Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dell XPS with Vista: Why doesn't Microsoft Security Center track Webroot Spysweeper?

Okay, I’ve broken down and gotten Vista, and a free Windows 7 upgrade, a Dell XPS laptop, all with the nice keyboard lights for night games (or to take with you on a spaceship if you’re abducted).

The Vista security center was on the Control Panel. I had Best Buy install the full Webroot Spysweeper, and the Windows Security Center says it cannot monitor my malware protection. It lists a number of products, including McAfee and Norton and some others, but oddly enough it doesn’t list Webroot. I don’t know why Dell and Microsoft don’t have a partnership with it; maybe someone does.

The Spysweeper does seem to be working properly, and the Windows Firewall works separately. I don’t know if adding McAfee or Norton is necessary, or just complicates things. I find on another machine that Spysweeper identifies and quarantines many “spy cookies” that McAfee lets pass.

Of course, there are other things to get on – if not McAfee Site Advisor, maybe Web of Trust. But this is Day 1 of the new laptop.

Does anyone know what the deal is with Spysweeper and Vista Security Center?

Also, Microsoft seemed to issue its patch tonight for the serious vulnerability reported earlier this month.

Update: July 17

Well, it turns out I had a wrong model. I had intended to get the wider screen XPS 1640, not the 1340. I swapped it out at Best Buy, and on this machine the Windows Vista Security Center does show Webroot Spyweeper as a "legitimate" anti-virus program. But I cannot explain why the other model did not show it as legitimate.

Update: July 18

Well, here we go again. Spysweeper won't start on its own; it warns you with a widget "X" on the task bar, and the Microsoft Security Center beckons you to start it. It still takes about 30 seconds then for Webroot's "12 of 12 recommended sweeps" to start in real time.

Update July 27:

Now even if you leave it alone, Vista starts Spysweeper within a minute of flashing the warning. Spysweeper loves to flash alerts (missed sweeps when computer turned off, missed backups).

Update: August 20

Spysweeper does tend to load very slowly at Vista startup. That may explain some of the symptoms noted in this post.

Also, once a day Spysweeper sends an error report back to its own servers.

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