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Forum Thread: PSI 2.0 and Workstation Service - Bug or Requirement?

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lmacri PSI 2.0 and Workstation Service - Bug or Requirement?
Member 31st Dec, 2010 21:07
Ranking: 42
Posts: 87
User Since: 9th Sep, 2009
System Score: N/A
Location: CA
Like several other users in this forum, the dashboard for PSI 2.0 is displayed as a blank window unless the Workstation service is running on my home computer (Start | Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Services). Is this a bug that Secunia is planning to correct, or is there a valid reason why PSI 2.0 now requires the Workstation service (e.g., is the service required for users who want PSI to perform automated updates)? My PSI v. 1.5.0.2 ran fine without this service and I can't see the Workstation service listed as a system requirement for PSI at http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/personal...

Right now these are the steps I have to take in order to use PSI 2.0 on my home PC:

1. Disable "Start the Secunia PSI on boot", "Enable automatic program updates" and "Show detailed program changes" in the PSI configuration settings.
2. Change the Secunia PSI Agent (psia.exe) and Secunia Update Agent (sua.exe) services to Manual startup in Windows Services.
3. Leave the Workstation service as Disabled in Windows Services and manually start this service just before launching PSI.

Running PSI as described above still causes various warnings/errors on my PC [e.g., repeated EPMAP blocked commmunications on my local network adapter by my Norton Internet Security 2011 Smart Firewall (which disappears once the Workstation service is disabled), Windows CAPI2 event errors when PSI is started (Event ID 11 related to invalid certficates for Windows Update), NIS performance alerts when PSI is running a scan because of 100% usage of at least one CPU (caused by psi.exe)] but at least the problems are temporary if I disable the Workstation service after closing PSI.

It's a huge pain to have to manually start/stop the Workstation service every time I want run a PSI scan on my PC. If Secunia isn't planning on fixing the PSI interface so that it displays properly without the Workstation service in the near future then I'm going to uninstall PSI v. 2.0 and go back to using PSI v. 1.5.

--
Vista Home Premium SP2 32-bit * NIS 2013 v. 20.5.0.28 * IE 9 * FF v. 31.0 * PSI v. 2.0.0.3003

Post "RE: PSI 2.0 and Workstation Service - Bug or Requirement?" has been selected as an answer.
taffy078 RE: PSI 2.0 and Workstation Service - Bug or Requirement?
Contributor 31st Dec, 2010 23:23
Score: 408
Posts: 1,352
User Since: 26th Feb 2009
System Score: 100%
Location: UK
Hi Imacri.

I've not moved up to PSI v2 yet so all that I can suggest is that you look at this to see if it answers your problem.

http://secunia.com/community/forum/thread/show/701...

Happy New Year

--
taffy078, West Yorkshire, UK

Desktop: Compaq Presario (OEM) 32 bit / AMD Athlon / 2 GB RAM
XP Home - SP3/ IE8/ Norton IS - Secunia PSI v2.0.0.3003

Laptop: Win 7 / IE11 / PSI v2.0.0.3003
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Maurice Joyce RE: PSI 2.0 and Workstation Service - Bug or Requirement?
Handling Contributor 1st Jan, 2011 00:00
Score: 11865
Posts: 9,101
User Since: 4th Jan 2009
System Score: N/A
Location: UK

In the absence of Secunia Officials until the New Year I can only offer some comparisons & suggestions.

1. Workstation. By (Windows) default this service is set to Automatic. See here:

http://wiki.blackviper.com/wiki/Workstation

Unsure why yours is required to be set to disabled. Is it some other hardware demanding that?

2. I use Norton 2011 - all the settings are default except:

a. I have turned on the option to protect Microsoft Office because I use the 2010 Professional Suite.

b. I have not downloaded & installed the optional Parental Controls (I do not actually require it + it was troublesome when I tested it with Norton 2010)


3. CAP12 - This has a history of creating issues with AVG,Trend Micro & Zonealarm in the past.

Is it possible U have tweaked Norton 2011 which is causing Norton & CAP12 not to function as U expect?

4. EXCESSIVE CPU. This is not new & there have been posts on the Forum about this issue dating back 18 months+. On other threads Secunia have asked some to forward log files to them for analysis.

I have been logging usage on my test PC for some time & your observations are correct.

PSIA appears to run on average at 13/14 MB
PSI Tray at 6/7 MB
PSI runs from 60 to 88MB (normal 60 - 88MB+ when scanning)

Norton does indeed warn U of this excessive usage.

Hope this helps in some small way. Happy New Year.






