“Could not start CMA process” error in McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8.0i with ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO)

The school I work at is lucky enough to have a site license for McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8.0i, working in concert with McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO). As anti-virus software goes, McAfee makes the best (and more importantly, updates it every hour), even though it causes its share of headaches. One of these headaches is the “Could not start CMA processes” error that crops up from time to time, seemingly at random. The culprit is in fact ePO, which places a log file in “…\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Network Associates\Common Framework\Db” and then goes ahead and messes itself all up, forcing you to reinstall it…then begins the fun. Every time you try and reinstall it, even forcing the install, it fails miserably.

The quick way to your temp folder…
temp folder

The error message, however, does point you to the NAILogs folder in your Temp folder. You can get there easily by going to Start -> Run -> %temp% -> Ok. Open the NAILogs folder. If the log shows an error to the effect that it couldn’t create the “Db” folder in “Common Framework,” simply go back to the “Application Data” folder and toast the “Network Associates” folder. Then, reinstall ePO and watch it work perfectly.

On a side note, this file is the target mentioned in a vulnerability disclosure listed on knowledge.mcafee.com entitled McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator Information Disclosure Vulnerability [NAI29993]. Apparently, a remote machine can access the log file through a web page, if the setting to allow such a thing is turned on. Turn it off, and you’re fine.

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  1. John says:

    Great tip thanks for the help, could not figure out what was going on! I have an epol remove bat file if you are interested? just email me.

  2. Josh says:

    "As anti-virus software goes, McAfee makes the best"

    I've been dealing with McAfee at work for a year now and it does not detect or find viruses at all. The only thing I have ever seen it do is take up 78,963 K of memory at all times and detect legitimate files as viruses.

    McAfee is like a police officer that would not be able to catch a murder that was already in a cell in the jail. I'd be better hosing my PC down with Lysol for virus protection.

    Your views on McAfee creating "the best" AV products are delusional and borderlines insanity.

  3. Alcibiades says:

    Hmm, that's an interesting take, Josh. Ignoring your ridiculously immature ad hominem attack, I'd like to ask you a couple of clarification questions:

    1) You mention McAfee as if it's a program, not a company. Which version of their software are you running? While I do think VS Enterprise does a great job of virus protection, I'd be the first to tell you McAfee.com or any other cheap version of their software is probably the worst of all possible worlds. Sooo, what product are you actually using?

    2) Why did you post this comment here? This post was for people who work with McAfee VSE and actually find it useful to fix a problem that sometimes occurs with an administrative deployment, rather than whining about how terrible the program is.

    3) What should everyone be using for virus protection that works so much better?

    4) If you are using VSE and ePO, have you tried configuring it so that it works with the common software at your work, or did you just expect it to work out of the box? This is enterprise-level software, and occasionally such things DO require customization.

    5) Which 'legitimate files' does McAfee detect as viruses? I have it installed on 5,000 computers right now, and no one has ever complained of that problem.

    Thanks for your imput, Josh. I hope you have the guts to follow up on this and not just go around flaming strangers.

  4. abraham oletuno says:

    i have tried the above means but nothing seems to work,the error that i get when i clicke on the framepkg is that cma could not start.when i run virus scan 8.5 with sp1 in tne common i get-failed to initialize updates system make sure mcafee framework service is runnin MCAFEE common framework returne derror8004154.could you please help

  5. Innocent says:

    I have the same problem while I am installing McAfee "coud not start CMA process", I go in NAILogs, I see the message telling me to delete the folder which contains FRAMEWORK ,but I try to delete it it does not work(impossible to be deleted). Ay help please, thanks

  6. Davide says:


    Stop any network associates/mcafee service you're running before trying to delete that folder. On a remote machine you can do that from "computer mangement/connect to another computer".

  7. Chelo_PR says:

    Wow, now it worked. For me, to work, I needed to delete both files, the one in application data, and the other one in program files. The one in program files didn't complain at all, it went straight to the recycle bin, but when I tried to delete the one in application data, it didn't wanted to delete, instead, I was getting a message of access is denied. So what I did was, do a cut and paste to the file in another folder and that did the trick. Then I deleted it from there. I don't know if that can help anyone, but after that it worked for me. Thank you.

  8. tsr says:

    I was trying to install ePO Agent on a windows 2003 server machine when a "Couldn't start CMA Processes" was displayed and the installation gets aborted.

  9. rofl says:

    lol, I can't believe u chastised the guy for saying McAfee is crap. McAfee IS crap. Its a consumer grade product that was hacked and half-assed together to make it appear to be a corporate app. Their definitions are some of the poorest on the market. the processor utilization without excluding your known applications is absolutely horrendous dragging servers to their knees. If it wasn;t for Symantec's far-worse POS product, I'd say McAfee has the worst AV product on the market hands down.

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