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Malwarebytes Causing Dell SupportAssist Program Issues ?


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I am running a Dell XPS 8930 Special Edition, purchased in October 2019, with Windows 10 Pro, x64, Build 1909, fully updated, including February Windows 10 updates.  Several weeks ago, the Dell SupportAssist program would no longer run the "Scan Hardware" test  nor could I see any of my hardware components under the "TroubleShooting" tab (test a specific piece of hardware"  The Dell SupportAssist program had been working just fine until a few weeks ago, and other components, like driver updating continued to work fine, but I could not get the "Scan Hardware" component to work.  The test would just run to completion in a few seconds and state "No Issues Found", but the "History" reported that the scan never started.  Normally the scan takes about ten minutes.

I opened a topic on the Dell SupportAssist Forum, which can be found here.  I was intrigued by boheap's reply in this other topic there complaining of a very similar issue because I also run Malwarebytes Premium 4.04 (fully updated).  Malwarebytes was not throwing any errors when I tried to run "Scan Hardware" test with SupportAssist 3.4.1.49, nor was the SupportAssist program itself.

Rather than disable my Malwarebytes Premium (MBP) as suggested by boheap, I decided to add the following folders to the MBP "Allow List" before testing whether disabling MBP had any effect.  I "allowed" the following folders to be exempt from any MBP protection:

C:\Program Files\Dell\SARemediation
C:\Program Files\Dell\SupportAssistAgent

I rebooted my computer, and now Scan Hardware works just fine and passed.  Also, under Troubleshoot, I can now see my hardware components, whereas before no hardware components would show even after I clicked on "Refresh".

I hope that Dell and Malwarebytes will get together and address this issue, since users have no way of knowing that Malwarebytes is apparently preventing certain components of Dell SupportAssist from working properly, since no errors and/or "blocking" are reported by MBP.

I hope that this helps someone else, and I extend my gratitude to boheap for his reply which got me motivated to do some testing with MBP.

Have a great day.

Regards,
-Phil
 

Edited by garioch7
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  • Staff

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  • Staff

Greetings,

Thanks for reporting this issue.  If you would, please delete the exclusions you created and try excluding the items from each individual protection/detection component in Malwarebytes to determine which module is causing the issue.  It is most likely to be Ransomware Protection but I want to make sure so that I know what to report to the Product team.

Thanks

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@exile360

Thank you for your reply.  I have done as you asked.

1. Exclude the two folders from detection as ransomware only: SupportAssist no longer just runs to completion in two seconds, with the History entry that the Manual Scan Hardware test was not started.  Instead, it just hangs at "Preparing" and nothing happens.

2. Exclude the two folders from detection as malware or potentially unwanted program only: the scan runs normally.

3. Exclude the two folders from all detections: the scan runs normally.

Not sure of what all of that means, but I suspect that perhaps the PUP sub-component of Malware Protection component is responsible.

 

SupportAssist does have a system optimizer and a clean up utility and one or both of them does mess with the registry and/or files and delete legitimate entries/files; e.g., the games statistics for Windows 7 Games for Windows 10 by Winaero.  In that case, it is the statistics files that are being deleted.  I don't run those SupportAssist components any more for that reason.  I complained about that on the SupportAssist Forum on the Dell Community Forums, but my post never got posted.  Censorship?  It was my first post there.

Right now, I just use SupportAssist for driver and other downloads and for the occasional hardware scan.  Dell does not seem to appreciate any criticisms on their Forums, so I have just let that matter drop.

What disappoints me about this is that if Malwarebytes is blocking the SupportAssist "Scan Hardware" component from running properly, it should notify the user.  My MBP "Detection History" is blank.  MBP does not interfere with the SupportAssist "Driver and other downloads" component.  That works just fine.  I don't use the other components so I cannot say if they work now.  This problem only started a few weeks ago, so some change was made to MBP in the last month that has crippled the SupportAssist "Scan Hardware" component.

Thank you and have a great day.

