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If I check all the following boxes in an old computer or one with minimal memory, the computer becomes slow or unresponsive while doing basic tasks such as playing music, opening documents and visiting basic websites.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Which of the four checkboxes (and the dropdown box) do I check at the minimum as a tradeoff for less powerful machines? Please presume I've done everything to everything else to "speed it up". Sorry, the Microsoft site is short of information on what these checkboxes mean or do.

Almost always the OS is Windows XP Home.

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closed as too localized by Shinrai, random Aug 11 '11 at 13:09

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This is going to depend on exactly the machine and the usage, so it's hard to provide a general answer. If you're not downloading files, scanning those is meaningless to performance, if there's no network activity, scanning the network is meaningless to performance, etc. – Shinrai Aug 10 '11 at 16:57
@Shinrai: Almost always it is a Windows XP Home machine used at home, visiting facebook and basic websites and doing instant messaging and basic word processing. – William C Aug 10 '11 at 17:21
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Scan all downloads will only run when a file is downloaded and before it is moved to the destination directory. Depending on usage, most people will not see a whole lot of slowdown occuring from this unless they are downloading large files all the time.

Monitoring file and program activity. I'm not sure what the options are here, but this is most likely to be the most effectice option to adjust. If there is an option to only check certain types of files or files that have changed, they may help speed things up a bit.

Behavior monitoring checks each and every activity against not just a set of virus definitions, but also a set of definitions of how viruses look. It's called heuristic analysis in other packages. An analogy would be looking not just for people who are terrorists in airports, but looking for people who look like or act like terrorists (I know, horrifically politically incorrect analogy, it was just the first that came to mind).

Network inspection probably ends up inspecting each and every data stream in and out of your computer. If this is a business network that has network security appliances already in place, this can be turned off. If it's a home network, or an unmanaged network, it should stay on.

UPDATE response to comment: I would not modify which files it scans. Viruses are capable of placing themselves in any number of locations. It is best to leave the scanner running on all files.

Regarding while file to monitor, I'd select Monitor incoming files only. So long as you know the system is clean at this point, this setting should protect against incoming infections. When a system is infected though, you'll want to remove it from the network as soon as possible to prevent the infection from being sent out to other systems.

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FYI, the choices of the dropdown menu are: "Monitor all files", "Monitor incoming files only", "Monitor outgoing files only". The Microsoft site has no explanation on what they mean as well. Also, as you can see on the picture, there are specific setting screens to exclude certain files, types, locations and processes. Are you suggesting that I exclude certain types of files? – William C Aug 10 '11 at 17:26

How much memory are we dealing with here? Have your checked the minimum recommended hardware for the applications that you are using?

I suggest that you check what other background applications are running, including other anti-malware applications, software updaters (Google and Adobe are bad about this), and unnecessary running services. If you're not using MSN Live Messenger then shut that down, as well as the printer monitoring service and other junk running in the system tray. Shut down bit torrent clients, ActiceSync, iTunes, and other unused applications.

The problem, and therefore the solution, likely lies outside MS Security Essentials.

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