I am not posting this because I need help; I have already solved the problem by uninstalling BitDefender, and I hope to never see this piece of software on my computer (or anyone's that I know) again. I am posting just in the hopes of sparing some pain for those who might be going through the same problems, because this issue took me WEEKS to track down and resolve.
I recently uninstalled my copy of Norton Security 2005 (with which I was unsatisfied) and installed in its place the latest version of BitDefender AntiVirus 8, on two computers which are used for both home / home office purposes and are running XP Home. I eventually discovered that BitDefender caused both computers to hang whenever I would burn CDs or DVDs.
In researching the causes for this problem, I have:
- brought both computers to an independent third-party technician for hardware and software testing.
- replaced the motherboard on one of them
- uninstalled and reinstalled software
- ran Windows system restores
- uodated all system software to the latest patch level using Windows Update
- reviewed the contents of Event Viewer (which never showed anything of significance)
- selectively disabled almost every item included in the startup sections of msconfig, except for the most standard and necessary items
- selectively started and disabled services
- ran Process Explorer for diagnostics
- researched the issue on online tech forums, software provider sites, etc.
- removed, reinstalled and upgraded all of my CD / DVD burning software (from older versions of MyDVD and Nero to the most recent version of Nero available)
- removed, replaced and tested in other configurations both of the CD burners in question. I also used an external DVD burner at one point. One of the burners is new from the factory; the other has been used in the computer it is in for quite a while with no problems. All three burners involved tested fine when connected to other computer hardware. All three failed with identical problems when run on the two computers affected by the problem.
The following are the symptoms of the problems I have seen; they are invariant, consistent, reproducible, and occur only on the two computers involved, and in an identical manner on both of these computers:
- Boot is normal and with no errors
- System runs normally and with no problems so long as no CDs / DVDs are burned
- The first three or four CDs / DVDs burned after a reboot take place with no problems or errors.
- At this point, on attempting to burn another CD, the system hangs.
Symptoms of the hang:
- It appears that Windows Explorer is the source of the problem. It seems to be waiting for information on the burner drive when a new CD / DVD is inserted and never completes the update. As a result:
- Windows Explorer is hung with an hourglass
- New instances of Windows Explorer similarly hang
- Programs already running seem to be more or less unaffected (maybe; I have not experimented with this a lot) but new programs cannot be started, either from Start / Run,
The Programs menu, Task Manager or double-clicking. They do not start up. Diagnostic utilities like Event Viewer, Control Panel, Process Explorer can also not be started.
- Task Manager can still be accessed but applications cannot be ended from it, nor can processes be stopped.
- Shutdown or logout at this point is either extremely painful and slow, or else impossible. Typically I need to power the computer off either before getting
to the start of the shutdown process, or else while the saving settings or shutting down screens are displayed.
This behaviour was identical on both computers. The only system software that is effectively in common between these computers is BitDefender (apart from standard Windows components, or other software packages that I had either uninstalled or disabled).
Initially I was not guided to the fact that BitDefender was the source of the problem due to the fact that I had disabled the software by removing bdagent.exe and ieshow.exe from the startup, and had found that the problems still persisted identically. However, it eventually occurred to me (when I ran into other problems trying to install software while BitDefender was in this semi-comatose state) that the program was not actually effectively disabled in this way. At that point, I uninstalled (on one of the computers) BitDefender completely, using Add / Remove programs, and rebooted. All symptoms of the above problems disappeared immediately. I have now burned 20 CDs / DVDs in a row on this computer, without a reboot, and have had no problem. I then uninstalled BitDefender from the other computer, and the problems similarly disappeared immediately. I have now burned about 50 or so CDs and DVDs on that computer with no problems.
The only slight question I have regarding the whole issue is whether it is burning both CDs and DVDs that causes the problem, or whether it is DVDs only. I have some suspicion that it may be the latter, but I do not want to spend any more time diagnosing this.
Final note: when I reported this to BitDefender support and asked for a refund, which would only seem reasonable, they refused on the grounds that this was not a problem that their technician had been unable to fix. Nevertheless, they were clearly completely unaware of the issue and had absolutely no fix for this. It seems to me that not only should they give me a full refund but they should PAY me for all the time I have spent diagnosing issues with THEIR product. I did not need these problems. I have not had any kind of access to my burning software for weeks, on either computer. This has been one of the most frustrating problems I have ever had to resolve.
Is it not reasonable to expect that when you buy and install a program on your computer, and that program interferes with that computer to the point of making major aspects of its hardware unusable to you, that the manufacturer should offer a refund ?
Further: not only have they not replied to my e-mails; they have apparently set up their user forums so that posting bug reports is next to impossible. To those that do get posted, there is apparently no meaningful reply, ever, in a large number of cases.
I would recommend not touching any version of BitDefender with a ten-foot pole.