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Kudos0

Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

This is going to be a lengthy post so apologies in advance.

Since updating to NIS v21 last year I have had a problem not seen on earlier versions in that launching the admin GUI, which is very rapid on initial installation, takes progressively longer as time passes.

I got the automatic update from v20 to v21 last June.  Initially all was fine but by late September the launch time for the GUI was getting very extended.  A secondary problem then appeared in that the Norton Product Maintenance task started running for 30-40 minutes rather than the usual 1-2 seconds.  I was going to try uninstall/reinstall but before I could do that I suffered a hard drive failure.  With a warranty replacement drive from Dell, I did a fresh installation of Windows and my applications software. I then downloaded a fresh installation of NIS v21 and, once again, initially the GUI launch time was pretty much instantaneous.  That was in November but it progressively slowed and by early February it was taking in excess of a minute.  Then the extended run times of Product Maintenance started happening again.  I decided to uninstall/reinstall again and tried to uninstall but the Uninstall process froze at the "Preparing to Uninstall" stage.  I killed that and had to use the Norton Removal Tool instead to get rid of the existing NIS installation.

I downloaded and reinstalled NIS again and, yet again, the GUI launch time was initially rapid.  Now at the start of April, only two months later, it's become very slow again.  Currently, when I launch the GUI (either from the system tray icon, the desktop shortcut or the Start menu), the Norton icon appears in the Task bar immediately but it's around 15 seconds before the GUI window appears on the screen, and a further 15-20 seconds for the window to be populated with the icons and CPU usage stats.  The display then freezes for around another 30 seconds before the links/buttons become active.  Throughout the delay there is continuous hard drive traffic.  Once the GUI is launched and active, there are no delays in moving between the different options - it's just the initial launch that is slow.  (This time round I haven't yet seen the long Product Maintenance run times.)

I'm currently running NIS 21.7.0.11 plus the Norton extensions for Chrome (Toolbar 2014.7.10.28 and Identity Safe 1.0.5).  The rest of my setup is:

Dell Optiplex 790 with Windows 7 Pro 64-bit,  Microsoft Office 2010 Pro ( I only use Word, Excel and Outlook), Google Picassa 3, Google Chrome 41.0.2272.101m with the two Norton extensions and Adblock extension, APC Powerchute (UPS monitoring), Canoscan Toolbox 4.9 (Canon scanner utilities), Adobe Reader XI and Seagate Manager (data backup utility).

I've tried regularly exporting and clearing the Norton history logs to minimise any log file overhead.  I also discovered that the batches of blocked file access reports that appear frequently in the Tamper Protection history are due to Norton blocking the Windows defrag service so I have tried turning Tamper Protection off to allow the Norton files to be be defragmented.  I've also run the Norton Optimiser defragger regularly.  None of this has improved things.

Any suggestions or solutions?  Am I alone in seeing this problem?

Replies

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hi, kencl. Welcome. I'm assuming that as you've reinstalled NIS several times, that you have a clean install.

I see you've used the NRT, but have you tried using the Norton Remove and Reinstall Tool ?, as that is designed to clean up an existing install. http://www.norton.com/nrnr

If used, please read the Before you begin note and run Live Update after, until no more are found. Rebooting won't hurt either.

Another thing you could try is to go through Settings and turn off items like the Idle Time Optimizer, and uncheck any notifications/tasks you don't want/need. This will stop Norton from phoning home so much.

Others may have suggestions, also.

Windows 10 Home X 64
Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hi F4E.  Thanks for your comments.

I haven't tried the Remove and Reinstall Tool .  When the Uninstall process failed I went the Removal Tool and fresh download route to get as clean an install as possible.  But I might try the R and R option.

I note your other comments about turning off the background tasks and notifications but I don't think that's related to the problem.  I don't appear to have any performance issues with Norton's background tasks and services.  (Apart from the instances of the extended runs of the Product Maintenance task - but I can't turn that off anyway.)  It's just the launch of the GUI screen that takes an age and the problem appears to be that it's disc-bound.  It seems to take an age to find everything it needs from the disc.  Also when it does eventually launch, I often click on Performance and then on Norton Tasks and I've not seen an instance of any of the listed tasks having been running at the time that I launched the GUI.  The closest is a couple of times I've seen Pulse Updates start and finish a run as I'm looking at the Task list.