Regards,
-Phil

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  • Staff

If it were an actual detection from the Malware Protection/PUP detection components in Malwarebytes it would show a detection and quarantine what it detected.  This issue sounds like when the Dell scan tries to run, Malwarebytes is analyzing whatever new process Dell launches to do its scan and it is getting stuck at that point for whatever reason and never enters memory, not because it was deliberately blocked or detected by Malwarebytes, but because Malwarebytes' attempted analysis of the process is causing the process to fail to run for some reason.  That would be a bug so it should be possible for Malwarebytes to fix it.

Please do the following to gather some further details about this issue for the Developers:

Create a Process Monitor Log:

  • Create a new folder on your desktop called Logs
  • Please download Process Monitor from here and save it to your desktop
  • Double-click on Procmon.exe to run it
  • In Process Monitor, click on File at the top and select Backing Files...
  • Click the circle to the left of Use file named: and click the ... button
  • Browse to the Logs folder you just created and type MB4 Log in the File name: box and click Save
  • Exit Process Monitor and open it again so that it starts creating the logs
  • Replicate the issue with the Dell scan where it fails to run
  • Close Process Monitor
  • Right-click on the Logs folder on your desktop and hover your mouse over Send To and select Compressed (zipped) Folder
  • Please attach the Logs.zip file you just created to your next reply, or if it is too large, please upload it to WeTransfer and select the option to send the file as a link from the options menu available by clicking on the circular ... button on the page and provide us with the link to the file

Thanks

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@exile360

You are most welcome, and thank you for sharing your theory as to what is happening, as well as for your prompt response, on a Sunday no less!

I will be interested to learn the outcome of the investigation.

Have a great day.

Regards,
-Phil

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  • Staff

Hehe, well, work is like my hobby, so I tend to spend a lot of time on it :) 

I'm curious about this issue as well, but hopefully whatever the actual cause, it turns out to be an easy fix but we'll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, if you run into any further issues or there is anything else we might assist you with please let us know.

Thanks

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@LiquidTension

Will do.  According to a contributor over at the Dell SupportAssist Community Forum, it is only necessary to "Allow" the C:\Program Files\Dell\SupportAssistAgent folder.  I can confirm his finding and I am keeping that folder on the "Allow List" until the issue is resolved.

Thank you and have a great day.

Regards,
-Phil

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@LiquidTension

Thank you for the update.  Dell is also investigating.  See my topic over at the Dell Community SupportAssist Forum.  They have possibly identified the cause.


According to the PCDr team, the binaries to call HW Test are being blocked by some anti-virus software like McAfee LiveSafe and in some versions of Malwarebytes.  Teams are investigating the issue.

Have a great day.

Regards,
-Phil

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@AdvancedSetup

Ron, for sure I will update this topic when I see any updates from Dell posted in my topic there.  I visit the Dell Community Forums daily.  Nothing new there today.

Have a great day.

Regards,
-Phil

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@AdvancedSetup

Ron, jbilinski, a Moderator in the Dell Forums, just reached out to me in my topic there and also via PM, wanting to know the Service Tag of my Dell XPS 8930 SE, and also all of the version information of my copy of Malwarebytes Premium.


Thanks @garioch7, I saw your response on the Malwarebytes forum and noted the workaround and have also communicated this with the SupportAssist and PC-Doctor teams.  I see Malwarebytes has logged a defect but I’m trying to find out if any actions need to be made on SA\PCDr side.

I have provided him with the requested information, and advised him that as far as I understood, Malwarebytes was handling this a software defect that needed to be corrected, and not a Dell SupportAssist program issue, per se.  If I am mistaken, you, or a member of team, should communicate with him, since he seems to be the Dell SupportAssist program lead on this at the Dell end of things.

Thank you and have a great day.

