back to article You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes

Security software outfit Avast are trying to figure out why the combination of recent Windows patches and updates to the latter company's software are breaking PCs. Hordes of users have found that their PCs, especially those running Windows 8 and 8.1, grind to a halt after they apply both Microsoft's recent KB3000850 update …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Another Laurel & Hardy moment

    "Another Fine mess...."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another Laurel & Hardy moment

      "Another fine mess"...probably thanks to Avast, to be specific.

      I stopped using Avast earlier this year, after many years, for the reason of shocking quality of Avast updates and new versions which had clearly not been properly tested, coupled with their rapidly declining malware detection capability. Not only that, but full-frontal adverts for paid options.....despite the fact I was on a commercial license not the freebie!

      A couple of years back Avast was taken over and since then the new owners have clearly sought to reduce costs and increase revenues, to the detriminent of a once great company and product.

      Them blaming MS is just deflection, they need to deal with the masses of issues in their own backyard as far as I am concerned.

      1. Unicornpiss
        Thumb Down

        Re: Another Laurel & Hardy moment

        I can't say whether the problem is due to MS or Avast, but even if it is Avast, they still have a better track record than McAfee when it comes to bricking PCs.

        But I do agree 100% with your assessment of Avast as being more about revenue than protection these days. Since Avast became mainstream, users of the free product (which used to be a true gem) are subject to popups like "Your PC can run faster", "Upgrade now", etc. which used to be the mainstay of greyware products. I used to recommend Avast whenever I'd do a side job, now I guess AVG is the only true freeware player left.

        1. Oliver Mayes

          Re: Another Laurel & Hardy moment

          "Since Avast became mainstream, users of the free product (which used to be a true gem) are subject to popups like "Your PC can run faster", "Upgrade now", etc"

          Not just the free product, I use the paid for version and they've started throwing adverts up at me all the time. I get about 10 popups a day from the client offering to sell me additional functionality. It's not possible to disable these popups without disabling the software.

          Then there's the browser plugin, which includes a mandatory 'price comparison' component which inserts adverts for other websites whenever I buy something from Amazon. I had to disable the browser integration completely to get rid of that.

          My license expires in about 6 months, I will definitely not be renewing it and will look for another AV. But I just can't find one these days that isn't a resource hog or hopelessly ineffective.

          1. Bloodbeastterror

            Safeprice

            You might find this useful:

            http://blogs.angloinfo.com/i-ve-lost-my-internet/2014/04/27/avast-safeprice-how-to-remove-that-flippin-pest/

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Another Laurel & Hardy moment

            None of them are worth it anymore

            http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/07/29/antivirus_blood_splattered_as_biz_warned_audit_or_die/

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Another Laurel & Hardy moment

        I too removed Avast from my sister's PC a month or so ago because latest versions were too heavy and made her old PC too slow, and riddled with too many unwelcome "options" and "ads".

        I do not know if the size of the "rollup", over 700MB, created issues while Avast tries to check everything inside and checks every file change and every executable run.

        Anyway, when I install so large patches I disable the AV, or it could take a very long time to complete the process, and to ensure nothing goes wrong because the AV imagines theres something bad in the patch and crash something.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Another Laurel & Hardy moment

          I too removed Avast

          I did the same about a year ago, while I was removing Windows.

          Never looked back. Until reading this article *shudder*

      3. Hughhh

        Re: Another Laurel & Hardy moment

        "Avast hits its users over the head, drags them kicking and screaming into the future."

        http://forums.winamp.com/showthread.php?t=379568

        Earlier this year, Avast treated its ENTIRE USER BASE with absolute contempt. It force-updated ALL USERS to the very latest version of their software, completely disregarding the very real prospect that many folks had perfectly valid were using older versions – older, lower-spec hardware being the prime example. No warning was given, no explanation was offered. One of the devs happened to see one of the [many] Avast forum threads complaining about what they had done, and offered an explanation as to why they'd done it (to minimise redundant version support going forward).

        Avast should have offered its users the option to either (A) update and use its supported versions or (B) uninstall Avast, but instead it ignored users' "MANUAL" update settings and forced its shitty update down all their throats.

        I will never again use Avast software. I act as sysadmin over only a handful of systems – and I have moved from Avast to a different, superior solution (according to numerous recent independent tests) – however I will also tell anybody who cares to listen, to AVOID AVAST AT ALL COSTS.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "new memory related functions which are not fully compatible with Avast."