However, last September/October when I was trying to identify what was doing the 30 minute disc thrashing sessions I did progressively switch off all possible tasks and notifications but that had no impact on the slow GUI launch.  Neither did it stop the protracted runs which, after I'd discovered the Norton Tasks screen, proved to be the Product Maintenance task.

I'd welcome some input from Symantec on this.    Do the extended Product Maintenance run times or the hanging of the Uninstall process give any clues as to what might be the underlying cause?  Is there some Norton data corrupt or missing?

Obviously I could solve the immediate problem by reinstalling but then I wouldn't know for another month or two whether the GUI launch is going to slow down again.

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hi, kencl. Are any other programs running slowly, or slow to respond ?

At least using the NRRT will give you a clean install, so we can eliminate a corrupted install from the equation.

Windows 10 Home X 64
Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Thanks again, F4E.

No other programs appear to be running slowly.  IE11 does take a good few seconds to start up the first time I open it after a system boot but thereafter it opens pretty much instantly.  Everything else, including Chrome which I normally use rather than IE, starts up without any delays.  It's only the Norton GUI that is slow every time I open it, not just on the first open after a boot.

Looks like I may have no other option than to reinstall Norton again.  I'll try the NRRT route this time just for experience as I haven't used that tool before.  I'll do that in the next few days and see how we go.  I've got some other important stuff going on at the moment that I need the PC for, otherwise I'd try it straight away.

As the problem builds up over several weeks, what I'll do, assuming the reinstall cures the slow launch, is to post a weekly update to this thread reporting any further slowing of the GUI launch.

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Well, after a few days more than planned, I finally got around to trying the Norton RnR tool.  Successfully, it seems.  I can now launch the NIS GUI and have it fully functional in around 1 second, just as it was immediately following the previous installs.   (In recent days the launch time had got even longer and was taking over a minute.)

One thing I did differently this time was to manually remove the two Norton extensions from Chrome before I removed and reinstalled the main product.  Whether that makes a difference, only time will tell.

There was one slight oddity in that, although I was on NIS 21.7.0.11, the RnR tool said it was going to remove and reinstall 21.6.0.32, and that's the version that I got after the reinstall phase.  But a run of Live Update got me back onto 21.7.0.11.

As I mentioned in my last post, all I can do now is monitor the situation to see if the GUI launch time deteriorates again.  I'll post a weekly update of any changes or otherwise to the response time.

Thanks again, F4E, for your help.

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hi kenci,

In regards to your "slight oddity".  It is expected, after a recent release of an update that changes the version number.(In as 21.6 to 21.7)  Norton normally does the new version update in a phased manner and until such time as the update is released to everyone (we are talking all the different  languages), this is the normal method running the NRnRT.  Once all languages are released and the newest version (21.7) has been placed on the Norton Update Center, then the NRnRT will provide 21.7.  Until that time it will provide 21.36 and then offer the update to 21.7 via LiveUpdate.

Probably more info than you need, but I tried to explain it.

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hi, yank,

Thanks for your explanation of the version oddity.   That makes sense.

One other detail:  in my answer to F4E's second reply I said that the only other performance problem was that the initial opening of IE11 was also slow.   I've now found that the NIS reinstall appears to have fixed that problem too.

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hi, kencl. Glad to hear things seem to be working normally. It's amazing how often a reboot and/or using the NRRT, can fix a seemingly unrelated problem !

Windows 10 Home X 64
Kudos1 Stats

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hi, F4E,

You're right, reinstalling/restarting often fixes things but I find it frustrating not knowing why.

Being an old timer, I spent many years writing and maintaining assembler code for real-time communications systems and with those old beasts we knew everything that went on in the systems in bit-twiddling detail, so when we fixed a problem we understood the "what" and "why" as well as the "how".

With modern systems with so much proprietary code the "poke and hope" approach is often the only way but it doesn't sit well with me.

That's why I said in an earlier post that I would have welcomed some input from Symantec.  Someone in the Norton team must understand the processing involved in opening the GUI so ought to have an idea as to what slows it down with the passage of time.

But thanks again for your help and advice - it's much appreciated.

Like I said, I'll monitor the performance over the coming weeks and update this thread regularly. 

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

It's now 8 days since I reinstalled NIS so here's the promised weekly update.

It seems that the opening of the GUI has slowed slightly.  Last week it was open and functional within a second, now it's taking 2-3 seconds for the GUI window to appear and a further second to be fully populated and become responsive.  It's difficult to be exact with such small timing changes so I'll just keep monitoring and report further.

