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Website Blocking, causes DPC Latency Spikes and audio glitches


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After troubleshooting what has got to be one of the most tiring and lengthy troubleshooting experiences I've ever had to deal with, I have finally narrowed down where the problem exists. MalwareBytes AntiMalware Web Site Blocking.

Now, to give some background on the issue. Every so often I'd hear pops and other forms of audio glitches in my audio while playing music on my computer. So I opened a tool called DPC Latency Checker and yep, DPC latency spikes were everywhere. And you know what, those audio glitches would appear right when a bunch of those DPC latency spikes occured. So I closed that program and opened LatencyMon and the number one culprit for DPC Latency Spikes was NDIS.SYS. So I was looking around the Internet and someone started mentioning in another forum about restarting the "Base Filtering Engine" service which one of the dependencies was the Windows Firewall Service.

I executed the following...


net stop "Base Filtering Engine" /Yes
net start "Base Filtering Engine"

Yay, no more DPC latency spikes and no more audio glitches either. Problem is that running without the Windows Firewall isn't a recommended thing to do. So I started doing some more research into the issue, specifically I Googled for "windows firewall high dpc" and one of the things that it linked to was a page that stated someone had MalwareBytes AntiMalware installed, the pro version to be specific.

Well, knowing that I didn't want to uninstall it I began to think about what component of MalwareBytes hooks into the Windows Firewall. Website Blocking!

I unchecked those options in MalwareBytes and EUREKA! No more DPC latency spikes and no more audio glitches!

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  • Staff

Greetings :)

Yes, we're well aware of the issues and there have been several threads about it here on our forums. Currently this issue only seems to affect a very small percentage of users and appears to be related to some specific hardware configurations and how they handle audio IO streams/calls vs network IO streams/calls. With some hardware configurations, there is an overlap there, and thus anything which adds network stack overhead (like our Website Blocking mechanism does) will cause audio latency.

Currently there is no known solution to the issue short of disabling website blocking as you've stated, but we are looking into alternate means (assuming they exist, as they may not) of implementing our website blocking feature to eliminate this problem, however as the solution (again, assuming one actually exists) is unknown at this time, we can provide no estimate as to when this might be addressed.

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Is there a chance that you guys can make MalwareBytes not bug you about the Web Site Blocking being disabled? Because when you turn that off the icon in the clock tray is gray instead of the usual nice blue color.

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  • Staff

Is there a chance that you guys can make MalwareBytes not bug you about the Web Site Blocking being disabled? Because when you turn that off the icon in the clock tray is gray instead of the usual nice blue color.

It isn't bugging you with notifications, is it? If it is, please let me know.

If you just mean that the color of the icon bothers you, then no, there is not. Website Blocking is a major part of our protection module, so if it is disabled, users should be aware of it. It's just as significant as making them aware of it when Filesystem Blocking is disabled.

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How many NICs do you have on your computer, trparky? I have a theory that those of use with 2 NICS (I have 1 Wifi adapter and 1 ethernet card for my network Cablecard tuner at home and 2 at work and both machines have this problem) are the only ones who are experiencing these laggy problems which started for me after updating the MBAM databases on March 7th or 8th.

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Actually I did an experiment at work and found that it is not about having 2 NICS enabled. It is about having 1 Wired NIC (ethernet) enabled.

I first enabled Website Blocking and ran DPC Latency Checker.

Then I disabled the Wifi NIC and just ran off the Wired NIC and still had Red spikes / high latency.

Then I disabled the Wired NIC and just ran off the Wifi NIC and it was smooth sailing for quite a while.

Once I re-enabled the Wired NIC, the Red spikes came back and I am fairly confident in my conclusion.

Thus, those people who only use their Wifi NIC should not see a latency issue when using Website Blocker and testing with DPC Latency Checker.

It is only those people who are using a Wired NIC that will see problems with that conditions and it doesn't seem to matter the number of NICs just as long as one of them is Wired.

Anyone care to confirm my experiment?

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Actually I did an experiment at work and found that it is not about having 2 NICS enabled. It is about having 1 Wired NIC (ethernet) enabled.

I first enabled Website Blocking and ran DPC Latency Checker.

Then I disabled the Wifi NIC and just ran off the Wired NIC and still had Red spikes / high latency.

Then I disabled the Wired NIC and just ran off the Wifi NIC and it was smooth sailing for quite a while.

Once I re-enabled the Wired NIC, the Red spikes came back and I am fairly confident in my conclusion.

Thus, those people who only use their Wifi NIC should not see a latency issue when using Website Blocker and testing with DPC Latency Checker.

