Microsoft SeaPort.exe Process
The Microsoft SeaPort Search Enhancement Process seemingly comes bundled with the Windows Live Suite regardless of what options are chosen by the user during installation. The explanation of SeaPort found in the description field of the Services Administrator Tool is that SeaPort, “Enables the detection, download and installation of up-to-date configuration files for Microsoft Search Enhancement applications. Also provides server communication for the customer experience improvement program. If this service is disabled, search enhancement features such as search history may not work correctly.”
Assuming that is a fairly accurate description, then it would seem that the SeaPort service is essentially an automatic updater for “Microsoft Search Enhancement applications.” So, it seems that search history is one of the search enhancement applications.
However, seaport.exe runs automatically and continuously upon startup regardless of whether any searches have been performed or browser windows opened. Indeed, the SeaPort service is set to Automatic. That means that it adds additional time to the boot-up process and that its resource usage starts immediately.
SeaPort.exe appears to use approximately 4.5 MB of RAM. All of this seems like a bit much for a process whose only function is to download and install configuration files for a little used enhancement to the search function. If one never uses search history, then the extra boot time, and memory usage, not to mention network bandwidth is wasted. With Microsoft so frequently accused of bloat in its systems and programs it seems an odd choice of what to use precious system resources on.
Is It a Virus, Malware, or Trojan
Searches on both Google and Microsoft Live turn up no Microsoft webpages explaining SeaPort or its installation as part of the Windows Live software package. Also absent is any discussion of uninstalling SeaPort to save resources or improve performance. And, conspicuously absent is any explanation of the benefit the average user should expect to receive for sacrificing system resources for SeaPort’s ever-on running state.
Instead, the majority of search results are from panicked users who suddenly discovered a new process running on their PCs and, being able to find no explanation, worried that they had contracted a virus. One forum answers a concerned user by encouraging them to report what he assumes is malware to his virus detection company.
No Harm No Foul?
The good news is that SeaPort is not a virus, malware, Trojan, or other unsavory software. The bad news is that it does seem to use system resource for a dubious benefit and does not easily go away. The really bad news is that Microsoft seems to have decided to use the computer users are dummies mentality on this one. The Windows Live applications installs a new automatically running process without telling the end user. Obviously, Microsoft's position is that no one would notice, and if anyone did, they should trust that Microsoft knows what is best for them. Of course, this strategy has failed before.
If you conclude that you would like to be the one who decides what is necessary to run on your computer, you will likely want to delete SeaPort. Unfortunately, you won't find any uninstall program in Add Remove Programs or anywhere else.
To get rid of SeaPort once and for all, read Part 2: How To Delete Microsoft SeaPort.exe.