HitmanPro.Alert Slows Software Protection Service

Mark Berry January 1, 2016

On one Windows Server 2012R2 Essentials machine, the Software Protection Service, which runs once an hour or so to verify licenses, was usually failing to start within 30 seconds, raising a Service Control Manager 7000 error in the System event log.

Log Name: System
Source: Service Control Manager
Event ID: 7009
Level: Error
Description: A timeout was reached (30000 milliseconds) while waiting for the Software Protection service to connect.

Following the advice of a representative in the Microsoft partner forum, I increased the timeout for all services to 60 seconds. In this key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control

I set the value for ServicesPipeTimeout to 60000 milliseconds. That stopped the 7000 error for several months.

It’s Back

Recently, though, the error started happening again:  the service was no longer able to start within 60 seconds. It did start eventually, though, usually taking 65 seconds or so. This would sometimes causes a popup message in the Essentials dashboard that the license could not be verified and to try later. Even running slmgr /dli from the command line to show the license status failed intermittently.

Hitman.Pro File Filter Slowdown

The server is running the 64-bit version of Hitman.Pro Alert 2.6.5. I’d already seen how the HitmanPro.Alert file filter caused strange issues installing OS software (HitmanPro.Alert Blocks .NET 3.5 Install). Could it be slowing down the Software Protection Service?

I tried disabling the CryptoGuard feature, which, as explained in the article on .NET 3.5, removes the hmpalert file filter:

HitmanPro.Alert CryptoGuard

You can see the active filters by running fltmc filters from the command line.

After disabling CryptoGuard, the Software Protection Service starts in 3 or 4 seconds.

CryptoGuard is the main reason I installed HitmanPro.Alert—to detect and block potential ransomware encryption. But if the feature is also blocking basic operating system functionality, I’ll have to leave it disabled. (Note that I have not tested this with the HitmanPro 3, which includes CryptoGuard in its paid version.)

Update January 3, 2016

It seems disabling the CryptoGuard feature was not enough:  the 7000 errors returned overnight, albeit with the global ServicesPipeTimeout registry value set back to the 30-second default. I have now completely uninstalled HitmanPro.Alert and the 7000 errors seem to have stopped.


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