Mysterious Freezes / Hangs - Norton

Posted April 7, 2008 2:49pm

Occasionally I'll get a request for support from a customer who says GenSmarts has suddenly started to hang when they try to use it - either at start up or when they press the "AVAILABLE ONLINE" button to launch a search. In debugging these cases over the past couple of years, 100 percent of them were due to buggy security or firewall software, most typically Norton (which I suppose is also the most popular). These products (Norton, McAfee, etc.) tend to hide themselves in the background, so it's easy to forget that they are doing lots of manipulation with Windows behind the scenes. Also, because these products tend to update themselves silently on a regular basis, you loose the ability to associate their updates with the problems you are experiencing.

If you find yourself needing to debug a hang or freeze situation with GenSmarts, here's a couple of tips:

1) Restart your computer in safe mode with networking, then run GenSmarts and try to reproduce the hang. If it works fine in safe mode, then that's a pretty good indication that it's a third party security/privacy/firewall type of product (which don't tend to get loaded in safe mode) that's hanging things up. Reboot your PC into "regular" mode for the rest of the tips below - they're not unique to safe mode. If you need help in figuring out how to boot into safe mode, Google "safe mode" and you'll find plenty of instructions.

2) If the problem is when you try to search the internet with GenSmarts, try disabling the add-ons that are installed for your INTERNET EXPLORER. To do this, start Internet Explorer and then, using the "top line" menu, choose TOOLS...MANAGE ADD-ONS... (you can also use the keystroke ALT-T in IE to get to this choice). After you disable them, you'll need to close all instances of Internet Explorer and run it again for the changes to take effect. Now you can try GenSmarts again and see if that resolved the issue. When you're done testing, you can turn the add-ons back on if you like using the reverse of the above.

Just recently there were people who were having problems with freezing due to some Norton add-ons. Google something like:

if you want to read more about IE, Norton, and freezes.

3) You can also try disabling the firewall and/or security product and see if that resolves the problem. Note however, that rarely does an option like this really disable these products entirely... for example the browser add-ons in 2 above remain active and functioning even when you disable Norton via the desktop tray.

4) Another test and perhaps something that might work as a longer term solution, is to define the two GenSmarts executables GenSmarts.exe and gsEngine.exe (located in the GenSmarts program directory - typically C:\Program Files\GenSmarts ) as "exceptions" to your security/firewall product. That might avoid whatever bug is present in the security product.

5) If it's Norton you have and you decide you want to uninstall it, remember that rarely does the normal uninstall process really get rid of it. Typically you have to download a special utility from Norton's website to remove it entirely. Google "uninstall Norton" for more info.


GenSmarts Author

On 2008-04-11 2:45pm GenSmarts replied...

FYI - I've received confirmation from several users that disabling Norton's Internet Explorer add-ons solved their problem with IE locking up.

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