Why is vsmon.exe eating my CPU usage?

Written by joseph kellem
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Why is vsmon.exe eating my CPU usage?
(George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Windows runs a number of background processes, most of which do not put a particularly large load on the CPU. However, in certain situations vsmon.exe has been known to drain the CPU significantly.

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Diagnosis

When your computer begins to run slow, a quick check of the running processes often quickly identifies the problem. Task Manager details the CPU usage of each process, and sorting by CPU usage will list the worst offenders in descending order. Vsmon.exe has been reported to somtimes raise total CPU usage up to 100 per cent.

Cause

Vsmon.exe is part of the ZoneAlarm Pro security suite. It monitors incoming and outgoing e-mails, and scans them for viruses. Sometimes having more than one security suite installed can cause conflicts, and this is a possible cause of the Vsmon.exe problem.

Another possible cause is a virus or malware infection. ZoneAlarm could be running slowly because of its efforts to deal with an infection or suspicious e-mail.

Solutions

The best first step to solving the problem would be to ensure only one e-mail security program is running on the system. If two e-mail scanners are installed, disabling one of them may solve the problem.

An alternative fix would be to disable the email scanning feature in ZoneAlarm. This would require opening up the ZoneAlarm control panel and switching off the email scanning / e-mail protection service.

As there is a chance that a suspicious file or virus is involved, another potential solution would be to run a deep system scan using a reliable antivirus package, such as AVG.

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