9 Replies Latest reply on Jul 7, 2011 12:28 PM by kpm

    Removing Softmon Service?


      I would like to remove softmon.exe on a bunch of clients...

      I'm aware that I can use "C:\Program Files\LANDesk\LDClient\softmon.exe" /remove, however, I initially thought that if I removed the check from "Standard LANDesk agent > Software Usage Monitoring >  Monitor software usage", then ran an agent update or reinstall, that doing so would also remove the service.  I discovered this not to be the case... I removed software monitoring from the Agent Watcher settings as well.  I also disabled the setting 'Enable blocking of unauthorized applications'.  I basically went through the agent removing anything that seemed it would make use of Softmon.exe.  But, softmon.exe keeps on going, even after a reboot... What is it I am missing here?  Is the above command the only way to remove the softmon service?


        • 1. Re: Removing Softmon Service?

          Why do you want to remove softmon?


          In reality a lot of things utilize softmon.  It is one of the services that will go down with any agent configuration I can think of.  Everything from software monitoring to application blocking to spyware scanning uses softmon in one way or another.  There are likely other uses as well, so just because you don't need any of those three isn't a great reason to disable it.  This brings me back to the original question of why you want it disabled.  Is it causing a problem?


          To answer your question, yes that is the only way to remove softmon short of uninstalling the agent completely.

          • 2. Re: Removing Softmon Service?

            I have also noticed the same behavior.  If there is a check box in the agent configuration to enable/disable a feature, then it seems reasonable to expect that it will actually do this regardless of one's reason.


            In our case, the reason to disable the feature was twofold:

            1. We do not use any of the features enabled by the softmon service.  We are only managing servers, not desktops.
            2. It was taking up a lot of CPU resources on our Citrix servers, creating a noticable performance impact.  In general, it was also unneccessarily using CPU resources on our ESX hosts (nearly all of our servers are virtualized).
            • 3. Re: Removing Softmon Service?



              The checkbox in the agent config DOES disable software monitoring.  The disconnect is that software monitoring is only one of the things that the softmon.exe process provides for us.  In addition to the things listed in my previous post softmon also provides some of our inventory data, so by disabling the service you are getting incomplete inventory scans.  The key thing here is that there are reasons outside of the monitoring software that we have softmon running.  By unchecking the box you are absolutely turning off one feature of softmon, but it is still there to perform other tasks.  By removing it completely you are crippling the agent.  It is entirely possible that you don't see any immediate negative impact, but the fact is that you are running in a broken state.


              I do think it is relevant to know why you would like it turned off in case there are things that can be done to remediate the problem (ie, high cpu or memory utilization from the process) rather than simply eliminate the actual benefit that it does provide.  That is the reason for that line of questioning.

              • 4. Re: Removing Softmon Service?

                It would be helpful to know exactly what impact diabling the softmon service has. Of the things you mentioned, the only one that is a concern for me is incomplete inventory scans. Would you please elaborate? Currently I am operating under the assumption all features of LDMS I use are functioning properly. You are suggesting that is not the case. Obviously I would prefer to not discover something is broken when I need it to be working...


                I totally appreciate the desire to identify potential issues with softmon and subsquently asking associated questions. To me, your initial response read like you do not believe someone could have a justifiable reason to remove it. Given the long history of softmon utilizing a lot of resources and the reasons I provided, I believe there are justifiable reasons to remove the service. This circles us back to my first paragraph: It woud be very helpful to understand the impact of removing the softmon service. If disabling the feature in the agent configuration but not uninstalling the service will still remove the performance impact, then I would be perfectly happy running in this configuation.



                • 5. Re: Removing Softmon Service?

                  We have engineers who monitor every single cpu cycle and gripe about every process that dosn't have to do with speeding up their compiling time...  When our plans involved using Landesk SLM and ALM, I could speak to the complaints that the 1% to 5% flashes of cpu consumption by softmon were a cost we were required to pay.  But our SLM and ALM plans have been scrapped, and we just go another complaint, which prompted my boss to instruct me to kill the service... Thats when I made the simple change to the agent and planned on doing an agent update.  I tested this, and noticed softmon remained, so I did a full agent push thinking that an update was not enough... softmon continued... thats when I did some digging and discovered I'd have to do more to remove softmon...

