McAfee Virus Scan Enterprise - Blocked by Access Protection rule

Recently something strange started happening on my corporate laptop. It stopped playing mp3 audio. Windows media player gave the error as:

"Windows Media Player cannot access the file. The file might be in use, you might not have access to the computer where the file is stored, or your proxy settings might not be correct."

Also I was unable to copy, create, rip (to mp3), etc.

First I thought that this was due to some group policy. But I could not locate the settings anywhere. After much searching around, I found the problem to be with McAfee AV. The results were right there in the "AccessProtectionLog.txt" file.

Our corporate uses McAfee Virus Scan Enterprise as an AV solution. They had put a user define rule to block .mp3 and .rm files. There was no way I could edit the settings as the UI was password protected.

This post explains how to get around this problem.

Step 1: Stop all McAfee Services and disable them
1. Click on Start --> Run
2. Enter 'services.msc' (without quotes) and hit enter.
3. Stop all the McAfee related services. These should be:
- McAfee Framework Service
- McAfee McShield
- McAfee Task Manager
4. Edit the properties of all of the above. Change the 'Startup Type' from 'Automatic' to 'Disabled'.

Step 2: Stop automatic loading of McAfee at system startup
1. Click on Start --> Run
2. Enter 'msconfig' (without quotes) and hit enter.
3. Stop automatic starting of McAfee programs. These should be:
- McAfeeUpdaterUI
- ShStatEXE

Step 3a: Remove the McAfee VirusScan Console UI password
1. Click on Start --> Run
2. Enter 'regedit' (without quotes) and hit enter.
3. Go to the key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/McAfee/DesktopProtection
4. On the RHS panel, there could be a string called UIP with some hexadecimal value
5. Double click this string and remove the hexadecimal value
6. Click OK.

Step 3b: Remove the McAfee VirusScan Console UI password
1. Click Start --> All Programs --> McAfee --> VirusScan Console
2. Ignore the errors that you might get regarding McAfee services not running
3. Go to the Tools --> User Interface Options
4. Click on the tab 'Password Options'
5. Select 'No Password'
6. Click on 'Apply' and then 'OK'.

Step 4: Edit Access Protection
1. Click Start --> All Programs --> McAfee --> VirusScan Console
2. Ignore the errors that you might get regarding McAfee services not running
3. In the console, there will be many entries.
4. Right click on 'Access Protection' and click on 'Properties'
5. Under the 'Access Protection' there will be an entry called 'User-Defined Rules'. Click on this.
6. Delete the rules that you don't wish (but check carefully first using the 'Edit' button).

Step 5: Reset and Reboot your PC
1. Undo the steps in Step 2.
2. Undo the steps in Step 1.
3. Reboot the machine.