Author Topic: Slow scan with newest update  (Read 20506 times)

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petek471

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Slow scan with newest update
« on: August 08, 2008, 09:41:48 PM »
I updated to 080807 and now a standard scan of my 40GB HDD takes over 2 hours. I'm using the home free version. My PC is a Dell laptop Inspiron 5100, a few years old, but I noticed lately it takes longer and longer to do a scan. What can I do to speed things up?

Offline DavidR

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Re: Slow scan with newest update
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2008, 11:14:17 PM »
There shouldn't be any essential difference as it is only a virus signature update so the scan functionality shouldn't be any different.

You don't mention anything about your system spec, OS, CPU, RAM, etc. ?
Nor do you give any info about the type of scan you are doing, Local Disks, Quick/Standard/Thorough with or without Archives ?

I don't know if you have don a defrag of your HDD recently but if your HDD is highly fragmented then it could well add to your scan duration ?

You don't mention what other security applications you have ?

All of the above could contribute to the issue, so we need more information or we are just guessing.
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petek471

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Re: Slow scan with newest update
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2008, 11:27:47 PM »
Win XP O/S, Pentium 4-2.8GHz CPU/82845G Chipset, 512MB RAM, Radeon 7500GPU, Running Avast w/o archives, standard scan. HDD as defragged recently, Spybot is the only other security app besides Windows firewall.
Is this enough?
I have been noticing it takes longer and longer to scan. Exacerbated by fact that I bought my wife a new Core 2 Duo CPU notebook that checks many more files in a fraction of the time using Avast.
Thanks in advance for any ideas (other than using this older notebook as a frisbee).

Offline DavidR

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Re: Slow scan with newest update
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2008, 12:52:51 AM »
Your system certainly seems well up to the task, I have only recently upgraded my system which also has a core2duo and it really flies on scans as apart from it being more powerful than your system, avast has been optimised for the core2duo multi core so that would also help. Whilst I have nothing much on my HDD 5GB of data scanned takes 3.5 minutes (on my old system 8GB took a little over 13 minutes, less powerful than your system).

The fact that scans are taking longer and longer (if the data scanned wasn't increasing proportionally) would tend indicate another factor, what is the question. Spybot shouldn't be an issue, but you could disable the resident element (tea-timer, if you use it) and see if that makes any difference.

It would also be worth doing another defrag as we would know that isn't a factor.

Whilst you are not what you could call low on RAM I found when I upgraded to 1GB from 512MB on my old system (not as cheap on a laptop as a desktop), it was more responsive. The on-demand scan is pretty CPU and RAM intensive (your CPU is up to the task) but you may find that with 512MB much of that would be used up and there might be lots of swapping out to the pagefile.sys. This could mean lots of thrashing around on your HDD, which could become a bottleneck in the scan progress.

You could monitor the scan for a while and see if there are any areas that seem to hang for a time.

What version of avast do you have, 4.8.1229 is the latest version ?

What is the rough breakdown of the data being scanned, total size, etc. media files (types), images files (types) as there may be areas that you could consider excluding.
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wyrmrider

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Re: Slow scan with newest update
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2008, 12:59:11 AM »
good points davidR
my question
did your wife's new computer come with a suite or AV preinstalled
if so we need to chat

hard drive could be quicker on new computer

you might run CCleaner on your older computer and then defrag

as a double check try a scan in safe mode and let's see if some other program is interfering

Ps with avast having both web scanning and on access scanning really frequent system scans should not really be necessary after initial scan

any anti spyware?

petek471

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Re: Slow scan with newest update
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2008, 01:37:43 AM »
Thanks for the responses...I have 4.8.1229. I am using about 12 of 29GB on my HDD. I was not aware I could limit the scan to certain file type. So my guess is I'm scanning the entire drive every time I update versions of Avast. The only data change I have is that recently my wife started using my computer to load music files for her ipod. They are all stored on the Apple iTumes app. Could they be slowing Avast down?
I will do another defrag (although the defrag analyzer said I do not need to defrag this volume. And I will tru to fing some more DRAM for this notebook (although with its age, it may prove to be easier said than done!)
Thanks again for your response Davidr
Now Wyrmrider...My wife's computer came preloaded with Norton AV, and the forst thing I did when I booted it up was to uninstall Norton. The I installed Avast and Spybot. I have no doubt my wife's HDD is faster, likely a 5400rpm (I don't know what mine is but maybe 4200 by virtue of its age.
I have been running full system scans whenever I am notified the code changed. So maybe I am overscanning, since I do have resident/on-access scanning active at all times. My spyware is Spybot.

