Both Avast! antivirus and CPUsage updated recently and I was hoping the updates would resolve the problem the two were causing each other. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and I finally got around to look into it more.
CPUsage runs in the background with a virtual machine processing data that it is sent. A new process called Shelby.exe was getting caught by Avast’s auto-sandbox feature. Since it was sandboxed, the rest of the Cirrus application couldn’t see that it was running and would launch the process again and again but Avast would sandbox it each time, leading to a column of notifications from Avast. The sandboxed CPUsage would earn me no points and the easiest way to stop the overflow of notifications was to close CPUsage’s Cirrus application.
Normally, this would be good behavior. I want my antivirus software to catch programs it isn’t sure of and prompt me for action. The auto-sandbox should be a great feature to have. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the means to learn programs to exclude. Actually it has the means, it just seems to disregard them.
I took multiple approaches with the Avast settings over time to configure it to bypass CPUsage. I added Cirrus and the Shelby.exe process to the excluded list. After that didn’t work, I unchecked the ‘Enable AutoSandbox’ box. After letting it go for weeks and having multiple restarts along the way, I was still just closing out CPUsage to stop the notifications. The settings made no difference on Avast’s behavior.
Taking this as a decline in the quality of Avast antivirus, the free antivirus I used to recommend to everybody, and not being a fan of other recent changes in the company’s business standards (e.g. multiple pop-ups through the Avast notification system), I uninstalled Avast this morning and replaced it with Microsoft’s Security Essentials. If you’re looking to diversify from Microsoft products, I would recommend Panda Cloud Antivirus as another free solution.