--
Maurice

Windows 7 SP1 64 Bit OS
HP Intel Pentium i7
IE 11 for Windows 7 SP1
16GB RAM
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lmacri RE: PSI 2.0 and Workstation Service - Bug or Requirement?
Member 1st Jan, 2011 05:21
Score: 42
Posts: 87
User Since: 9th Sep 2009
System Score: N/A
Location: CA
Last edited on 1st Jan, 2011 05:28
Hi Maurice:

I don't need to disable the Workstation service in order to run any other software on my home PC. The concern I have is that PSI 2.0 is the only software I have on my PC that requires this service. I have Norton Internet Security 2011 installed on my PC and the NIS Smart Firewall monitors and blocks ports that are opened on my machine when the Workstation service is started, but it seems counterintuitive to me that I have to essentially decrease the security of my system (i.e., by opening ports) just so that I can run PSI 2.0.

I have no need to use the new automatic software updater in PSI 2.0 because I already run the following daily:
- Windows Update (to update all Microsoft software and most of my hardware drivers)
- NIS LiveUpdate (to update my NIS anti-virus definitions)
- FileHippo Update Checker (available for download at http://www.filehippo.com/updatechecker/ - to check for updates for most free third-party software such as Java, Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, iTunes, Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, CCleaner, Defraggler, etc.). This FileHippo Update Checker is very fast and requires less that 10 seconds to scan my hard drive and compile a list of links to any available updates.

I was very happy with PSI v. 1.5.0.2 - it did not require the Workstation service and I ran a PSI scan about once a week to check for end-of-life software or the rare update for commercial software not scanned by the FileHippo Update Checker. Since upgrading to PSI 2.0 I've had recurring problems with my system locking or temporarily freezing (I have a dial-up internet connection, which might be part of the problem), and I was only able to resolve those problems by reconfiguring the PSI settings and modifying various Windows services as described in my original post.

If Secunia has decided that the Workstation service is essential for PSI 2.0, that's fine by me - I always have the option of reverting back to PSI v. 1.5 or removing PSI altogether and using IT.Shavlik.com or some other security scanner. That would be a real shame, though. I thought that PSI v. 1.5 was an excellent product, and it would be great if Secunia could find a way to modify PSI v. 2.0 so that users such as myself who just want to use PSI to scan for missing software patches don't have to tweak their system to prevent unnecessary services from loading at every boot-up and hogging system resources.

--
Vista Home Premium SP2 32-bit * NIS 2013 v. 20.5.0.28 * IE 9 * FF v. 31.0 * PSI v. 2.0.0.3003
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taffy078 RE: PSI 2.0 and Workstation Service - Bug or Requirement?
Contributor 1st Jan, 2011 10:06
Score: 408
Posts: 1,352
User Since: 26th Feb 2009
System Score: 100%
Location: UK
imacri - thank you for expressing so clearly what I've been thinking on whether or not I really need to upgrade to PSI v.2.

I use v1.9.0.2 and it "fits the bill" perfectly for me - I can't see that I really need the extras in v.2.

The deciding factor is whether or not Secunia will continue to allow the older versions to be used. Perhaps Morten or Emil could comment when they're next in.

--
taffy078, West Yorkshire, UK

Desktop: Compaq Presario (OEM) 32 bit / AMD Athlon / 2 GB RAM
XP Home - SP3/ IE8/ Norton IS - Secunia PSI v2.0.0.3003

Laptop: Win 7 / IE11 / PSI v2.0.0.3003
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lmacri RE: PSI 2.0 and Workstation Service - Bug or Requirement?
Member 1st Jan, 2011 23:35
Score: 42
Posts: 87
User Since: 9th Sep 2009
System Score: N/A
Location: CA
Last edited on 1st Jan, 2011 23:47
Hi Maurice:

Regarding the CAPI2 error messages:

In my last reply I forgot to mention that I've only seen these CAPI2 errors in my Event Viewer when PSI 2.0 is running on my machine. I always get at least one CAPI2 error that occurs immediately after I start each PSI scan.

If I start the Workstation service and manually run Windows Update or a NIS 2011 scan I don't see errors of any kind in the Event Viewer as long as PSI is not loaded.

As suggested, I sent an e-mail to support@secunia.com today (attention Emil Petersen) with more details regarding the high 100% CPU utilization by psi.exe and attached my psilog.txt and psialog.txt files.

--
Vista Home Premium SP2 32-bit * NIS 2013 v. 20.5.0.28 * IE 9 * FF v. 31.0 * PSI v. 2.0.0.3003
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Maurice Joyce RE: PSI 2.0 and Workstation Service - Bug or Requirement?
Handling Contributor 1st Jan, 2011 23:52
Score: 11865
Posts: 9,101
User Since: 4th Jan 2009
System Score: N/A
Location: UK
Thanks for that. Interesting observation.

I will tinker on my test PC to see if I can recreate it somehow with Norton/PSI.

