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Background tasks performed when system is NOT IDLE

While pc is busy downloading a large number of files or installing a new program I get a message: "Norton 360 is performing background tasks while system is idle." This Norton activity slows down and sometimes disrupts what the pc is doing. How can I stop this from happening?

Thématiques: Background Tasks

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Re: Background tasks performed when system is NOT IDLE

Hello DR. Check the setting in the screenshot below in your Norton settings. Its under Tasks Scheduling. Make sure its set to "Run only at idle time".

Cheers

Retired military (Navy 1980-2002) "From DOS to Windows10 what a journey it has been" / MS Certified Professional / Windows 10 Professional x 64 version 1809 / build 17763.194 / NSBU 22.16.2.22 / Norton Core v.270 on Android
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Re: Background tasks performed when system is NOT IDLE

Thanks, but "Run only at idle time" is checked. But Norton thinks my machine is idle when it is not! It can be downloading a large number of files, or it can be installing a new program that takes a while, and Norton starts performing background tasks with the message: "Norton 360 is performing background tasks while your system is idle." Norton's activity slows down the download or the install and especially with an install, sometimes causes it to crash.

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Re: Background tasks performed when system is NOT IDLE

I'm not sure but I think Norton thinks your machine is idle if you haven't touched a keyboard or mouse for so long.  That time is determined by a setting toward the bottom of Administrative Settings.

A little bit of knowledge is... well a little bit of knowledge.
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Re: Background tasks performed when system is NOT IDLE

Hi DavisonRoy:

If I'm running a task that I know will take a long time (e.g., running a manual scan with Malwarebytes Free) I often right-click the Norton icon in my system tray and Turn On Silent Mode for a specific duration of time before starting the task. This will temporarily suspend Norton background tasks like Automatic LiveUpdates, Quick Scans, etc.  Once the task is finished I can right-click the Norton system tray icon and choose Turn Off Silent Mode to re-enable Norton's background idletime tasks,  or I just let Norton automatically turn off Silent Mode after the time duration I select has expired.

If there is a specific program you run that consumes large amounts of system resources you can configure Silent Mode to turn on automatically when this program is running (Settings | Administrative Settings | Silent Mode Settings | Quiet Mode Detection Of: | User-Specified Programs | Configure) so that your Norton background tasks don't  slow system performance.  See the support article Manage Silent Mode Settings.
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32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox ESR v52.9.0 * Norton Security Premium v22.15.1.8

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Re: Background tasks performed when system is NOT IDLE

Thanks for the explanation. Amazing that something so superficial is used to determine whether the system is idle! Unworthy of Norton.

Thanks for the work-around methods. Hopefully they can be used to avoid the problem.

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Re: Background tasks performed when system is NOT IDLE

Krusty13:

I'm not sure but I think Norton thinks your machine is idle if you haven't touched a keyboard or mouse for so long.  That time is determined by a setting toward the bottom of Administrative Settings.

Hi DavisonRoy:

... and further to Krusty13's comment, when you click the "?" Help button next to those settings that opens the related support article in your browser.  For example, the support article for Idle Time Out states in part:

..."For example, you specify the Idle Time Out duration as 10 minutes and you do not use your computer for 10 minutes. In this case, Norton identifies your computer as idle after 10 minutes"

If you increased the Idle Time Out setting to 20 min, for example, that would give other heavy-duty tasks like a major software upgrade or batch file download a full 20 min to run to completion from the time you last used an input device (mouse / keyboard / touchpad) without being interrupted by Norton background tasks that run during system idles.  It would also mean, however, that Norton tasks like Automatic LiveUpdates and Quick Scans would run less frequently (i.e., the longer the duration for Idle Time Out and/or Automatic Tasks Delay, the less frequently your Automatic LiveUpdates will deliver available virus and threat definition updates before your computer goes into sleep/hibernation mode), so you have to find a balance between performance and protection that works for your system.

I use the default settings for Idle Time Out, etc. and just put my system into temporary Sleep Mode as described <above> when I'm about to launch a big task like an iTunes software upgrade, and that seems to work for me.
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32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox ESR v52.9.0 * Norton Security Premium v22.15.1.8

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Re: Background tasks performed when system is NOT IDLE

Hi DavisonRoy:

I should have also mentioned that Norton has several background tasks and features that I personally consider software bloat that can be safely disabled without affecting your real-time protection.  Both disk defragmentation tasks (Disk Optimization / Idle Time Optimization) consume large amounts of system resources and many users disable both these tasks and let their built-in Windows disk defragmenter handle disk optimization.  Here are some of the settings I routinely disable:

  • Task Scheduling | Automatic Tasks | Internet Explorer Temporary Files
  • Task Scheduling | Automatic Tasks | Windows Temporary Files
  • Task Scheduling | Automatic Tasks | Internet Explorer History (if not disabled by default)
  • Task Scheduling | Automatic Tasks | Disk Optimization ***
  • Administrative Settings | Idle Time Optimizer ***
  • Administrative Settings | Monthly Report
  • Administrative Settings | Automatic Download of New Version (only prevents automatic upgrades e.g., v22.x to v23.x; does not affect definition updates and product updates e.g. v22.16.2 to v22.16.3)
  • Administrative Settings | Special Offer Notification

*** Note: Once Norton starts a disk defrag/optimization it must run to completion, so if you disable these settings you might continue to see high levels of CPU consumption and disk read/writes until all pending tasks are completed.

Depending on the browsers you use, you might also have additional browser cleanup tasks in your settings for Chrome (Task Scheduling | Automatic Tasks | Chrome Temporary Files) and Firefox (Task Scheduling | Firefox Cleanup).  I use Firefox as my default browser and both my Firefox Cleanup settings in Norton are greyed out/inaccessible because I have Firefox configured to automatically clear my browsing history when I exit Firefox, and my Firefox cleanup settings take precedence over Norton's.

The following Norton Community Watch settings can be also disabled if you find this background task is affecting system performance, but the information collected and sent back to Norton helps them identify emerging threats and improves the accuracy of trust (reputation) ratings assigned to executable files being downloaded and run on your system:

  • Administrative Settings | Norton Community Watch | Detailed Data Error Collection
  • Administrative Settings | Norton Community Watch

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32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox ESR v52.9.0 * Norton Security Premium v22.15.1.8