By the way, if you guys are Awill employees, let me tip my hat to you. I originally heard about Awill form Consumer Reports in the US and have been using it for about 2 years.

petek471

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Re: Slow scan with newest update
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2008, 01:49:12 AM »
Your system certainly...Whilst I have nothing much on my HDD 5GB of data scanned takes 3.5 minutes (on my old system 8GB took a little over 13 minutes, less powerful than your system).

Another question...From your note can I infer that one can limit scanning to only data files? Also Is there a way to have Avast scan only what changed since the last scan and not data & programs that were unchanged?
Sorry if this is a stupid question, but two hours for a full scan is too long.

wyrmrider

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Re: Slow scan with newest update
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2008, 01:53:18 AM »
I tunes ??? someone
new files-- good question

spybot would not be a problem unless you have t-timer on and it's finding something- it should pop up
are you running spybot 1.6? BTW

now norton
did you use the norton uninstall tool?
http://www.pchell.com/virus/uninstallnorton.shtml

if anything starts acting funny on wifes computer run the tool
norton unless it is completely un-installed is the source of many hard to identify problems

also this tool even if never used Antivir-- click on Antivir at bottom of  PCHell norton page
http://www.pchell.com/virus/uninstallantivir.shtml
Using the AntiVir Registry Cleaner

If for some reason the normal uninstall does not work, you may have to download AntiVir's registry cleaner utility to remove all traces of it from the registry and allow you to reinstall it.

1) Click on the following link and download the AntiVir Registry Cleaner to your desktop

http://dl.antivir.de/down/windows/registrycleaner.zip

2) Create a folder on your desktop called Antivir and Unzip the file to your desktop
3) Double-click on the file called RegCleaner.exe to run it

4) Since the program is German, you'll have to click on the button called "keys asulesen" to search the registry for any issues. Then place checkmarks next to the registry entries you wish to delete.

5) Finally, click on the button called "loschen" to delete the keys

6) Restart your computer and try to reinstall your antivirus


petek471

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Re: Slow scan with newest update
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2008, 02:23:03 AM »
wyrm, I'm running Spybot 1.6.1.22 (very new).
When I uninstalled Norton from my wife's computer, I used the Windows Vista software/program uninstaller. Seems to have been no problems so far and the uninstall completed with no apparent problems. It was a trial version of Norton. I hate imposing annoying programs like Norton and I hate trial subscriptions anyway, and this HP laptop came with plenty of "free" trial programs.
Anyway, if things start to look funny, I will use PCHell. But the moment I saw the trial version of Norton I uninstalled it and replaced it with avast.
Thank you for the advice.
Pete

Offline DavidR

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Re: Slow scan with newest update
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2008, 02:49:50 AM »
Thanks for the responses...I have 4.8.1229. I am using about 12 of 29GB on my HDD. I was not aware I could limit the scan to certain file type. So my guess is I'm scanning the entire drive every time I update versions of Avast. The only data change I have is that recently my wife started using my computer to load music files for her ipod. They are all stored on the Apple iTumes app. Could they be slowing Avast down?
I will do another defrag (although the defrag analyzer said I do not need to defrag this volume. And I will tru to fing some more DRAM for this notebook (although with its age, it may prove to be easier said than done!)
Thanks again for your response Davidr
<snip>
By the way, if you guys are Awill employees, let me tip my hat to you. I originally heard about Awill form Consumer Reports in the US and have been using it for about 2 years.

I would have though that on your system 12GB would take about 20 minutes tops, with my old system athlon XP-M OCed to 1.8 Ghz and 1GB RAM did 8GB of data in a little over 13 minutes.
So the only thing I can think of would be RAM (both slower speed and only 512MB) and HDD speed, do you notice that the drive light is working overtime ?
Check and see what else is running in the background before starting your scans, you would be surprised what non-essential junk might be running, this would be robbing essential RAM.

Have your scans over the two years been as lengthy, e.g. over an hour and getting longer ?

You can't limit it to data files only (in fact that would make the scan pointless), what you try to do is exclude file types that are a low risk of infection, like some medial files image files .gif etc. Sorry I know all about itunes (read sod all) so I have no idea about the security or exploit potential about their file types. You could elect to keep them all in the same folder and exclude the itunes file types if there is no or a limited risk (e.g. *.itunes file type the * is a wildcard for any number of characters so care has to be exercised.)

You can elect to do a Quick scan as that only looks for the possibly dangerous files. This should limit the data scanned and reduce the scan duration without compromising security. Remember the resident scanners will intercept any executable and scan it before it is allowed to run,

Neither of us work for Alwil, we are avast user like yourself ;D

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petek471

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Re: Slow scan with newest update
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2008, 03:32:48 AM »
It was the "evangelist" titles that mad me think you might be Alwil employees. Nonetheless, thanks for the help. I am running a thorough scan now after defragging the HDD. 
What I am noticing is that 22K files were scanned within a few minutes, but at this moment, the scan is pretty much stopped on the iTunes files. What do you think? Could the iTunes files be the culprit?

