watching vids on YouTube but Google is still ridiculously rich. People are going too far with this nowadays, though.
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby eL_PuSHeR » 2014-9-01 @ 22:01

For Panda Free AV, make sure you enable "warn before cleaning a virus" option in configuration. It tends to delete files without warning (false positives).
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby Yasashii » 2014-9-02 @ 00:22

I did. Thanks.
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby idspispopd » 2014-9-02 @ 12:59

obobskivich wrote:Tried a modified hosts file? A lot lighter than yet-another-extension model. Also - yuck to adblock; if advertisers pay enough, they can get whitelisted. :blah:

You can turn off this whitelisting in Adblock Plus:
https://adblockplus.org/en/acceptable-ads
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby jwt27 » 2014-9-02 @ 13:22

There's also Adblock Edge, without any whitelisting.
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby Yasashii » 2014-9-11 @ 14:59

Update for anyone interested in using Panda: After some time of testing, I've determined that after all, the software is sadly worthless. The real-time protection on it might be quick to scan files but somehow it causes occasional stuttering when, for example, watching movies, or playing games. That alone is unacceptable.

On top of that, I'm 90% sure it was detrimental to the speed of my internet connection. My ISP claimed to be providing 6 mbps for download. I was getting little above 4 mbps. I tested it just this morning. Later on, I uninstalled Panda and decided to give Avast another shot and now my speed is 6 mbps, as it should be. Coincidence? I think not!

I put Avast in silent/gaming mode in hope that it will stop it from displaying ads. So far it appears to be working but I won't smoke a victory cigar until I've tested it for some time...
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Re: [solved] Microsoft Security Essentials - Slow icon and thumbnail loading

Postby archsan » 2014-9-11 @ 18:43

Saw offer on 2-yr avast pro license for $20 in April. Took the opportunity. Disabled annoying "grimefighter" and offers popups. Shortened duration of notifications. Hasn't been annoyed since. "Everything is good."
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