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Thread: vsmon excessive file reads overwhelming disk

  1. #1
    hrafn Guest

    Default vsmon excessive file reads overwhelming disk

    I have been trying to track down a problem where my system suddenly becomes unresponsive for 30-60 seconds at a time. Interestingly, there is nothing obvious chewing CPU cycles. I finally noticed that these non-responsive periods corresponded with 85-90% disk read activity. Using Sysinternals' File Monitor I was able to see that this excessive disk activity corresponds to periods when vsmon is reading some very large (3.6GB) self-extracting archives (restores) that I have stored on one of my disks.

    Why is vsmon doing this? It is behaving like an antivirus program that is scanning for viruses. No internet access activity is involved, these files are just sitting there waiting for me to do something with them.

    I really need help. I have used ZoneAlarm for a long, long time without any problem (also in the present configuration on the present machine).

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Operating System:Windows XP Pro
    Software Version:7.0
    Product Name:ZoneAlarm Pro

  2. #2
    watcher Guest

    Default Re: vsmon excessive file reads overwhelming disk

    Dear hrafn:

    If you check Task Manager, you will see that vsmon.exe process consumes 100% CPU for approx. 30-45 seconds, during which time the computer is unresponsive. It's only when you first connect to the Internet. I've discussed this previously with another forum member but neither of us had a solution. It's a bug of some sort, because it is reproducible, but I can live with it until the next version comes out. If anyone has a solution to this annoyance, please let us know.

    WATCHER

  3. #3
    hrafn Guest

    Default Re: vsmon excessive file reads overwhelming disk

    This is a little bit different. True, the problem occurs on startup, but also oftentimes when executing a program. CPU cycles (3.6GHz dual core) rarely go above 30-40%, but the system hangs nonetheless. Disk access is pushed to the limit, however, due to vsmon reading an executable file -- BUT NOT the executable that elicited the problem (nor associated in any way with the program I am attempting to start).

    Given that the file being scanned is 3.6GB (self-extracting archive), I could understand, except that the file being scanned is not the one I have tried to execute.

    I am sure that the problems are related. Perhaps in my case the bus speed (800MHz) is the limiting factor and I only see it because of the ridiculous size of the file. Now that I have moved all of those files off-line I don't have the problem.

    Perhaps the behavior is the same in each case, but the degree and manner in which the problem manifests is dependent upon the processor and file size. That would account for the observations that I have read about thus far.

    Are there any ZoneAlarm engineers monitoring this forum that could make use of this information?

  4. #4
    watcher Guest

    Default Re: vsmon excessive file reads overwhelming disk

    Dear hrafn:

    Checkpoint does not monitor this site, or so I've read many times on this forum.

    Your processor is more than double the speed of mine, and mine is only single core. I have a Pentium M based on a P3 core. That is probably why mine encounters 100% CPU utilization and yours less than half.

    I don't have the problem of any large file being scanned, but that would explain a delay if you had ZAPRO scheduled to run an antispyware sweep. I have mine disabled most of the time. I only activate it when doing an on-demand scan.

    Hopefully, a forum member may answer your question.

    WATCHER

  5. #5

    Default Re: vsmon excessive file reads overwhelming disk

    Hi, apart from ZA Pro - what other security products are installed? Any other anti-virus, anti-spyware, etc products?

    Do you have a previous installation of Norton or McAfee on the PC?

  6. #6
    hrafn Guest

    Default Re: vsmon excessive file reads overwhelming disk

    NOD32 and SpySweeper

    Traces of a previous installation of Norton were removed using the Norton Removal Tool

    FileMon allows me to see all file accesses -- it was definitely vsmon that was responsible for the reads (which again I could understand *if* the file was being accessed, but to examine that file when I was executing a completely different program makes no sense whatsoever.\

  7. #7
    peers Guest

    Default Re: vsmon excessive file reads overwhelming disk

    Hi, same problem here. It started about 2 weeks ago, when I returned from holiday. Excessiv disk activity definitely from process vsmon.exe at system startup and when starting programs, nearly no CPU load (<5%) at that time (dual core E6600 at 2,4 Ghz). I have been using Zonealarm for 3 years now and never had these problems before. I assume they came with an automatic update. No solution so far, maybe next update helps.

  8. #8
    steelen Guest

    Default Re: vsmon excessive file reads overwhelming disk

    Hi - I also now have this issue with Zonealrm Pro just in the last week or so, after yeasrs of running with no problem. Execution of a program like IE, or COD2, or Word sends the hard drive crazy and the system slows to a halt, but CPU shows almost no activity.
    If I exit Zonealarm Pro, the condition stops, and at the moment I am increasingly running with it disabled as it is driving me crazy.

  9. #9
    cheapmustard Guest

    Default Re: vsmon excessive file reads overwhelming disk

    Same problem here. It happens on the first access of any program (Word, Excel, CoD4, etc.) When that program is subsequently accessed again, the hard disk hammering does not recur. It's maddening! I'm about to dump ZA....

  10. #10
    cheapmustard Guest

    Default Re: vsmon excessive file reads overwhelming disk

    In my case, using ProcMon, I discovered that vsmon was scanning a 1.8GB file EVERY TIME a program was started up for the first time (btw, it was the Crysis demo sitting in my downloads directory... why in the world vsmon decided it had to scan that is beyond me... I deleted the Crysis demo and all was healed...)

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