/noexecute=optout high CPU + memory usage by cmdagent.exe ( x64)

  1. AMD X2 3800+ (64 bit)

  2. Windows XP x64 SP2

  3. CFP x64, Symantec Antivirus Corporate x64

  4. Using the /noexecute=optout (default is optin) setting in boot.ini results in high CPU and memory usage by cmdagent.exe, eventually leading to errors regarding low virtual memory and placing the system in an unresponsive state.

  5. Reverting back to default option of /noexecute=optin restores normal functionality with expected resource usage.

  6. Firewall: Train with Safe Mode, Defense+: Clean PC Mode.

Setting controls the behavior of Windows in regards to DEP (Data Execution Prevention). Default is to protect vital system processes and those optionally included. Changing to /noexecute=optout protects ALL processes EXCEPT those specifically excluded.

I thought it would be a good idea from a security standpoint to change this setting but the affect on system performance and stability is unacceptable when CFP is running.

Explanation of setting: Microsoft Learn: Build skills that open doors in your career