In the meantime, I've been pursuing my thought that the delays I'd been seeing might be due to a progressive build up of files that NIS has to access when opening the GUI.  I've a good look around the PC for any related temp files but haven't (yet) found anything.  But I have found an anomaly with the files associated with the protection definition sets.

Looking down the path C:\Programfiles(x86)\Norton Internet Security\NortonData\21.6.0.32\Definitions, under there are 11 sub-folders, one for each set of protection definitions.  In each of those there is BinHub folder, a  newdefs_trigger folder, some miscellaneous files and a folder with a name of the form  yyyymmdd.nnn, which is where all the relevant definition data is stored.   In three cases (BASHDefs, IPSDefs and VirusDefs) the yyyymmdd.nnn folder contains .dll files and system files in addition to data files.    In almost all cases, whenever the definition set is updated a new yyyymmdd.nnn folder is created and the old one deleted.  The exception is the IPSDefs, where a new yyyymmdd.nnn  folder is created but older versions are retained.    I reinstalled last Thursday and by Sunday I'd already got three yyyymmdd.nnn folders under IPSDefs.    As that's one of the three cases where the folders contain DLLs, I started wondering if replication of those DLLs might be related to the slowing down problem, particularly if the number of yyyymmdd.nnn folders continued to build up.

However, I now think that's a red herring.  I run an email group for 40+ former colleagues and I asked any NIS or 360 users in that group to check their PCs.  The worst case found was a 360 user who had 6 yyyymmdd.nnn folders under IPSDefs (the oldest was from last October), and that's on an installation that's been running for several years.  Otherwise people had only 2 or 3 folders, and my own setup has now dropped to only 2.

So I don't think that's the cause of my slow-down problem but I still think it's an anomaly that Live-Update behaves differently with the IPSDefs as compared to the other 10 definition sets.  If Tony Weiss or another Symantec administrator is monitoring this thread then perhaps we could have some input on this oddity.

Interestingly, none of Norton users in my email group have seen the GUI slow-down problem, so it's beginning to look like something specific to my installation - maybe interaction with another application.  I'll keep hunting.

Unless I make a major discovery in the meantime, I'll post another update next week.

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hi, kencl. I just opened NS, and it took one second on my humbly specced machine !

I'd be looking at what else is running, and see via Task Manager what else may be chewing up resources.

Windows 10 Home X 64
Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hi F4E, thanks for your continuing interest and further suggestion.

However, I've already been down that route and I'm pretty sure that nothing else is chewing up resources.  Prior my recent reinstall when the delay was getting bad again, I tried closing all other applications before launching the NIS GUI and it made no difference.  I also tried having Task Manager and Resource Monitor running as I launched NIS and all that proved was that NIS generates an enormous amount of disk activity during the launch.

That confirmed what I already knew from simply watching the HDD activity led when I open the NIS GUI.  From the moment I click on the icon up to the time that the GUI window is displayed, fully populated and responsive the led never goes out.  NIS is loading or verifying a shedload of data as part of the open process.  I just can't get a handle on what that data is.

At the moment with the launch time being around the 4 second mark, it's difficult to do any meaningful testing.  If the delays start to extend again, I'll repeat the Task Manager/Resource Monitor checking to see if I can spot anything.

I might also try a suggestion that my son came up with to eliminate the possibility of interaction with other applications, which is to create another user account on the PC with no applications assigned to it and to compare the NIS GUI launch time for that user with my own.  But, again, not a lot of point at the moment as the delay is currently not significant. 

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

FWIW ~ I see steady led until NIS GUI opens.   No worries. 

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hi, kencl. It seems likely that some other program is interacting with NIS. Have you tried running a Windows File Check, to see if that picks up anything ?

Some options are listed in this link.

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/termss/p/sfc-command-system-file-checker.htm

Assuming your NIS install is running properly, it's worth checking other areas.

Windows 10 Home X 64
Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hi, F4E.  Thanks for your Windows File Check suggestion.

I haven't tried that but it might be worth giving it a go.  To be honest, I'd be surprised if it found anything wrong with the system files as I've seen my problem both before and after the complete reinstallation of Windows made necessary by the hard drive failure last November.    As I think I said before, when I replaced the drive I didn't restore Windows from a backup - I did a fresh install from the Windows DVD that Dell supplied with the PC.  (In fact, all the software on the PC was freshly installed.    Only my data was restored from back-ups.)

But you never know - it might reveal something.    I'll give it a run.

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

I'm a day or two late with the weekly update this week, but better late than never.

