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MB Free v4.2.1 Installation - Question RE: Windows Security Center


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I just installed Malwarebytes Free v4.2.1.89-1.0.1061 on my Win 10 laptop and didn't realize that there's been a recent change in the installation process per the support article Deactivate Premium Trial in Malwarebytes for Windows.  Instead of entering my email address during the installation I answered "Maybe Later" when prompted if I want to enter a product activation key.  This automatically installed Malwarebytes Free (i.e., I was not required to go to Settings | Account | Deactivate to deactivate the 14-day trial), but now I am unable to disable the Premium setting at Settings | Security | Windows Security Center | Always Register Malwarebytes in the Windows Security Center, which is turned ON by default.

Why is it necessary for Malwarebytes Free to be registered in the Windows Security Center if a user declines the 14-day trial version by answering "Maybe Later" during the installation?  I've turned OFF Settings | Security | Windows Startup | Launch Malwarebytes in the Background When Windows Starts Up,  but I'd prefer to have the Windows Security Center setting turned OFF as well just to avoid any possible conflict with Windows Defender after Malwarebytes Free is launched.  As far as I can see, the only way to do this now is to enter an activation key to temporarily re-activate the Premium settings or to uninstall and reinstall Malwarebytes Free again and provide my email address this time to start the 14-day Premium trial.

447532823_MBFreev4_2_1WindowsSecurityCenterCannotBeDisabled05Oct2020.png.1e84985e7b9a19228228c29b7bce8293.png

Note that the attached mbst-grab-results.zip was collected after starting and closing Malwarebytes Free v4.2.1 (i.e., without choosing Quit Malwarebytes from the system tray icon to stop the Malwarebytes Service).

mbst-grab-results.zip
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64-bit Win 10 Pro v1909 build 18363.1082 * Firefox 81.0.1 * Windows Defender 4.18.2008.9 * Malwarebytes Free v4.2.1.89-1.0.1061
Dell Inspiron 15 5584, Intel i5-8265U@1.60/1.80 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB NVMe SSD, Intel UHD Graphics 620

Edited by lmacri
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1 hour ago, lmacri said:

  but I'd prefer to have the Windows Security Center setting turned OFF as well just to avoid any possible conflict with Windows Defender after Malwarebytes Free is launched. 

Quote

WAC Integration:                Unavailable

The free version does not register in the security center at all. Even when launched or scanning.

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1 hour ago, Porthos said:

The free version does not register in the security center at all. Even when launched or scanning.

Hi Porthos:

Thanks for your reply.  I manually launched MB Free v4.2.1 and confirmed that Malwarebytes was not listed at Windows Security | Virus & Threat Protection | Manage Providers, but I'm still curious why Malwarebytes feels that Security | Windows Security Center | Always Register Malwarebytes in the Windows Security Center should be turned ON and locked in that position in Malwarebytes Free, given that other Premium real-time protection features (e.g., Web Protection, Malware Protection, etc.) are turned OFF and locked in that position.  Is this now the expected behaviour if the user declines to enter their email address during installation?  With older versions of the installer where the 14-day trial version was automatically enabled, I seem to recall that all the Premium settings were TURNED ON by default and I could could turn those switches OFF before deactivating the 14-day trial of Premium features at Settings | Account | Deactivate.

I ran a manual Thread Scan with Malwarebytes Free v4.1.2.73 - 1.0.1003 back on 08-Aug-2020 and after the scan finished I discovered my system had frozen.  I performed a hard shutdown by holding down the power button but was never able to re-boot my system again (it would lock during the POST test before Win 10 loaded and I could not access my BIOS or Windows Recovery options during boot) and Dell Support couldn't find a solution.  Fortunately, I was able to re-image my hard drive with Macrium Reflect Free back to an earlier date before Malwarebytes Free had been installed.  I'm not 100% certain that it was the Malwarebytes Threat Scan that borked my computer (some unrelated background task might have launched if my computer went into idle mode after the scan finished) but I was quite reluctant to re-install Malwarebytes again after the hard drive re-image.

I ran a Threat Scan yesterday after installing the latest Malwarebytes Free v4.2.1.89-1.0.1061 and I could hear my cooling fan run for several minutes after the scan finished.  Task Manager showed Windows Defender was consuming over >25% CPU until I selected "Quit Malwarebytes" from the system tray icon.  I haven't tested extensively to see if this high CPU consumption by Windows Defender is a consistent problem, but I'm still worried there's been a change in recent versions of MB Free v4.1.2 and higher that my Windows Defender real-time protection doesn't like.  I'd be much more comfortable if I had the ability to turn OFF the setting at Security | Windows Security Center | Always Register Malwarebytes in the Windows Security Center, just to see if toggling that switch ON / OFF has any effect.

I'll start another topic if I decide that I need help troubleshooting my high CPU issue.  For now I just wanted to know if it is normal that Security | Windows Security Center | Always Register Malwarebytes in the Windows Security Center is turned ON and locked in that position in Malwarebytes Free if the user declines to enter their email address during installation.
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64-bit Win 10 Pro v1909 build 18363.1082 * Firefox 81.0.1 * Windows Defender 4.18.2008.9 * Malwarebytes Free v4.2.1.89-1.0.1061
Dell Inspiron 15 5584, Intel i5-8265U@1.60/1.80 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB NVMe SSD, Intel UHD Graphics 620

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I will say that during a threat scan Malwarebytes will max out as much of the CPU as possible to expedite scanning. It may have been still releasing resources and you manually took care of it when quitting Malwarebytes.