Regards,
-Phil

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been reading these posts as I am having the same exact problem with the Hardware Scan in Dell Support Assist-(vers 3.4.1). I purchased a Dell XPS 8930 Special Edition desktop a few weeks ago-(Windows 10, 64bit), with McAfee LiveSafe preinstalled and I bought and installed Malwarebytes Premium-(vers 4.0.4) a couple days after booting up the 1st time.I have both these security programs on my old computer and they have worked really well with no software conflicts to speak of. All the other scan areas-(software/drivers update, optimize network, etc all work fine, but hardware scan does exactly what has been described in this topic already-(done in one or two seconds, and scan history displays in red lettering it didn't even start). I tried the aforementioned option of adding those two Dell folders-(Support AssistAgent and Remediation) to my allow list in my MBAM program to no avail. I tried placing the SupportAssist Agent first by itself in the Allow List, but it didn't work. I then left it in and added the Remediation folder so both were there, but the hardware scan still won't work. I removed them both for now from the MBAM allow list, and I guess I'll just wait to see when someone-(either Dell or MBAM) posts a fix for this problem. It sounds like from what I'm reading here it probably may be a problem with MBAM's software. I did come across a video clip on YouTube showing this problem, but it recommended uninstalling SupportAssist with Revo Uninstaller app to completely remove the software, especially in the registry,  then reinstalling SupportAssist and it supposedly will correct the problem. I don't believe it made mention of software problems with installed security programs as mentioned here though. 

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  • Staff

Greetings,

I'm sorry that you are experiencing this issue, however if you exclude the following two folders it should allow your scans to complete normally:

C:\Program Files\Dell\SARemediation
C:\Program Files\Dell\SupportAssistAgent

To do so, use the method described under the Allow a file or folder section of this support article, making sure to exclude the folders from detection as PUP and malware and that should allow the software to run normally until the Developers issue a fix in a future release.

I hope this helps and if there is anything else we might assist you with please let us know.

Thanks

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@BLWalker

I think that your issue might also be related to McAfee LiveSafe.  According to a Moderator (jbilinski), in the Dell SupportAssist Forum, in reply to my topic there, he stated:

Quote

According to the PCDr team, the binaries to call HW Test are being blocked by some anti-virus software like McAfee LiveSafe and in some versions of Malwarebytes.

Try also disabling or whitelisting the Dell SupportAssist program folders in McAfee.  I don't use McAfee; my AV is Bitdefender.

I hope this helps.  Please let us know.  Have a great day.

Regards,
-Phil

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Quote

According to the PCDr team, the binaries to call HW Test are being blocked by some anti-virus software like McAfee LiveSafe and in some versions of Malwarebytes

That's very helpful, thanks. I've been running McAfee Total Protection on one Dell machine and now I know that the problem was! 

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@Cavehomme

You are most welcome for the information.  I am really happy that you solved your problem.  It would seem that if you are running McAfee LiveSafe and Malwarebytes Premium, you have to deal with those TWO software programs not liking the Dell SupportAssist program and consequently, as an interim solution, you have to exempt/whitelist the Dell SupportAssist folder(s) in both programs.

Hopefully, the companies involved will get together and find a solution for those members of the Dell user community whot like to occasionally scan our hardware components using the Dell SupportAssist program.

Have a great day.

Regards,
-Phil

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I attempted to try and exclude those two aforementioned Dell Support-Assist folders in my McAfee LiveSafe, vers 16.0, however after checking You-Tube vids for how this done in McAfee LiveSafe ver 16-(*I've only learned recently how to do it with MBAM-Premium ver 4) but the vids I watched on YouTube pertaining to excluding files on the latest McAfee versions-(16.0 and up) state you can no longer exclude entire file folders-(as was permitted in the past with earlier McAfee versions), but now only individual files, meaning you have to open up each folder-(there are quite a number of individual files in those 2 folders and all their respective sub-folders. I can accomplish that but it will take some time. Any thoughts on how to get around this having to exclude individual files or is there another way to do this with just excluding those two Dell folders?  Thanks for any info!!!!

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  • Staff

I'm not certain what to do about McAfee if your scans still aren't working even after creating the exclusions with Malwarebytes.  Unfortunately I'm not familiar enough with McAfee to know what settings to change or how as it has been many years since I have used any McAfee products.  With that said you could try excluding McAfee from Malwarebytes if you haven't done so already to see if that helps at all.  To do so, follow the same procedure you followed above for excluding DSA's folders but this time select McAfee's primary program folder (likely located under C:\Program Files and/or C:\Program Files (x86) along with its primary data folder which is likely located under C:\ProgramData.

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@AdvancedSetup

I just saw this post in my topic over at the Dell Community Forums.  Apparently, PC Doctor, who make the Dell SupportAssist program, are working on a solution to the MBP detection of their hardware scan.  You might want to make sure that your developers touch base to avoid duplication of effort.

Have a great day.

Regards,
-Phil

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