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Former Member
Message 1 of 5

McAfee Service Host Problem

I recently recieved a McAfee automatic update on Jan 6, 2013.

It appears to be a new version. It has a new look.

Anyhow, after the update my firewall started to turn itself off and I would get a warning that "Your Computer is at Risk."

I would go into Mcafee and turn it back on, but it would only turn itself off again.

I also get the annoying error window that says.

"McAfee Service Host has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

If you were in the middle of something, the information you were working on might be lost.

Please tell Microsoft about this problem".

Here is my system info.

Dell 8250

pentium 4  2.53 GHz

1.5 GB of RAM

XP - SP3 fully updated


McAfee Security Center v.12.1


Mcafee anti-virus and anti-spyware v.16.1

McAfee Personal Firewall v.13.1

My location is U.S.

I have ran McAfee Virtual Technician but it did not find any problems.

I have called McAfee Tech Support, (twice), and we performed a computer share session, (twice), but they were not able to resolve anything.

Tech support did not have a clue. They saw the error window pop-up too.

I did not run any type of registry cleaner, nor do I have such software.

I have uninstalled McAfee Security Center and ran the file removal software (twice).

I have reinstalled McAfee Security Center (twice).

I have repartitioned my hard drive and reinstalled my operating system (twice). I am very thorough at reinstalling my operating system. So no problems there.

Currently: My firewall is not shutting itself off anymore. But I am getting the frustrating error window constantly......"McAfee Service Host has encountered a problem and needs to close".

I have not turned off NetGuard. Nor should I have too.

My system is clean of Viruses and Malware.

This is a McAfee problem. No doubt.

I have been a paying subscriber to Mcafee for 10 years, and this is the worst glitch that I have ever had from them.

Any and all help would be much appreciated.

4 Replies
Reliable Contributor
Reliable Contributor
Message 2 of 5

Re: McAfee Service Host Problem

mcsvhost : I see this on XP also, almost always after the PC resumes operations after Standby or Hibernate. Sometimes the firewall dies as a result for a short time. Having seen it happen repeatedly I'm not concerned about it being a major problem, because I checked that the mcsvhost service is set to restart automatically after a failure.

To check your settings go to Start-->Run and enter 'services.msc' (without quotes)

In the list of services that comes up double-click McAfee Services. In the General Settings box make sure it's set to Automatic Start-up. In the Recovery Tab options you need something like this -

Recovery options mcsvhost.JPG

And everything starts up again, including the firewall. Mcsvhost handles a lot of McAfee's operations, as can be seen from this mouse-rollover-list from Process Explorer -

McSvHost services.JPG

Now for the 64-thousand euro question : why does mcsvhost fall over? My guess is it's something to do with trying and failing to connect to the network in the period of activity after coming out of Hibernation/Standby. I've got Dr Watson logs from a number of these crashes but no-one in McAfee seems interested in using them to analyse the reason for it happening (yes, I've asked).

As long everything works again, the only fly in the ointment is that for about 60 seconds my PC is unprotected by a firewall each time it happens. It's an inconvenience not a disaster.

And I can hear the next question coming : I've run anti-virus scans with products from McAfee, Microsoft, Malwarebytes, SpyBot, Emet, GMER, and others. Nothing found. No viruses, Trojans, rootkits or bootkits have been found. As far as I'm aware the system is squeaky clean, malware-wise. Doubtless yours is clean too. It's a McAfee bug that they're not falling over themselves to fix because it's not a major problem -

<shrug> that's the way big outfits think.

Edit - All right, that last bit might have been just a little bit unfair. We know that the developers have got some much more urgent things to fix. But McAfee are unlikely to rate an XP problem as high-priority. The general opinion is (unfairly, I think) that's it's not worth spending time and money on fixing a doomed operating system. Which overlooks the fact that an awful lot of people still have it and expect it to be supported for at least another year, including you and I.

Message was edited by: Hayton on 13/01/13 23:37:21 GMT
Former Member
Message 3 of 5

Re: McAfee Service Host Problem

Thanks for the reply Hayton.

I checked the McAfee services and they are all set to "automatic". Also, they are set to "Restart the Service".

I trust McAfee would not hang us XP users out to dry, but you may very well be spot on with your opinion.

We have just a little over a year before Microsoft closes the hatch on us. McAfee is just playing ignorant until then......... And that is my opinion.

Well, between McAfee tech support and trouble shooting this problem along with reinstalling my operating system and software, I have spent over 20 hours trying to fix this.

I may just have to jump ship and install Microsoft Security Essentials and run Malwarebytes concurently, then add exclusions. Will it be perfect? Probable not.

I have five months before my McAfee license expires, and I cannot live with the constant "McAfee Service Host Has Encountered a Problem" error window popping up.

Former Member
Message 4 of 5

Re: McAfee Service Host Problem

I have had the exact same problem for a few days now.  I decided to call McAfee help only for them to try to sell me a $89.95 fix to remove a supspected infection.  When I asked them why I would want  pay them to remove something I should have been protected from with an active subscription I was told I may not have the right level of protection.  Sounded like BS to me so I refused.  I uninstalled McAfee and reloaded it and it seems to be working appropriately now.  May save someone else the $90 scam if it continues to work.

Good Luck!

PS I too have wasted too much time on what seems like THEIR problem.  Not counting the last few days I have spent 6 solid hours today!

Message was edited by: cll1102 on 1/14/13 6:18:51 PM CST

Message was edited by: cll1102 on 1/14/13 6:19:16 PM CST
Reliable Contributor
Reliable Contributor
Message 5 of 5

Re: McAfee Service Host Problem

cll1102 wrote:

I decided to call McAfee help only for them to try to sell me a $89.95 fix to remove a suspected infection. 

Oh dear. Typical response from first-line help, though. If it sounds similar to another problem then it must be the same problem. 1st-line don't have much leeway to investigate underlying causes. Yes, of course the symptoms can be caused by an infection, sometimes. But probably not in this case.

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