    So now Microsoft has to check with every AV, and generally, every single Windows application before issuing a patch? Come on, Avast, you're the ones supposed to make your products compatible and test them, not the other way around.

    At least for Linux users this kind of problem is already solved by a Linus rant, usually adding a few expletives for additional amusement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "new memory related functions which are not fully compatible with Avast."

      Doubtless showing my ignorance here, but do software vendors get previews of Windows patches so they can do their own compatibility testing?

      1. David Austin

        Re: "new memory related functions which are not fully compatible with Avast."

        Microsoft (For the most part) do test patches against all the API's - Application programming interfaces - that a version of Windows supports. For the most part they do a reasonably good job, The idea being if your program follows all the guidelines for whatever OS it's on, Microsoft won't break your program - Think how many legacy programs designed for Windows 95 you can still run on Windows 10 without too many issues.

        The problem being there's a lot of clever developers that find undocumented and unsupported ways to make their program work, which Microsoft have no way to know about, and can't test against. It's the same problem Apple fight on iOS: One of their arguments against Flash was that it would stop them making low level optimisations as Flash Abstraction would hide them, and they kerb stomp any developers that find "Working but Undocumented" calls, as they may change/disappear in future versions.

        Without any insider info, I'd say it's an even split on weather Avast was using undocumented calls that the update changed, or if this was a genuine compatibility error between a low level program and the OS Software.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: "new memory related functions which are not fully compatible with Avast."

          Without any insider info, I'd say it's an even split on whether Avast was using undocumented calls that the update changed, or if this was a genuine compatibility error between a low level program and the OS Software.

          Definitely agree, given the statement "This Windows updates calls new memory related functions". There is a question as to when MS released information on these new memory functions to third-parties, as it could be argued that Avast was operating correctly and detected abnormal behaviour...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "new memory related functions which are not fully compatible with Avast."

            Avast was operating correctly and detected abnormal behaviour

            It detected Windows was running?

            1. Fatman
              Joke

              Re: "new memory related functions which are not fully compatible with Avast."

              Avast was operating correctly and detected abnormal behaviour

              It detected Windows was running installed on the PC?

              FTFY!!!

        2. Robert Helpmann??
          Pirate

          Re: "new memory related functions which are not fully compatible with Avast."

          The problem being there's a lot of clever developers that find undocumented and unsupported ways to make their program work, which Microsoft have no way to know about, and can't test against.

          This is exactly what happened with Adobe PhotoShop a number of years ago. MS patched a flaw in their memory management that Adobe was taking advantage of and suddenly PhotoShop started crashing.

          As far as Avast acting like malware, well what's in a name? Arrr!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "new memory related functions which are not fully compatible with Avast."

      So now Microsoft has to check with every AV, and generally, every single Windows application before issuing a patch?

      No, just the popular AVs would suffice - or at least provide a preview to the AV vendors. This type of thing probably accounts for 20% of update cock-ups (for me, at least).

      I mean, the reason these patches arrive so late is so they can be thoroughly tested, right?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Microsoft, with the latter company most often felt to be in the wrong.

    Darn, how how could they not test the billions of combinations of software and hardware out there before releasing a patch. id1ots!

  4. David Roberts

    slow download and install?

    I have recently updated three W8.1 systems, which use Windows Defender, and the updates have been very slow for no obvious reason.

    I did have a look at the performance monitor and there seemed to be a lot of disc activity and quite a bit of CPU but very little network.

    So the slow installs are not necessarily tied to Avast.

  5. James 51

    Well this explains the call from my father in law last night. He couldn't access in the internet until he uninstalled avast. He did download it again immediately and his computer still worked after that. Guess he got the patch in the new version otherwise he would have had to party like it was 1989.

  6. Robert Ramsay

    Anti-virus

    Can anyone recommend Windows antivirus that doesn't suck donkey balls and/or suck up all your resources?

    1. clanger9

      Re: Anti-virus

      ESET?

      We use the Endpoint Antivirus product here on our corporate PCs and it's the least intrusive system I've come across...

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: Anti-virus

        Another Eset user ere

        I use Eset Nod32 for myself and have 4 Licenses for the suite for family (I would have 5 but am then forced to go for a small business one, there is a 5 device 5 mobile family pack but I don't have the need to protect 5 mobile devices or have to re-enter username and password details for members of the family).

