Ben Langhinrichs

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Genii Weblog

Heads up about Symantec Anti-Virus and Deleting Docs with Attachments

Thu 23 Feb 2006, 11:09 PM



by Ben Langhinrichs
Having run into this issue twice in just a couple of days, and with a strange twist to the second time, I thought I'd mention it in case anybody is having this problem.  A Lotus Business Partner, not actually a customer, wrote this:
I have a custom application (ND6) which has a form that contains many rich text fields.  I would say there are close to a dozen spread over several tabbed tables.  These fields are used to store attachments of various types and categories.  A rich text field may have multiple attachments in it at any given time.  It has been noticed that documents with many attachments open slower than documents with only a few.  This is particularly noticeable when users are connected from our VPN (with obviously lower bandwidth).

I am not looking for a fix, but rather an explanation as to exactly why a document with many rich text fields/attachments loads slower.  The server isn't preloading the attachments, so what takes it so long?
and I suggested that anti-virus software was usually responsible, as it would scan the attachments even if they would not otherwise be pulled over the line.  After a couple of back and forth messages, including a fairly laughable response from IBM support, I'm afraid, he wrote back:
You were right on, anti-virus was the culprit.  Unbeknownst to me, the Symnatec Anti-Virus client installed on every pc had a "Lotus Notes Auto-Protect" feature enabled.  It would scan each attachment before opening the doc.
So, a couple of days later, a question was posted in the Notes/Domino 6 & 7 forum which was different, but seemed similar in nature:
Opening or deleting documents with large attachments takes as long as it does to download the attachment.  Why is that?  It seems that the document should open quickly and only take time if you actually want to download the attachment(s). Same with deleting documents with attachments.  I deleted 2 documents tonight, one with 40 mbs and one with 60 mbs worth of attachments and it took about 20 minutes (with a broadband connection) just to soft delete them. Emptying the trash is fast but putting docs in the trash takes way too long and locks up Notes until it's done.
I responded to the post and mentioned the first customer's experience, and sure enough read the response tonight:
Looks like Symantec Anti-Virus is the culprit with attachments and extremely slow speed!

I ran a test with SAV enabled for Lotus Notes and a document with an 11 MB file took over 2 minutes to open!  When I disabled SAV, the document opened in less than 2 seconds!  Yikes!!  I'll check with SAV and see what the deal is.  Thanks for this info!
So there you have it.  I guessed correctly that opening a document would take so long because of anti-virus software scanning the attachments, but if the two questions had not appeared so close together, it would never have occurred to me that this could also cause a delay with soft deletion.  I guess the document is opened in memory to add the soft deletion mark, but it is counterintuitive, to say the least.  So, I hope this helps somebody out there who might be scratching his or her head over this odd behavior.

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