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Malwarebytes and Anti Virus Program

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A datapoint for all - for the last couple weeks (I think that's the time period - actually don't remember) my XP Pro system has gone apparently catatonic shortly after login. The symptom was: normal boot, login screen, login...then within a minute or three - especially if starting an app up - the system would become nonresponsive however the cursor still followed mouse input. Initially I thought this was a total system freeze and would manually reboot but after thinking about it a bit realized the cursor should have been frozen as well.

Eventually, after trying way too many useless things, I just let it sit there in its frozen state.

After about 10 minutes - and this was consistent - the system would come back to life. Usually the system would become catatonic again a minute or so later but sometimes not (though this could repeat MORE than twice). Within a few tens of minutes of this unfreezing the system is "stable" and behaves as expected - no more freezes.

To make a long (multi-week!) story short, today I finally tried turning off Malwarebytes during the Windows startup sequence and the freezing seems to have stopped. I've tested this now across multiple reboots with the same satisfactory result.

My assumption is that there is a conflict between Malwarebytes and McAfee (as supplied "free" by Cox, my ISP) as the system is coming up. Unless it was done automatically by either application, I haven't tweaked either application to notice or not notice the other. Since this is a fairly recent experience (and I do not suspect hardware failure), I'm assuming one or the other application changed in a way that is not good - I suspect it is McAfee since the process structure of that product is bizarre and complex and they have a known history of getting things wrong.

But, in any case, there is an apparent conflict TODAY between Malwarebytes and McAfee on an XP Pro system that can cause an apparent freezing of the system that actually is NOT a freeze but instead a lockout of other processing until SOMETHING gets finished with whatever it is doing (like McAfee calling home or something). It appears disabling Malwarebytes on system start "fixes" the problem (note - the service "mbamservice" is NOT disabled - just the GUI bit).

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Yes, the free version from your ISP could very well be limited and may not allow exclusions to be setup.

The FAQ lists various AV programs and how to setup exclusions but reports from some users seems to indicate that the free ISP version is limited and does not allow the exclusions to be set. If that is true you may wish to remove that free version and obtain a different free version such as Microsoft Security Essentials, Avast, or Avira whom do work well with MBAM.

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