Even on my paid version I always do mutual exclusions between Defender and MB just in case. It is always said it is not needed though.

Quote

C:\Windows\System32\drivers\mbae64.sys
C:\Windows\System32\drivers\mbam.sys

C:\Windows\System32\drivers\MbamElam.sys
C:\Windows\System32\drivers\MBAMChameleon.sys
C:\Windows\System32\drivers\MBAMSwissArmy.sys
C:\Windows\system32\Drivers\farflt.sys

Add to Process exclusions the following files. (copy and paste works best on these)

C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware\MbamPt.exe

C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware\mbam.exe

C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware\assistant.exe

C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware\malwarebytes_assistant.exe

C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware\MBAMWsc.exe

C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware\mbamtray.exe

C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware\MBAMService.exe

Folders
Also the MB folder in Program Files and the one in Program Data (it is hidden by default)

C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes
C:\ProgramData\Malwarebytes   (Enable hidden files to add this one.)

 

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20 hours ago, Porthos said:

...Even on my paid version I always do mutual exclusions between Defender and MB just in case...

Hi Porthos:

A few question about the list of scan exclusion you posted <above>.

Since I use 64-bit Malwarebytes Free v4.2.1 (i.e., no Ransomware or Web Protection) is normal that mbam.sys, farflt.sys and mwac.sys are missing from C:\Windows\System32\drivers?  I also forgot that Malwarebytes had to be running in order for MBAMChameleon.sys to appear in that folder, but I eventually managed to add it to my Windows Defender scan exclusions. 

Also, is mbam.sys the correct file name for 32-bit systems?  I found C:\Windows\System32\drivers\mbae64.sys on my 64-bit system but according to the MB v4 support article Malwarebytes for Windows Antivirus Exclusions List the 32-bit version of this file is mbae.sys, not mbam.sys.

According to the MS support article How to Add a File type or Process Exclusion to Windows Security the use of wildcards (*) is acceptable in Windows Defender (or Microsoft Defender Antivirus or whatever I'm supposed to call it now 🙂), so instead of adding individual .exe files to the Process exclusions I only created a single exclusion for C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware\*.exe .  The only extra executables that wildcard picks up are ig.exe (file description: Malware Scanner) and mbuns.exe (file description: Malwarebytes Setup).  I assume that's okay, given the entire C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes folder was excluded as well.

Are there instructions posted somewhere for creating mutual scan exclusions for Windows Defender files and folders in Malwarebytes at Settings | Allow List | Add? The only folders I could find that appear to be related to Windows Defender are C:\Program Files\Windows Defender, C:\Program Files\Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection and C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Defender.
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64-bit Win 10 Pro v1909 build 18363.1082 * Firefox 81.0.1 * Windows Defender 4.18.2009.7 * Malwarebytes Free v4.2.1.89-1.0.1061
Dell Inspiron 15 5584, Intel i5-8265U@1.60/1.80 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB NVMe SSD, Intel UHD Graphics 620

Edited by lmacri
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15 minutes ago, lmacri said:

Since I use 64-bit Malwarebytes Free v4.2.1 (i.e., no Ransomware or Web Protection) is normal that mbam.sys, farflt.sys and mwac.sys are missing from C:\Windows\System32\drivers? 

That is correct, Those items are only on premium. I did not edit the list for paid.

 

17 minutes ago, lmacri said:

The only folders I could find that appear to be related to Windows Defender are C:\Program Files\Windows Defender, C:\Program Files\Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection and C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Defender.

The Windows pro has the 2 extra folders as part of Defender. Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection in 2 of the folders.

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On 10/6/2020 at 7:58 AM, lmacri said:

I just installed Malwarebytes Free v4.2.1.89-1.0.1061 on my Win 10 laptop and didn't realize that there's been a recent change in the installation process per the support article Deactivate Premium Trial in Malwarebytes for Windows.  Instead of entering my email address during the installation I answered "Maybe Later" when prompted if I want to enter a product activation key.  This automatically installed Malwarebytes Free (i.e., I was not required to go to Settings | Account | Deactivate to deactivate the 14-day trial), but now I am unable to disable the Premium setting at Settings | Security | Windows Security Center | Always Register Malwarebytes in the Windows Security Center, which is turned ON by default....

Just an FYI that I posted a new topic in the Comments and Suggestions board today at Turn OFF Settings for Premium Features in MB Free by Default and suggested that Malwarebytes should revise their new installation process so that Premium features that cannot be activated in Malwarebytes Free are automatically switched OFF by default in Malwarebytes Free and then switched ON by default if the user chooses "Activate License" and activates a Premium license.
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64-bit Win 10 Pro v1909 build 18363.1082 * Firefox 81.0.1 * Windows Defender 4.18.2008.9 * Malwarebytes Free v4.2.1.89-1.0.1061
Dell Inspiron 15 5584, Intel i5-8265U@1.60/1.80 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB NVMe SSD, Intel UHD Graphics 620

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