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Intel Anti-Theft Service Issues with Windows 7, Chrome, and Avast

Intel Anti-Theft Service Issues with Windows 7, Chrome, and Avast
Posted on Dec 5, 2012 by Stephen Owens
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On a new Intel core i7 laptop (ultrabook actually) running Windows 7 64 pro, I installed Avast! Free. A few days later I installed Intel Anti-Theft Service (provided by McAfee). A free one year subscription was included with the new laptop. It was like opening the proverbial can of worms. The final solution was to uninstall Intel Anti-Theft Service. To be helpful to the Internet at large, I'll layout some of the problems that occurred after activation of the Intel AT Technology.

The Problems related to the Intel Anti-Theft Technology

I didn't notice these problems right away as most of my work is now based in the cloud. A few days after I installed the Intel Anti-Theft Service I began to notice a few problems. Some of the larger more annoying issues:

  • Right clicking a folder or file caused the Exploer.exe to freeze. Actually, it was just taking a long time to load. If I kept the mouse pointer over the file, after a right click, the loading spinner would display for about a minute plus before showing the shell menu.

  • I couldn't install Chrome extensions. Chrome kept telling me the temp local directory wasn't accessible.

  • I couldn’t install some software that was dependent on Adobe Air.

  • I noticed Avast wasn't running. I couldn't start the Avast service because "Either a required impersonation level was not provided, or the provided impersonation level is invalid."

Windows 7 Right Click Shell Slow or Freezing

I started with the right click issue, which only happened on folder or files. I went through the normal process of:

  1. disabling mapped network drives from showing in the Send to menu,
  2. and disable all non-windows shell extensions one at a time, using ShellExView.

None of that worked.

Right Click Would Work For A Few Seconds

When I boot the computer I had about 20 seconds where the right click would work just fine. Then it would begin the minute delay load behavior. I watched what was loading, and checked the error logs. Avast was throwing errors when it tried to start. Avast would load but not start.

Avast! Anti-Virus Would Not Start

The anti-virus has to be running, the most important issue at hand.

The error that Avast would display when it tried to start it was, "either a required impersonation level was not provided, or the provided impersonation level is invalid."

UAC & Impersonate A Client After Authentication

I tried turning off the UAC (User Account Control) and verified my user account was part of the administrator group. I also added my specific user account to the Impersonate a client after authentication settings, and confirming the Administrator group was assigned to these settings as well.

  1. Open the Control Panel and type "Administrative Tools" into the search box.
  2. Double click Local Security Policy.
  3. Expand Local Policies.
  4. Click (to highlight) User Rights Assignment. The right pane will display some options.
  5. Click Impersonate a client after authentication.
  6. Click the Add User or Group... button.
  7. In the"Enter the object names to select text box, type your username.
  8. Click the Check Names button. This will verify and format the name correctly.
  9. Click Apply / Ok to close all the windows.

Those actions didn't work.

Uninstall and Reinstall Avast

I tried to uninstall and reinstall Avast! Free. Still will not start. In fact, the reinstall was buggy and Avast threw errors during the install process.

I knew that Avast worked because it was the first thing I installed and it had been running fine for a day or so.

Intel Anti-Theft Technology, The Culprit

From some past experiences I know that that McAfee products and Avast will not play well together. Thus, I looked into the Intel Anti-Theft Service settings. One of them is to encrypt local files when the machine is stolen. I had this feature turned off.

I was thinking about going through the Intel Anti Theft technology support documentation to figure out how to allow Chrome to self install extensions and allow Intel AT to play nice with Avast. However, Intel Anti-Theft isn't really important to me. I only wanted to use the location service. There are other products that do that, and this was a free one year subscription that Newegg threw in when the laptop was purchased.

Uninstallation of Intel Anti-Theft Service

I uninstalled the Intel Anti-Theft Service, which required the password I set when I setup the account with McAfee. Everything is working fantastically again.

Even though I had my settings to not encrypt my files, when I uninstalled the Intel AT Service it said, "decrypting files." It took about two minutes on an SSD to complete the decrypt process.

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