Author Topic: Behavior Shield (aswidsagent.exe) Memory/RAM usage increase from web browsers  (Read 349 times)

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Offline Totsugeki

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Hey everyone, a few days ago I updated Avast to version 20.1 (clean reinstall because I used a really old version before that, 18.5) and there's something odd I noticed about the Behavior Shield's (aswidsagent.exe), well, behaviour, especially with web browsers, but also on its own.

(To get the standard questions out of the way: I'm using Windows 8.1 64-bit, Avast Free Antivirus 20.1.2397, and I'm not using any other AV software)

Long story short, using certain web browsers causes the Behavior Shield to go crazy with RAM/memory usage, some more than others. While individual numbers may seem small, they can add up really quickly. On older versions RAM usage by Behavior Shield never went beyond ~25mb, but now it seems to be able to grow out of control, to the point of getting up to 60mb after an hour or so of casual browsing.

This affects pretty much any browser, Firefox or Chromium-based (I've tested it on the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Vivaldi and Opera, and some more obscure ones like Pale Moon or Chromium), though some cause more or less memory increase than others, with avast reacting much more aggressively to chromium-based ones. Only extensions all of these web browsers use are uBlock Origin and uMatrix with identical configurations and filters.

Aside from that, I've noticed Behavior Shield often having an increase in memory usage on its own, whether leaving the machine idle or actively using it. A few times its memory usage went down slightly, but very rarely.

I did try to repair Avast just to check (even though this was already a clean install), but that didn't change anything.

Is this a potential memory leak that causes Behavior Shield to not release its used memory like other Avast processes do? (Behavior Shield never used more than ~25mb in older versions) Or, if this is now its intended behavior, does that memory usage have a cap or does it get refreshed every once in a while?

While this is thankfully "fixed" by disabling Behavior Shield and re-enabling it, causing its memory usage to drop back to 13-14mb before it starts crawling its way back up, I'm still kinda worried about it potentially getting out of control and causing slowdowns if I leave my machine running long enough (suddenly going from 14mb to 64mb in an hour is quite a lot, especially when that wasn't the case before).

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Update: the issue never went away after a month of using the new version and attempts at repair/clean reinstallation, so along with a shopping list of other various issues and annoyances that have piled up over a long time as well as several worrying recent news, I've decided that it's time to ditch avast after using it for ten years.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 07:59:07 AM by Totsugeki »

Offline Asyn

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Well, basically RAM is there to be used - it's the fastest memory.
If your system runs smooth, I wouldn't worry about its RAM usage.
Win 8.1 [x64] - Avast PremSec 20.4.2408.B#3 [UI.520] - CC 5.65 - EEK - Firefox ESR 68.8 [NS/AOS/uBO/PB] - TB 68.8.1 - ASB/ASL.BC
Deutschsprachiger Bereich -> Avast Wissenswertes (Downloads, Anleitungen & Infos): https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=60523.0

Offline Totsugeki

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That's fair I suppose, I just got caught really off-guard by how much it seems to be using now and how it shows no sign of limiting its memory usage.

I'll keep an eye on it over the next few days and see if it gets too bad or if it reacts to other software in such a fashion, because it seems really weird that it's only web browsers (and only some of them) that cause this.