                  People will complain about softmon because it is highly visible to those who monitor processes... it is always popping up around 3% to 5% cpu usage.  One of the complaints was however more legitimate with usage two to three times this.  However, since I was given the marching orders to kill the service, I decided investigating the excessive use in that one instance was not worth the effort.  I suspect it has to do with a problem we have had to deal with on occasion because we could not place any exclusions on what Landesk monitored or scanned.  Our developers use some build tools that copy thousands of executables over the network.  These are executed at cached locations in temporary folders.  But since softmon adds to the MonitorLog key each time an executable(s) of an application is (are) run... well, that equals a lot of monitoring, scanning, and registry bloat.  The registry key can be deleted, but it just populates again...  I'm not sure if this or something similar caused this issue, but like I said, I don't need to investigate, I just have to kill the service.

                  That said, we are still relying on Landesk to deliver hardware and software inventories.  If killing softmon makes it so I cannont get accurate software publisher, titles, and versions, then I need to argue for its continued use...  Is this the case?  If I disable softmon, and then run the following query, will the data be incomplete?


                  SELECT a.DisplayName, c.SerialNum, a.FullName, a.ComputerLocation, d.ClientConfigurationName,
                  b.SuiteName, b.Version, b.Publisher, b.InstallDate
                  FROM dbo.landesk d
                  INNER JOIN dbo.computer a
                  ON d.computer_idn=a.computer_idn
                  INNER JOIN dbo.appsoftwaresuites b
                  ON a.computer_idn=b.computer_idn
                  INNER JOIN dbo.bios c
                  ON a.computer_idn=c.computer_idn



                  • 6. Re: Removing Softmon Service?

                    Hi guys!

                    Sorry about the delay on the reply.  With the long weekend it took a bit for me to find time to respond.


                    With some things that our software does only a few people are allowed to know all the details.  Softmon falls under that category.  Because of that I (and everyone else in a support role) don't have a complete picture.  Everything that I know it does is listed in this thread.  In regards to the inventory data it is central do gathering the usage information for inventory (separate from the more detailed usage information for SLM).


                    Althought it often shows CPU usage I would like to know what the CPU time is.  That's a more accurate indication of CPU usage over time.  If that is high I would look at the following things that are known to heavily utilize softmon:


                    Spyware scanning - Real time or scheduled

                    Real Time Application Blocking - Through SLM or through Security Suite (especially with a lot of applications in the list to be blocked)

                    Software License Monitoring - Especially with a lot of software in the list to be tracked


                    The remaining part of Softmon that I know what it does is the inventory data on software usage.  That really shouldn't take a lot of CPU time.  On my machine I show System Idle Process using the vast majority of my time (makes sense).  It shows 9 hours 30 minutes and counting.  After that I have AV, sitting at 3 hours 15ish.  It is also moving, but very slowly.  The next highest thing I have is just over 8 minutes, and it's an svchost process that looks like it's tied in with about a dozen services.


                    By comparison Softmon.exe is sitting on 17 seconds.  I don't have application blocking, spyware scanning, etc. enabled on this machine, so basically it's doing the inventory data and not much else.


                    Are either of you guys seeing softmon.exe using a lot of CPU time?

                    • 7. Re: Removing Softmon Service?



                      I meant to respond directly to your question here.


                      I'm not an inventory expert, but I don't believe softmon directly gathers any of the data you listed.  The Bios table definitely isn't, and I believe the appsoftwaresuites is gathered through the same manner as Add/Remove programs does, that is through various Windows monitored registry locations.


                      I didn't test this information to be sure, but I'm almost positive it's right.

                      • 8. Re: Removing Softmon Service?

                        Thanks for the info Mach6.  I've disabled all the mentioned services and am pushing an update.  I'll see, after that if we still get gripes about softmon, at which point I'll shut it down on individual basis.

                        • 9. Re: Removing Softmon Service?

                          Actually, I should verify before I push out an agent update... with regards to disabling Software Usage Monitoring, Application blocker, and Agent watcher, can such an agent configuration change be applied to clients with an agent update task, or would such changes require an agent reinstall?