I followed F4E's suggestion and ran the Windows System File Check.  That didn't find any problems, as I suspected would be the case, given that my NIS issue existed before and after a complete Windows reinstall.  But certainly worth doing to eliminate potential problems.

As regards the NIS GUI launch performance, it has slowed a little more since last week but the delay has changed slightly.  It's now taking around 5-6 seconds for the GUI window to appear but there is then virtually no further delay before all the icons appear and the functions become responsive.

This change may or may not be related to a change I've made on the PC since last week.  I've removed the Adblock extension to Chrome.   I regularly swap emails on PC matters with a guy I used to work with so I went back though those mails to identify any non-NIS changes that I might have made to the PC around the time that the GUI issue became apparent.  I found that I installed Adblock in May 2014, a month before I got the NIS upgrade from v20 to v21.    I also reinstalled Adblock with Chrome after the hard drive failure.    So the timespan over which I've had Adblock on the PC is a reasonable match to the timespan in which I've had the NIS problem.  So maybe removing Adblock is the reason why the GUI delay characteristics have changed slightly.  What it hasn't done is restore the GUI delay to around a second, as it was originally, but maybe it will stop it getting any longer.  (The Adblock website claims that removing it gets rid of all traces of its existence, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is still some of its data on the PC, although I've not yet found any.)

Watch this space.

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hi, kencl. Do you have Adblock or Adblock Plus ? That's the one most of us use.

https://adblockplus.org/

I found Chrome to be problematic with extensions,so I uninstalled it and use Adblock Plus with FF, and it doesn't slow things appreciably.

Windows 10 Home X 64
Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hi F4E,

I was using Adblock, not Adblock Plus.  The guy I mentioned in my last post recommended it.  He had previously used Adblock Plus with Chrome but had problems with it after a Chrome upgrade, so he switched to Adblock.   (It was a Chrome issue, not an ABP problem, and was subsequently fixed by yet another release of Chrome, but by then he had switched to Adblock.) 

I recently had a mail from him saying that he's switched again and is now using μBlock, which is only available for Chrome, not other browsers.  He reckons it works well - just as effective as the other products at blocking ads but with less performance impact. 

I'll carry on without an ad blocker for now while I'm monitoring the NIS GUI problem but then I might try μBlock myself.  That's if I'm still using Chrome as I am getting a bit disillusioned with it.  Google keep pumping out new releases, each one bringing some new piece of nonsense that nobody really needs.

As for the main subject of this thread, the NIS GUI launch delay is little changed since yesterday but the change in the characteristics of the delay that I reported in my last post is no longer evident.  It's now back to as it was with a delay before the window appears and then a further delay until the icons appear and the window becomes responsive.

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Fwiw, I dumped Chrome. Too much trouble, so I just use FF and IE.

Firefox has a memory leak issue, but Chrome was using lots of resources, so it was bye bye Chrome.

Windows 10 Home X 64
Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Another week, another update.

I've had to run the RnR tool again, not so much because of the user interface delay problem but because the other symptom, the crazy run-times of the Product Maintenance task reappeared yesterday, and this time it was back with a vengeance.

It's weird because I had that problem towards the end of the June-November period last year, just prior to my hard drive failure, and again in February just before I used the removal tool and reinstalled Norton.  But I didn't see the problem between February  and April.  I only reinstalled in April (using the RnR tool) because the GUI delay issue was getting out of hand.  But now, barely three weeks later, the Product Maintenance issue returned.

From the April reinstall until yesterday, each run was reported as being 1 or 2 seconds.  But at 2246 (UK time) yesterday it ran for 13 mins 7 secs.  An hour later I saw that something was generating continuous disc traffic.  After 15 minutes I opened Norton and , after a very long delay, managed to get into the Norton Tasks screen and confirmed it was Product Maintenance.  Using Task Manager/Resource Monitor, I found it was doing continuous disc writes - no reads at all, just a steady 3Mbytes/sec stream of writes.  After 30 minutes, I killed it by restarting the PC.  Thirty minutes later it ran for 1 min 57 secs and then "Failed to Complete".  I then shut down for the night.

After rebooting today, it went berserk again and, as before, Resource Monitor showed it was just doing continuous disc writes.  But the available storage on the drive wasn't reducing so it was either repeating the same write continuously or it was writing to unallocated clusters.  So I killed it again and ran the RnR tool - everything is now back to normal.

As ever, some input from Symantec would be useful on this.  What disc writes is Product Maintenance supposed to do?