        It can be configured to be quiet, upgrades mean not needing to reinstall anything or activating as it uses a username and password system. I wish it would auto upgrade to new major releases like it does with smaller releases.

    2. nigeb

      Re: Anti-virus

      Trend Micro. Doesn't nag much, uses less resources than Norton, Mcaffee, Kaspersky imho.

      Of course you're now going to scroll down & see a big argument...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Time to Upgrade to a better OS

    Avast work fine on XP!!!!

  8. Elmer Phud

    This morning everything froze and I had to hit the power button.

    After the lappy came back to life I wondered why Avast was being so busy before it al stopped.

    (but there was yet another Ffox update so . . .)

  9. Martin Maloney
    Coat

    Downvote bait

    Am I the only one here who uses MS Security Essentials and Malwarebytes?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      Re: Downvote bait

      Am I the only one here who uses MS Security Essentials and Malwarebytes?

      Judging by the number of viruses in the wild, obviously not.

    2. David Austin

      Re: Downvote bait

      Better than nothing, and the fact it's turned on by default in Windows 8/8.1/10 has to have some level of positive impact on novice users that would otherwise just fire up the PC and not worry about security.

      Still, you can and should do much better.

  10. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    Why blame Microsoft? If you ship software to run on another vendor's platform then it's up to you to make sure your software is compatible with the software, not the other way round. Wherever the blame why is it always the users of the free version who whinge loudest?

  11. david 12 Silver badge

    "Defence-in-depth security and Schannel hardening"

    But no explanation what that means. Not mentioned at all in the "list of fixed issues"

  12. John Savard

    Maybe This Time

    it is more Avast's fault than Microsoft's, but really, they should redesign Windows so that it can not brick, ever. You should always be able to get as far as a startup screen that lets you roll back the last update.

    And it should also be possible, during those "do not turn off your computer" screens, to safely abort the update in progress.

    And when Windows is shutting down, if it takes too long, there should be a way to change the display so you can see which program is having the problem. There is plenty of room for improvement in Windows' robustness.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anti-virus software is just a menace.

    Problem is the Windows OS design is such that it can't be made totally secure without compromising backward compatibility.

    In an ideal world the OS wouldn't need anti-virus or it would at least be supplied with the OS.

  14. Hans 1
    Mushroom

    Getting error messages, yeah, that is Windows claiming it " might not be" compatible with <vendor>

    All started back in the days of DR-DOS.

    The sooner MS is gone, the better. Come on Nadella, hasten the pace ... you can do better than Ballmer, he managed to sink Xbox, Mobile, Music player, slabs, and started with Office (Office 360, anyone ?) ... you can do better - admittedly, killing .Net was one heck an achievement as well - credit goes to you on that one.

  15. Tree

    Exclamation!!!

    The title puts the exclamation point at the wrong place. It should be Avast! not Brick! We have no problems with Avast! but use Windows 7, not Windows HATE!!!

  16. Roesjka

    KB3000850

    It's not only Avast how many of you lot have been reading abt. KB3000850. Not by that many if I look at the comments.

    There are plenty of others who do not run Avast having the same issues.

    In this case blame is more on MS for not conveying the changes they would make to memory calls so companies like Avast or others could take the neccessary steps to prevent any mishaps.

  17. illiad

    blind careless users...

    I have never had problems with avast.. BUT then when I install, I DON'T 'blindly press all the accept buttons' !!

    I S L O W L Y go through the 'custom' install options, removing any option not wanted..

    and I am a Firefox only guy, do use or need MS updates that are only to patch the rot that is IE, etc... I have lots of other security software that keeps me safe!!

    BTW, BLAME the reg editor for pushing this ancient topic!!!!

  18. Unicornpiss
    Pint

    I have no idea why this topic was revived...

    But for anyone looking for a lightweight, free AV solution for Windows, I've been using "Ad-Aware" AV on Win 7 for some time now. It is free, does not nag you, doesn't seem to consume a lot of resources, and as far as I know is effective. I have not encountered an actual virus 'in the wild' to test it with, but it's gotten good reviews and it seems to respond to the Eicar test string, so I at least know it's functioning.

    It's all the goodness that Avast used to be before losing their way, selling out, and losing sight of the true mission.

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