Peaceful coexistence with antivirus software

Thu, 12/15/2016 - 12:53 By Dave Brooks

It’s a fact of life that you need to have antivirus software running on your system. We have it in the company since the days when the worst problem was Word macro viruses.

However, the reason for this article is that certain things about our virtual printer software can trigger some antivirus setups. In many ways, RPM Remote Print Manager® (RPM) is not a typical Windows application:

  • RPM is a network service, not a client. In printing you are not pushing notifications from a central server, as with email; nor are you polling for new print jobs. It’s just the way the protocol was set up
  • With RPM, a remote client (often on another machine) connects directly to your machine. This is unusual and can be flagged. Typically your firewall will handle that potential conflict for you, but some customers still run into problems (see below)
  • Also out of the norm is the fact that RPM generates a sizeable amount of disk activity, including creating and writing to files (many, many files), database updates and log file creation and updates

If you have noticed the following

Some customers report errors stating “filename does not exist” or “file is empty”. Some have noticed that when RPM is next started, these same files are reported in the spool folder but not associated with a job.

Less often we have received reports of network security software taking over port 515. This is also a serious concern because without that port we can’t receive print jobs. If this were happening, you could go to a command prompt and run “netstat” and you would see that “system” is the owner of port 515. It’s not supposed to be “system” rather “printer” or your hostname plus “printer”.

Unfortunately, there is no way to recapture that port and make it available to RPM without restarting your system.

Steps to resolve these issues

Step 1: uninstall your antivirus software and restart your computer system. If RPM performs properly without any of the headaches mentioned above, then you know it’s the antivirus. We’ll explain which exclusions to add in a moment.

If the problems are not resolved, it could be networking software interfering with our database server. Please contact our technical support for help with that.

Step 2: reinstall your antivirus software and add an exclusion for the folder where RPM is installed. The 64-bit version of RPM typically installs in "C:\Program Files\Brooks Internet Software\RPM"

The 32-bit version of RPM typically installs in "C:\Program Files (x86)\Brooks Internet Software\RPM"

This may vary depending on your Windows edition or language version. If you need help tracking it down please contact our technical support.

Step 3: next, add an exclusion for the RPM data folder.

Microsoft advises software vendors to install their program’s data files in what they call the “APPDATA” folder. For a logged in user, the APPDATA folder is under your user account. For a service like RPM, it is typically "C:\ProgramData\Brooks Internet Software\RPM"

Final thoughts

If you're making exceptions for our install and APPDATA folders, you might also make any network or firewall exceptions for our LPD listening port (515) and RPC port (9198) and any others you might open such as port 9100.