As regards the GUI open delay, up to yesterday that had lengthened slightly again, taking 10-12 seconds for everything to be up and responsive.  I had begun to notice another delay issue in that, once the interface was responsive, if I clicked on Performance to spin into the performance screen, another 6-7 seconds would elapse before the Norton Tasks, Norton Insight and Startup Manager links became active.

Since my last post I've discovered two points relating to Identity Safe.  Firstly, it seems that the other Norton users in my email group, who haven't seen the same problems as me, don't use the Identity Safe.  Secondly, I also found that v21 of NIS saw the introduction of an automatic backup facility for Identity Safe which regularly backs up the vault contents to a folder under the user's Documents folder and, as with the issue I found with old versions of the IPSDefs being retained, older backups are never deleted.  I can't really see that that's a major issue as the files are just user data, but I'm at the stage now where I'll try anything, so I've switched off the auto backups and deleted the backup folder.  (I did the deletion between the Remove and Reinstall phases of RnR.)  If that doesn't improve things, I'll try turning off Identity Safe completely.

As ever, watch this space.

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Here we are, one week on from the last RnR, and with the Identity Safe auto-backup still switched off.

It's difficult to be sure, but I think that may have improved things.  The time to open the GUI has slowed very slightly since last week, but not as much as it did over the first week following the last reinstall - it's 2-3 seconds for it to be open and fully responsive.   But with such small changes, it's not easy to be precise.  I need to let it run a while longer and see what happens.

I may be off the radar for the next week or two but I'll post a further update as soon as I can.

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Right.  I'm back in harness after being away for a couple of weeks.   Guess what?  I've had to run RnR yet again.

The GUI opening time had slowed to about 6 seconds (although it was fully responsive as soon as it opened) but on Wednesday the crazy run times of the Product Maintenance task kicked off again.  (Just over 30 minutes on Wednesday evening and a "failed to complete" after 53 minutes yesterday.)    Same symptoms as last time - just doing continuous 3Mbytes/sec disc writes.

So it looks like the Identity Safe auto-backup was not the problem.

As my last RnR was on May 11th, and the PC was switched off for 15 days while I was away, the elapsed up-time before the Product Maintenance issue recurred was only just over 2 weeks.  Last time round it  was 3 weeks.  Prior to starting to use  the RnR tool, the intervals were more like 2-3 months, so I'm beginning to think that RnR is possibly retaining something other than my user settings.  If the problem recurs again quickly then I'll go back to using the Removal Tool and doing a completely fresh download of NIS.

As all my previous suspicions of what might be interacting with NIS have seemingly proved to be red herrings, the next item on the list of things that have changed during the time that I have been seeing these issues is Chrome and the separate Norton extensions (Toolbar and Identity Safe) made necessary by google's policy change last year.  (OK, that change initially happened early last year while I was still on NIS v20, but I got the upgrade to v21 not long after and started to see the problems build up over the next 2-3 months.)

So, prior to doing the latest RnR, I removed the two Norton extensions for Chrome and uninstalled Chrome itself.  I've gone back to using IE11.   (That now seems much faster than Chrome, confirming that Chrome had acquired a lot of bloat-ware in the recent versions.)

We'll see what difference that makes.  GUI launch time is currently 1-2 seconds and the Product Maintenance task run time is back to 1 seconds.

As ever, watch this space.

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hi, kencl. One of the reasons I removed Chrome. It ate up way too much resources.

I find Firefox slightly better in that regard, but IE works well with Norton.

Windows 10 Home X 64
Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

OK.  Nine days on since my last post and the GUI launch time is slowing again.

Task bar icon appears immediately, window opens in 3-4 seconds with a further 3 seconds before it's fully populated with the icons, etc.   But the icons and links are responsive as soon as they appear.

Product Maintenance task run times generally OK at present.  There was one run of 1 min 58 secs yesterday but otherwise it's been the normal 1 second.

So the fact it's still slowing down suggests that Chrome was not the problem.  I'm beginning to run out of options as to what else could be interacting with NIS to cause the problem.

But I'll keep monitoring and see how things develop. 

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

A bit late with this weeks update - fortuitously as it turns out.

The GUI launch time had slowed further - about six seconds for the window to open and a further four to five seconds for the icons and links to appear and become responsive.

But now everything has changed.   Overnight I've got the upgrade from 21.7.0.11 to 22.5.0.124.  So, at the moment, all the delays have gone.

