Another Laurel & Hardy moment
"Another Fine mess...."
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 …
"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.
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.
"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.
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.
"Avast hits its users over the head, drags them kicking and screaming into the future."
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.
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.
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.
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...
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!
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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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!!
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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