Offline DavidR

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Re: Slow scan with newest update
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2008, 02:08:33 PM »
I think culprit might be the wrong word (you didn't mention what the file type is for the itunes files) but I doubt you are the only one with itunes content on your HDD so I would have expected to have seen reports in the forums if this were the case.

You could do test and ad the itunes folder to the Program Settings, Exclusions, e.g. c:\<itunes>\* where <itunes> is the full path to the folder. I don't know if being itunes there isn't some possible protection on the files that could make the scan slow, but as I said I know * all about itunes.

You say you did a thorough scan, if you mean that literally and not a standard scan without archives then I feel that could be a wasted test as it would not be comparable to the previous scan durations you experienced as it is like comparing apples (pun intended) and oranges. So you would need to run the all drives, standard without archives scan again and compare.
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petek471

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Re: Slow scan with newest update
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2008, 03:00:57 PM »
Last night I ran a "Thorough scan" as defined by avast. Typically I do a standard scan, and that is the type of scan I would run as a benchmark to measure how long it takes avast to run. And I will do this eventually...but for now, here is what happened:
I started the thorough scan at 9:47PM. By 9:53PM about 22K files were scanned. At this point (and coincidentally) the Apple iTunes folder was being scanned. The scanning slowed down to one file at a time. This continued for about a half hour. I stopped watching after about 45 minutes, but rechecked later, and by 10:53, about 34K files had been scanned. At this point, I pretty much fell asleep at the wheel and I cannot tell how long it took to complete the scan, but when I checked this morning, 26.3GB had completed scanning and the process was complete. In the past, I have noted roughly 130K files are scanned (but this is with the standard scan). While I was awake, I did monitor system performance, and my CPU was hitting 100% utilization frequently. About 66% of the RAM was in use, and "ashSimpl.exe" was the program driving the CPU usage from what I could tell (I assume that's Avast using ashSimpl?).

In summary, I concluded that my CPU is likely inadequate to handle the load demanded by  Avast. If newer releases of Avast have been optimized to run a a dual thread CPU, by elderly Pentium 4 is slower and has much less L1/L2 cache so it is my number one suspect.
As far as RAM goes, 512MB is a respectable amount of RAM for this vintage notebook (I have a Compaq laptop, same age that has 256MB installed, and I have an IBM T-41 that has 768MB RAM installed, so the 512MB in this laptop seems in line).
In addition, the HDD led was pretty well lit up through the process. I had done a defrag right before scanning, and only about  40% of my HDD is used, still the HDD seemed to be laboring. Surely today's SATA HDDs are able to outperform my older PATA, maybe 4200rpm drive.
Maybe its just time to retire my older laptops. Now that I've been exposed to my wife's Core 2 duo, with 2GB RAM and a 5400rpm SATA drive, I will always feel hobbled with this present equipment.
I will rerun a standard scan now that I got some sleep, and report results on this thread.

Offline DavidR

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Re: Slow scan with newest update
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2008, 03:27:40 PM »
The ashSimpl.exe is the simple user interface that is used for the on-demand scans.

The scanning is normally fast and CPU intensive as you have seen, but what isn't seen is any HDD bottleneck, though when the CPU % drops it is probably waiting for the HDD to give it more data.

Your right when you got your system 512MB seemed massive and expensive, but now you could buy an new laptop for what you would have paid for an extra 512MB of RAM ;D

I remember my first HDD was only 512MB and they said there was no way I would fill that, then it was using compression software because I had and then buying a 1GB HDD, very expensive. Now I have just ordered an 8GB usb pen drive for $3195 including shipping ;D
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petek471

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Re: Slow scan with newest update
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2008, 05:13:04 PM »
I just finished a scan. Standard scan, archive scan disabled. It took 1:51:23 to run. During the time Avast ran, CPU utilization was between 90 and 100%. RAM usage was about 60%, Spybot Teatimer used 2-3% in bursts.
Just as a sidebar, I pulled out an older Compaq notebook with the same CPU, 512MB, 40GB HDD and ran Avast. There is only 4.6GB of 30GB used, and it ran in about 18 minutes.
The laptop I have been using is a Dell, but is configured the same as the Compaq, except it has a lot more data on it (22.7 of 40GB)
Still, close to two hours is not a good thing. I guess I will have to be content with the resident scanner running on top of a good standard scan, and a thorough scan from last night.
Yes $/MB in HDDs has done an amazing drop. CPU's as well....Moore's Law and all that! In 1980 I worked as a circuit designer for a big OEM. Our chip project was a 1 million transistor design which was state of the art in that timeframe. But today we see quad core CPUs with almost 300 million transisitors on one chip, and the $/transistor cost is lower than ever.