We'll see how this version behaves.  As ever, watch this space.

One odd consequence of the version change is that the log-in process to this forum also seems to have changed.  When the "login" button on this thread page is clicked, the Norton Account log-in screen is displayed but that wouldn't accept either my Norton account log-in or my forum log-in.  I eventually managed to get in by first logging in to my Norton account, then linking to the forum, clicking "Log-In" again and receiving and responding to a "Confirm your email address" email from Symantec.  I suspect what is actually needed to log-in now may be the account username (email address) plus the forum password.   (Although, once in, my original forum user name is displayed.)

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

kencl:

[…]

One odd consequence of the version change is that the log-in process to this forum also seems to have changed.  When the "login" button on this thread page is clicked, the Norton Account log-in screen is displayed but that wouldn't accept either my Norton account log-in or my forum log-in.  I eventually managed to get in by first logging in to my Norton account, then linking to the forum, clicking "Log-In" again and receiving and responding to a "Confirm your email address" email from Symantec.  I suspect what is actually needed to log-in now may be the account username (email address) plus the forum password.   (Although, once in, my original forum user name is displayed.)

Please see the link in the "New Login Process" notice at the top right side of this page.  

Windows 7 HP SP1 32-bit | Chrome 65.0.3325.146 | NS 22.12.1.15
Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Thanks, Rainbow_2.

Yes, I feel a bit of an idiot now.  I spotted the link about the new login procedure just as I was logging out after my last post.  It's all working as described now.

Only slight annoyance is that Norton Identity Safe won't now recognise and auto-fill the login page.  It does work if you open the vault and click on the saved login, but that takes you into the Norton Account and not to the forum. 

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hello

Norton is aware of that problem and is working on a fix.

Success always occurs in private and failure in full view. Windows 7 Pro 64 bit Norton Core Security Plus 22.17.3.50 Core Firmware 282 I E 11 Chrome latest version.
Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Well, it's been 4 weeks since my last post following the upgrade from 21.7.0.11 to 22.5.0.124, and along the way I've had the further update to 22.5.2.15.  So, has the new version solved my problem with the progressive slowing of the GUI opening?   Answer - NO.

When the upgrade first installed, the GUI response went back to pretty much instantaneous but, after 4 weeks, it had slowed to around 12 seconds.   There is a difference though in the sense that, with v21,  the delay was independent of the method of launching the GUI (Start menu, left-click system tray icon, right-click icon then click "Open" or double-click Desktop icon).  However, with v22, there are differences in the delay for the window to open (with the Desktop icon being quickest) but the overall delay until the window is fully populated is fairly constant.  The slowest launch is from the system tray icon but with that method the GUI window opens fully populated.

As regards the other related issue with the extended run times of the Product Maintenance task, there haven't been any extreme examples but I have seen one run of 1 min 34 secs and another of 4 mins 50 secs in recent days.    But I have had an issue with the Identity Safe Maintenance task.  It seemed to have got stuck in a permanent attempt to run.   Every time I opened the interface and went into the Background Tasks Configure screen, Identity Safe Maintenance was reported as "Failed to Complete" at the time the PC last came out of Idle.

So yesterday I bit the bullet and removed NIS and reinstalled yet again.  Given my previous noted concern that using the RnR tool seemed to result in a more rapid reappearance of the problems, this time I used the Removal Tool, restarted and then did a completely fresh download via my Norton account to get a completely clean install.  One immediate advantage of going that route was I got an immediate install of 22.5.2.15 rather than getting an older version (as often happened with RnR) and then having to get a version update.

So currently, everything is lightning fast again but, as ever, we'll see how it goes.

One change I've made this time is I've switched off Identity Safe.  The three guys in my email community who are fellow Norton users have not seen the same issues as me and they all tell me that they don't use Identity Safe.  As per my earlier post re the Identity Safe automatic back-ups, switching off Identity Safe itself was one of my next moves.  We'll see if that makes a difference.

Watch this space.

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

OK, so my weekly updates seem to have gone out the window as we're now two months on since my last post.

Switching off Identity Safe did not solve my problem of the progressive slowing of the NIS GUI launch.  After two months since my last reinstall, the launch time has lengthened to between 10 and 18 seconds, depending the method of opening (Desktop Icon, System Tray Icon or Start Menu).  Also the related problem I noted very early in this thread of the first launch of IE11 after a reboot taking forever has also resurfaced.   Along the way, in addition to having Identity Safe switched off, I've also switched off Disk Optimiser, Performance Monitoring and the 30-day Report.    None of those steps has eliminated the problem.

