Can Norton/Mcafee anti-virus be on same system

Since the early days (talking formation of both companies) these companies have always blamed each other for crashes and had up until about 3 years ago refuse to help you if you had the competitor on your machine.

Now I have been running Norton Internet Security (which is anti-virus, firewall, malware, anti-spam, etc.) as my primary protection. I have done this from Winxp to winxp sp3 to win7 and win7 sp1. Right now I am running the current versions of Norton Internet Security 2011 and tried to run McAfee Total Protection 2011. I disable all Mcafee services and apps after they have been updated. I even do a custom install where I only installed the virus scanner and siteadvisor (one of the main reasons I buy the TP suite). For some reason in the 2011 version, even when the firewall for Mcafee is not installed, it puts the Mcafee Firewall Core Service in the services and in task manager it shows up as mfefire.exe.

You can't disable the service not even in safe mode. You have to manually end the process in the task manager. I have chatted with 2 Mcafee techs about this. 1 said just delete the file and delete any mention in the registry (but he also was in a hurry as he kept asking is there anything else I can help you with). So I held off on doing that, as I am sure if I asked him if the world was flat he would have said yes.

The 2nd rep gave the typical I call "company line". Norton is to blame, remove it and use our software. The two will not work together and neither one will detect any viruses. I know full well that isn't true as Norton does catch viruses, even just opening a folder where there is a file that is infected Norton will immediately deal with the infected file.

I don't run both at the same time however. I have all Mcafee items except McShield disabled (so it can catch files on the download that are infected) otherwise I don't have anything but Norton.

The problem is that the 2011 version of Mcafee installs all these services for VirusScan and SiteAdvisor. It as I said installs the firewall core service. While, according to the tech's at Mcafee the firewall is not installed (which I can see from the Mcafee directory) but then why put the service in there then?

The mfefire.exe in task manager requires me to end process to prevent the system from suffering any random slow downs. Mcafee says I have to uninstall Norton Internet Security and the mcefire.exe and service will go away. No offense meant to any Mcafee techs who read this post but the two can be on the same system, you just can't run two firewalls and both anti-viruses (actively for your entire session). Once I scan a file with Norton, if I am unsure of its safety, I will then manually start up Mcafee Virus Scan service, scan the file(s) and then disable the Mcafee services.

Since I don't want to hose my system, can I rename or move that mcefire.exe file from c:\program files\common files\mcafee\systemcore\mcefire.exe. Then remove any mention in the registry where appropriate?

Also how can I actually disable the service, as you can't stop it in services console nor can you change it to manual or disable. I have never had a Mcafee service that refuses to be manually changed or stopped if I am not running the application. At the time when I have tried to stop the service I have nothing Mcafee running. I get denied access error, even when running as the only user in admin mode on winxpsp3 and even unchecking it in msconfig makes no difference it still starts automatically.

I consider myself knowledgeable about computers but I have never had to deal with a service that installs itself when I didn't install the accompanying program.

Any help? This post is not to debate which company has the better program. I just want to deal with this unwanted service that interferes with normal ops.

Thank you in advance for taking time to read this and any answers you provide.

Norton Internet Security 2011 (definitions updated in last few minutes)
McAfee Total Protection 2011 (only Siteadvisor and Virusscan installed)
Windows XP Service Pack 3 (I also have Windows 7 on its own hard drive (I use bay swapping) and know this problem will occur there as well)
Norton is currently in firewall only mode, as I disabled all the other services during testing/installing.
No other user accounts and guest account is disabled. I run as sole user and admin
Don't know of any other info you need since it isn't a hardware issue.

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Clarification Request
I have to ask

why you feel the need to install 2 full security suites into your OS?

I read that you prefer McAfee's Site Advisor, but that is available as a free download; , but since Norton has it's own anti-virus, I don't see why you need McAfee's anti-virus.

The problem is, these two companies both provide 'full suites', and when you install either you get the full range of files and components. Disabling any part is often difficult, and also often unwise. Difficult because the companies make it so to prevent malware from disabling their core components. Unwise because these components are often closely integrated, so that you get a fully integrated package.

Generally the advice is, do not install two or more anti-virus packages. By anti-virus we also mean full internet security suites. Doing so will often cause conflicts, and it is very difficult to separate and disable components and services between multiple suites.

So, one anti-virus package, which is set to run in the background, and that scans all files, included downloaded files, although we still 'manually scan' downloaded files again. The AV should be set to perform a regular, full, scan, and also should be set to update itself automatically.

However, anti-virus suites do not find all threats, and that is why we employ additional tools to check for malware, such as the free versions of Malwarebytes Anti-malware and SUPERAntiSpyware.


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The key point here is

Having 2 full security suites installed, is in no way to be construed as normal ops.
I would guess that the siteadvisor components rely on the service you are deeming unwanted, and renaming or moving such, may render site advisor feature unusable. just a guess though

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RE: 2 or more AV's

You are free to try this. And also free to fail. This is not some company promo FUD line to put the other out of business, or else other softwares would play the same game. Resident AV's just cant play nice with each other. But hey, you might have 3-4 AVs installed on one machine and be ok for might smoke cigarettes your whole life and live till you are 80, too Wink

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