Saturday, April 4, 2015

McAfee and Thunderbird - Don't Bother Trying to Mix These

You'd be better off mixing ammonia and bleach in a small room than trying to get McAfee antivirus to work with Thunderbird e-mail.  But, at least, the household chemical companies put warning labels on the containers.

Setting Up a Replacement Computer

I just purchased a new Dell laptop to gain a larger disk drive and more memory.  These were starting to become issues on my previous Dell laptop.

I stuck with Windows 7, of course, even though ZDnet finally pronounced Windows 8 usable about ten months ago.

After getting the computer booted up, I installed my Internet connection and the three web browsers, IE (just because I might need it), Chrome (because it really is fast - especially with Paul Kimpel's Burroughs 205 emulator) and Firefox (because I am used to it.)  This also helps me deal with reading more than 10 NYT articles in a month.  I have one correspondent who frequently sends me links to the NYT.

The Anti-Virus Program

I like to describe both Norton and McAfee products as computer viruses.  They sneak onto your new computer in a deceptive manner (by claiming to prevent problems and being planted there by hardware vendors) and cause performance problems or program failures.  Nevertheless, when McAfee caught me browsing the Internet without "real-time protection," I decided to give it another chance.  I gave it the go-ahead to save me from the evils that lurk beyond my firewall.

Next up was my e-mail.  I use Thunderbird and have for many, many years.  I have been very happy with the product.  I would say totally satisfied except that they inserted this bug into the software last fall and still have not fixed it (but there is a workaround.)  I downloaded Thunderbird and then moved my profile with 9 gigabytes of old messages onto the new computer.  Getting my e-mail vendor passwords updated is another irritant with Thunderbird but I got through that too.

Then, I sent myself a message.  Thunderbird hung - and hung for over five minutes!  It finally came back to life.  Just a one-time issue, I thought.  Perhaps some kind of initiation ritual.

Later, I heard the "you've got mail" ding.  I checked Thunderbird.  Dead - or at least comatose.  I fired up the task manager.  McAfee has a process taking 25% of the system processor resources.  So, I must really have a four-processor system!  A CPU-intensive task now only takes 25% of the system instead of 50% or 100% - ah, sweet progress.  But that McAfee task has effectively stopped Thunderbird while letting everything else run.

The problem is McAfee - as usual

So, I Googled "Thunderbird McAfee slow".  O, yeah - big time issue.  Has been for years.   And, as usual, neither party wants to deal with it.  And people that bring it up in support forums get slapped around for not providing enough information.  That and forum-joining requirements is why I just bitch about it on my blog instead of trying to get someone to fix it.

Diagnosing the problem is not hard.  I have lots of messages in my Inbox.  Over 7000 marked as unread on my laptop, over 30,000 on the desktop.  Yes, I can find the e-mail that you sent me in 2004.  To go back beyond that I have to leave the inbox.  This is why I use Thunderbird.  It searches well and sorts all of those messages by "From" or "Subject" almost instantly. 

Diagnosing the Problem for Them

Pretty clearly, McAfee's "real time protection" is wasting a lot of time looking through either the whole Inbox or the Unread messages in the box.  When I have some spare time, I will figure out which it is and update this post. 

Short-Term and Long-Term Fix for the Problem

Meanwhile, I shall eliminate McAfee's real-time function.

No wonder people keep abandoning Microsoft and going to Apple.