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uTorrent and ZoneAlarm causing high CPU


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Hey there,

I've been using uTorrent along w/ ZoneAlarm for quite some time now without any problems. Recently though if I'm downloading a torrent, my CPU usage spikes to 100%, with the usage going back and forth between zlclient.exe and vsmon.exe (which is part of ZA). This only occurs if a torrent is actively downloading. If I pause the active torrent, the CPU usage drops back down to ~5%. Resuming the torrent causes the CPU usage to spike again to 100%. If uTorrent is running but not active the CPU usage is normal.

I read about problems with uTorrent and ZoneAlarm (specifically vsmon.exe) but those issues were occurring back in '07.

I'm running WinXP SP2, uTorrent 2.0 (build 18488), and Zone Alarm and True Vector versions

Again, I have been using uTorrent and ZoneAlarm for a long time without any problems.

I'm I the only one having this problem, or are others experiencing the same? Is there a setting I need to change that I am unaware of?


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Hi there,

Hopefully this will help you out.

I was having the same situation with utorrent spiking from about 56 to 98 percent usage, and it ended up being a problem with ZoneAlarm.

I've been running utorrent for quite a while, simply because it has the smallest footprint and causes the least disruption, so I didn't muck with any of the internals that had been working properly before.

It turns out that when I opened up ZoneAlarm's config and looked under "Program Control" and the "Programs" submenu of that, there were 5 different instances of rules for utorrent.

I had assumed, incorrectly, over time that when I upgraded utorrent, ZoneAlarm was asking me about the new version and whether I should let it through and doing in-place removal of the old version that didn't exist. It was, in retrospect, a lazy assumption.

When I removed all 5 instances of the utorrent rules and then just let ZoneAlarm re-add the version that was running the whole time I did this procedure, my cpu usage went down to approximately 2 percent.

Try that - it should shave 98 percent off of utorrent's (I mean ZoneAlarm's hamfisted monitoring of uttorent's) cpu usage :)

Best wishes,

Mike -- BTW - although this isn't the proper forum, ZoneAlarm does this for all other programs you upgrade as well. It's free, so I'm not complaining, just noting.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got this too with the update from ZASS to 9.1.507.000.

After the update VSMON went trough the roof with average CPU usage of 25-30%. It became so bad that even playing an mp3 while DL on uT was not possible any more.

Fed up I reverted ZASS back to the earlier version. All problems are gone now and i got uT (2.0) on now, and hurray, can work normally.

Quick glance learns that VSMON is idling between 1 and 3%.

Am afraid there is a change in the newer version that (at least for me) causes these absurd VSMON CPU usage.

I did read elsewhere however that other people reported similar issues earlier from 2007 on...

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You are not alone! ))

I have some problem. Like Spock the Vulcan i upgrade my ZASS to 9.1.507.000 version (uTorrent 2.0), and this problems began: CPU usage 95-100%

Stoped Torrent - stoped CPU-usage. I was read about vsmon.exe, but i have tot any problem before.

I looked for duplicates uTorrent in ZA Program list - clear... Tried disabling uTP und set bt.trans_disposition to 5 - don't helped me :(

Spock the Vulcan:

are you downgrade ZA just install early version?

Thanks for you help!



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  • 3 weeks later...


Yes, I installed the earlier 9.1.008 version. I say installed because I deinstalled the 9.1.570 first completely, just to be sure that that no traces were left (e.g. kernel library or driver). After deinstall in safe mode I fresh installed the 9.1.008 ZASS version. With that VSMON started behaving again and CPU loads by VSMON returned to ~5% levels during uT activities.

Also posted and discussed this issue on the ZA forum. Upon suggesting maybe ZASS was slowing bits down, my messages got removed by the moderators. It was reported as "off topic" but then again, off topic can be quite a lot if you define it yourself. And of course (with which I do agree BTW) on moderator operation there is no discussion. But it is still funny...

By now I can also give you additional info along the lines of the Koch principles:

For some reasons I had to install the (newer) 9.1.570 version again. And after the "update" from ZASS 9.1.008 to 9.1.570, while using uT, VSMON again is hogging between 25-65% of CPU.

As soon as I can loose this 9.1.570 version again I will. That apparently is what does it for me. It might not be the final solution though. Especially if people were already reporting this way before the 9.1.570 ZASS version came into this world (2007?)


Dell, XP Pro SP3, Intel Core2 Quad Q9550 @ 2.83 GHz, 3.0GB RAM

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I have 7x64 and ZA pro and experience on problem what so ever as others here have mentioned. I am going to update to the 9.1.507.000 soon here but if experience serves me I haven't had problem as other described. But I do manually configure in ZA what program have what previledges and access the internet and no internet. This has worked well for me being able to choose what program access the net or not. Also it helps me to kill or stop auto update until I say so cause I can do without all those unwanted tries to update without my permission this to me takes up valuable system resource when I can do that manually myself. But again I used it since 2001 there were some bugs since ZA pro 9 I haven't experience any problem using Ut with ZA pro.

Reporting back.... hmm

Forgot I am using 9.1.507.000 and have no problems to report using Ut with custom settings or ZA pro at custom settings. So for other to have so much problem with ZA would seem to indicate something else is the cause.

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I hear what you say PiusX, but like I said, in MY SPECIFIC case as I described:

- Base situation, 9.1.008 installed, no problem, normal (VSMON 3-5% CPU load while uT active)

- Install 9.1.570 - problem starts, huge CPU load (>> 60%)

- Deinstall 9.1.570, reinstall 9.1.008 - problem disappears, normal CPU load

- Install 9.1.570 again, problem returns

- Finally revert completely to 9.1.008, problem disappears again, normal CPU activity.

Now that sounds like a rather scientific source finding process with positive outcome...

In addition, I can add now that 9.1.570 also reduced my download speed. This on itself is not strange of course, because if the CPU is driven to the max, that will throttle DL/UL since there is no capacity any more. I am now again at my usual 2.5-3 Mb/s where with 9.1.570 I didn't get above 300 kb/s.

And FYI, I always configure all by hand, so automatic configuration by ZASS can not be the cause. With manual configuration at least should vary for all who do that.

I do however agree with you on the great possibility to define per case within ZA to block programs access the internet and do all kinds of things there subsequently that you don't want them to do. I have not seen many suites that let you define it so specifically.

My problem is solved for now. I hope this is useful for those who read this...

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