Interesting to see what Secunia say.

--
Maurice

Windows 7 SP1 64 Bit OS
HP Intel Pentium i7
IE 11 for Windows 7 SP1
16GB RAM
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lmacri RE: PSI 2.0 and Workstation Service - Bug or Requirement?
Member 2nd Jan, 2011 21:13
Score: 42
Posts: 87
User Since: 9th Sep 2009
System Score: N/A
Location: CA
Last edited on 2nd Jan, 2011 21:56
Hi Maurice:

If you still want to see if you can re-create the CAPI2 error, try the following:

1. Start PSI 2.0 and disable the "Start the Secunia PSI on boot" and "Enable automatic program updates" options in the configuration settings
2. In Windows Services, set the startup type of the Workstation, Secunia PSI Agent (psia.exe) and Secunia Update Agent (sua.exe) services to Manual
3. Re-boot computer
4. In Windows Services, manually start the Workstation services
5. Start PSI 2.0 (e.g., launch interface from shortcut on desktop - there's no need to run an actual scan). This should start the Secunia PSI Agent service without any intervention on your part.
6. Check the Event Viewer for a CAPI2 error

If the Workstation service is set to Disabled or Manual startup, there are several other dependent services that can't start at boot-up (e.g., Computer Browser service), and it could be one of these "dependant" services that is responsible for the causing the CAPI2 error. Or it could just be some sort of timing error because the Secunia PSI Agent hasn't finished loading before Windows tries to authenticate PSI.

I checked the properties of my tempory directory (%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp) and confirmed that my user account (which has Administrator rights) has full permissions for this folder, so I don't think that this is the cause of the CAPI2 error.

I wouldn't waste too much time if you can't re-create this error with the steps outlined above. I have all sorts of tweaks to protect my home laptop because I often use insecure public WiFi Internet connections (I work with some very paranoid computer security experts who have given me all sorts of tips) so these CAPI2 errors could be unique to my system. The CAPI2 errors don't prevent me from running a PSI scan, and I only mentioned them because they sometimes occur at the same time that I get warnings about high CPU usage by psi.exe.

--
Vista Home Premium SP2 32-bit * NIS 2013 v. 20.5.0.28 * IE 9 * FF v. 31.0 * PSI v. 2.0.0.3003
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Maurice Joyce RE: PSI 2.0 and Workstation Service - Bug or Requirement?
Handling Contributor 2nd Jan, 2011 22:06
Score: 11865
Posts: 9,101
User Since: 4th Jan 2009
System Score: N/A
Location: UK
Thank U.

--
Maurice

Windows 7 SP1 64 Bit OS
HP Intel Pentium i7
IE 11 for Windows 7 SP1
16GB RAM
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Maurice Joyce RE: PSI 2.0 and Workstation Service - Bug or Requirement?
Handling Contributor 4th Jan, 2011 12:13
Score: 11865
Posts: 9,101
User Since: 4th Jan 2009
System Score: N/A
Location: UK
That was an interesting little test. I could not reproduce the problem.

This thread is in danger of being lost amongst the spammers. I have took the liberty of asking Secunia Support to look at it for U when time allows.

Hope U don't mind.

--
Maurice

Windows 7 SP1 64 Bit OS
HP Intel Pentium i7
IE 11 for Windows 7 SP1
16GB RAM
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This user no longer exists RE: PSI 2.0 and Workstation Service - Bug or Requirement?
Member 5th Jan, 2011 08:48
Hi,

Good news, everyone!
We have managed to resolve the Workstation service dependency for the PSI, and will deploy this solution in a later release.
To be clear: Once we deploy this solution, you will no longer be required to have the Workstation Service running to make use of any PSI functionality. :)

Thank you very much for reporting this issue, and for your feedback and comments.

hope this helps.
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lmacri RE: PSI 2.0 and Workstation Service - Bug or Requirement?
Member 5th Jan, 2011 23:04
Score: 42
Posts: 87
User Since: 9th Sep 2009
System Score: N/A
Location: CA
Thanks Emil:

I've confirmed that PSI 2.0 Build 2001 works as expected on a public WiFi Internet connection when the Workstation service is disabled, although the dashboard is still a bit temperamental and sometimes takes over 4 minutes for the interface to load.

I still can't get PSI 2.0 Build 2001 to work with my home dial-up connection, although it doesn't appear to be anything to do with the Workstation service. I'm posting about my dial-up problems in Lazissa1's thread titled PSI 2.0.0.2001 hang when set to start at boot at http://secunia.com/community/forum/thread/show/713...

--
Vista Home Premium SP2 32-bit * NIS 2013 v. 20.5.0.28 * IE 9 * FF v. 31.0 * PSI v. 2.0.0.3003
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