Robert Hurlbut Blog

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So that is what they were -- AntiSpyware Alerts

Thursday, January 13, 2005 Comments

 .NET  Personal  Security 
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Last week I installed the new Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta on my laptop which runs Windows XP Pro SP2. Now, remember, I run as non-admin every day on my machine (don't you? and, if not, why not?!). I used Aaron Margosis' excellent script tool MakeMeAdmin to temporarily assign my low-privileged user to the Administrator group to install the software. After I ran it, it found nothing, except WinPCap for one of my security tools (Sergey Simakov had the same find for his security tools collection) .

After the install, I started seeing this weird thing happen over the last week. Ever so often when I opened an application, in particular, one of my security tools, I would see this box on the right hand side scroll by from off the bottom of the screen to past the top of the screen. It would move so fast, I couldn't see it. I thought, oh great, I finally got a virus! Today, for the first time in a long time, I logged in as my Administrator user and ran one of those tools and I finally saw the offending box -- it looked something like this. Aha -- its an AntiSpyware Alert from the Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta. But why, oh why, do I have to be an Administrator to see if I want to allow a particular piece of software to run or not?? I don't know if it is moving so fast because it already made the decision for me?!

This is very peculiar. It sounds and looks like a bug to me, but of course, it is beta software. It is NOT (see below for update) another one of those oddities I have seen with software when you run as a non-administrator -- oddities I should never see in my applications.

UPDATE:It turned out this is related to the location of the toolbar. I usually keep my toolbar docked on the left side rather than the bottom. Apparently, MS AntiSpyware was trying to dock the dialog on my toolbar, expecting it to be at the bottom. It couldn't find it there, and hence "zoomed" on past. To me, this is still a bug!

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