It is only those people who are using a Wired NIC that will see problems with that conditions and it doesn't seem to matter the number of NICs just as long as one of them is Wired.

Anyone care to confirm my experiment?

Sorry folks - wrong again. I thought that was all she wrote, but when I looked at the MBAM tray icon after writing this post, I found that at some point the Website Blocker was DISABLED during my tests. I enabled the Website Blocker again with the Wired NIC disabled and found all Red Spikes during the DPC Latency Checker scan.

Thus it appears that both kinds of NICs can be to blame and the number of them enabled does not matter. There must be something else that causes these latency issues for some people like myself (since the March database updates) and not for others, but I do not know what it is yet.

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drewcu

I ran your test since you wanted someone to confirm your findings....

I ran it on a Dell E6400 laptop and I do not have any issues with audio but here is my results.

I ran it with the wireless card off and only used the Intel Card wired. With web blocker off it ran just fine with the DPC Letency test. Then turned on web blocker and yes I did see some spikes but like I said I do not have the issue.

I then disabled the Intel Wired Nic and enable the wireless card. Performed the same test, and I do get the same results where it does not peg out using a wifi connection. If I leave the DPC test running eventually it will peg out once in a while.

All that being said, MBAM is aware of the issue as stated above.

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drewcu

I ran your test since you wanted someone to confirm your findings....

I ran it on a Dell E6400 laptop and I do not have any issues with audio but here is my results.

I ran it with the wireless card off and only used the Intel Card wired. With web blocker off it ran just fine with the DPC Letency test. Then turned on web blocker and yes I did see some spikes but like I said I do not have the issue.

I then disabled the Intel Wired Nic and enable the wireless card. Performed the same test, and I do get the same results where it does not peg out using a wifi connection. If I leave the DPC test running eventually it will peg out once in a while.

All that being said, MBAM is aware of the issue as stated above.

That's funny because I had said in my mea culpa post that it turned out that both types of NICs actually caused Red spikes for me and it was only that MBAM turned off the Website Blocker at some point during my tests that I noticed any change. But if you are seeing Red spikes at all, Firefox, then it means you are also experiencing the same problem with Website Blocking affecting latency as everyone else (you just may not see it in the forefront if you aren't using a network video/audio device). I have a networked TV device that exhibits a latency issue because of this and others must have some network audio device where they experience a similar trouble.

Thanks for running the test, however!

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If I didn't have the HDHomerun Prime network tuner (an HDTV 3-tuner system), I would never have known there was a problem. My work computer with the same issue has no network devices so there is nothing obvious that lets me know there is an issue. Running the DPC program is the only way someone without a high traffic network device like my HDTV tuner.would know there is even an issue.

It is possible that your audio streams aren't as traffic-intensive as running a networked HDTV device moving 10-15mb/s and that is why you never knew there was an issue. I didn't see the pixelation issue I experienced with the Prime all the time; it came and went for the most part.

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  • Root Admin

The current answer is yes we are aware that a very small number of users do experience this issue and we do hope to resolve it at some time in the future but at this time there is no specific date when this will be corrected. If you are having this issue and you've purchased the software within 30 days you can submit for a refund via the Help Desk if you like. The Consumer version currently does come with a life time license and can be transferred to another computer if desired.

Thank you

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I've had the very same problem for a long time. I recently bought a new computer because I was fed up with my old one's problems, one of the biggest being the audio distortion due to extremely high DPC latency.

I got my new $2500 pc setup and began hearing the very same audio distortions.. I checked the DPC latency, and there it was... everything in the red.

Just a wild hair, I disabled MBAM Pro and they went away. Wow. I mean, I got a new computer out of the deal... but that's pretty annoying.

I really don't want to go without MBAM's website blocking protection, and it seems like some of you staff are really minimizing this problem.. High DPC latency is a real annoyance. I've dealt with it for a year, hours upon hours of research and troubleshooting without discovering the connection with MBAM. Although you staff know of the problem, how many customers are in the same boat, without realizing MBAM is the issue? Hopefully this isn't the case, but it sounds like some here are saying "those few with the problem don't matter".

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Exactly! And the key here is that most people probably have this problem but do not even realize because it is only those who do heavy multimedia streaming that have a visual indicator. The average user who is just browsing the web is probably having heavy latency problems with Website Blocker enabled but would never know it because the problem is very much behind-the-scenes. Thus, most people will not report / complain about this and it just us poor unfortunate souls that have heavy traffic devices that have to cope until it somehow affects all web users.

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