Neither has the upgrade from 22.5.2.15 to 22.5.4.24, which I received about 10 days ago.

As the problem still seems to be a gradual build up of data that NIS has to access on disk before it can open the GUI, I'd started another exercise of looking at all the data associated with NIS in an attempt to get a handle on the problem but I had to abandon that today when the other symptom of problem, the crazy extended run times of the Product Maintenance task, kicked off again.  I had a run of 29 minutes, then a normal one second run and then a run of 32 minutes.  As the PC is virtually unusable while those extended runs are taking place,  I decided to re-install yet again.    I used the latest release of the Removal Tool (22.5.0.17) to remove NIS and then downloaded a fresh install of 22.5.4.24 from my account.

As this is a clean install of the latest version with no baggage from the earlier version, we'll see how we go this time.

As ever, watch this space.

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

It's been a while since I updated this thread but that doesn't mean that the issue is solved.  Far from it - the problem is recurring more frequently.  Since my last post I've had to remove and reinstall NIS on 19th October, 26th November, 5th January and again on 19th January.  Each time because the crazy extended run times of Product Maintenance had started again - this week I was seeing run times of 50 minutes instead of the usual 1-2 seconds.   On all four occasions the GUI launch times had started to extend again but only by a few seconds.

I don't know whether this is a clue to the problems  but, having found I can terminate a long run of Product Maintenance by switching on Silent Mode, I've also discovered that if Silent Mode is on the GUI launch time goes back to being almost instantaneous.

I still suspect that the problems are cause by a gradual build up of disk data so I've tried another approach to identifying what it is.  A friend recommended the GetFolderSize utility which scans a disk drive and produces a report of all the file folders and their sizes.   Unlike similar utilities (e.g., Treesize), GetFolderSize offers the option of saving the report to a delimited text file.    By running and saving a report after a clean install of NIS and then again when problems develop, it's then fairly straight forward to import the two reports into a spreadsheet and use the VLOOKUP function to match on the folder names from the two reports and report any folder that has increased in size by more than a given percentage.  Unfortunately, the first attempt did not reveal anything significant but I've now got another two reports to try so I'll repeat the spreadsheet process and see if anything shows up.

Once again, watch this space.   

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Hi

Could this problem have something to do with fragmented Norton folders/files?

"There are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know,we don't know." Donald Rumsfeld
Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Thanks for the thought, Bamboozle, but I'm pretty sure that's not the problem.

I now have to reinstall so frequently that there isn't really time for serious fragmentation of Norton files/folders to develop.  Also, when my hard drive failed in late 2014, Dell replaced the failed 500GB drive with a 1TB drive, which is is only 9% full, so with 91% free the file system should not be facing conditions where severe fragmentation is likely.  When I try a defragmentation, the defragger reports very low fragmentation and does not attempt to defragment.

Kudos0

Re: Progressive slowing of NIS GUI launch

Well, OK.  304 days after I started this thread, and with absolutely no input or help from Symantec, I've finally solved this issue.  I've fixed it by putting an entry in the Widows "hosts" file.  Sounds crazy, I know, but it works. I've always suspected that the problem was due to a steady build up of Norton-related data on disk and I now know that it was in fact Norton Community Watch data which was building up as one or more components of NIS could not contact the Norton stats server.  Here's the full story.

I repeated the exercise of comparing two of the reports generated by the GetFolderSize utility.    I used a report generated immediately after I reinstalled at the end of November and one I generated just before having to reinstall yet again at the beginning of January.   As before, I imported the reports into Excel, matched the two sets of folder names with the VLOOKUP function and calculated the growth in folder size.   Had a look at the Excel results and – BINGO – found a Norton folder that had increased in size by a factor of 35, from 532KB to something over 19MB.

The folder is C:\ProgramData\Norton\{0C55C096-0F1D-4F28-AAA2-85EF591126E7}\NIS_22.5.4.24\diStRptr.  It contains 2 files, a DAT file (diStRptr.dat) and an associated log file.   I then went on the community.norton  forums and searched on diStRptr and found around 15 threads all reporting issues with those files.     The common theme is very high disk write I/O rendering machines unusable for long periods of time.  Some posts have made the connection with the Product Maintenance task (which is what I've seen), others have noted the knock-on issue of IE performance becoming sluggish (also seen by me).  Strangely, no one else has reported the slowing of the GUI launch, which was my starting point.  Maybe others just don’t open the interface that often.

It seems that those files are tied up with the Norton Community Watch facility, where Norton “phones home” regularly to submit statistical info re PC activity, internet access, sites visited, suspect files, etc. for analysis as part of Symantec’s detection of new threats.    It looks like that those reports are saved in the DAT file if NIS cannot make contact with the relevant server.  In one thread there is a suggestion that the problem is due to Norton not being able to contact the stats.qalabs.symantec.com server and then not automatically switching to use the alternate stats.norton.com server.  (It’s certainly true that I can’t ping the former but the latter responds OK.)  Other suggestions are that the Symantec site is used only for testing and the Norton site for production versions of the code.  If that’s true, then it seems a bit amateurish to leave test code in the product when it’s released.  Surely it would be more sensible to have the code pick up the server URL from a parameter file and have different parameter files for the testing and production environments.

I checked the current DAT file on my setup and found it had grown to around 5MB since I had to reinstall yet again on Jan 19th   I then checked with the other Norton users in my email circle that I mentioned earlier in this thread and found that they’ve never had Community Watch turned on and their diStRptr.dat files were just a few tens of KBs.    So I then turned the Community Watch option off on my PC.

I checked again the following day and found that, although the rate of growth of the file had slowed with Community Watch off, it was still increasing by 5KB on every second or third run of Product Maintenance.  I then went back to the other threads I had found which identified the server problems and noted that one guy who ran a small network linked through a proxy server had cleared the problem by mapping stats.qalabs.symantec.com to the same IP address as stats.norton.com on his proxy server.  I then did the same thing by using the "hosts" file.  I pinged stats.norton.com to get its IP address and then mapped that address to stats.qalabs.symantec.com with an entry in C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts.

Almost immediately after I set up the hosts entry things started happening.  Another DAT file (diStPing.dat) appeared in the diStRptr folder and a long(ish) run of Product Maintenance kicked off (took about 5 minutes).  During that run the diStRptr log file increased up to around 700KB and then progressively reduced, finishing back at 1KB when the run completed.  The diStRptr.dat file size (which had now grown to 5.6MB) did not change at that stage but, thereafter, it didn’t increase in size any more.  Over the next couple of hours Product Maintenance ran for various durations ( 1 second, 29 minutes, 15 minutes, 5 minutes). During one run I was monitoring the diStRptr folder and finally saw the diStRptr.dat reducing in size, initially by a few KBs, but then when the run finished it suddenly dropped back to just 34KB.

With that file size reduction, the launch time of the NIS GUI, which had lengthened to about 4 seconds since I last reinstalled on Jan 19th,  went back to being virtually instantaneous, suggesting that the growth of that DAT file was indeed my problem all along.  It also suggests that the other symptom I was seeing with the crazy run times of Product Maintenance was down to that task attempting to clear out the DAT file but not being able to because it couldn’t contact the stats server.

While all this was going on, I switched Community Watch back on and that caused the new diStPing DAT file to expand up to just over 1.6MB but that too gradually reduced in size over the next day or so.    When I rebooted the following morning it was down to 751KB, increased again up to just under 900KB, then reduced down to 354KB after the 2338 run of Product Maintenance and was then deleted by the 0008 run early this morning.

I'm guessing that the "Ping” bit of diStPing stands for Pending, as the Community Watch history log showed most of the new entries after I switched it back on as “Pending” although they then progressively changed to “Submitted”.    Prior to this I’ve not seen a “Pending” entry in that log for ages, they’ve always been “Submitted”.  I now cynically think that actually meant “Well, I tried to submit it but couldn’t, so I’ll say I have and just leave it cluttering up your PC.”

Meantime the diStRptr.dat file has stayed constant at 34KB and the GUI launch time remains instantaneous. Generally everything on the PC now seems to be that bit slicker.

As I hinted at the start of this post, although I've had helpful suggestions from other community members, there has been no input at all from the Symantec folk who monitor the forum.  I'm not impressed.

The other threads I found did indicate some input from Symantec but also showed that this problem has been known about for at least two years yet nothing has been done to fix it.    It was also apparent that the general response from Support has been "Uninstall and Reinstall".  OK, that will temporarily fix the problem and some users have accepted that as a solution but, a couple of months down the line when the file size builds up again, they're going to see the problem re-occur.

Having finally put this thread to bed I'm going to start another one specifically about the Community Watch server issue to see if that will attract Symantec's attention.

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