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Other => General Topics => Topic started by: marlbrook on January 10, 2014, 09:05:04 PM

Title: XP hangs on startup when Avast anti-virus and Outpost Firewall are installed
Post by: marlbrook on January 10, 2014, 09:05:04 PM

Along with others I have been plagued by this problem for some time. I am currently running the latest versions of both programs.

The symptoms are that intermittently but frequently Windows begins to load then hangs, and the Outpost icon remains 'inactive'. Right clicking on it gets a 'service not started' reply.

This is almost certainly a conflict between Outpost Firewall and Avast anti-virus, as uninstalling either cures the problem. As it is intermittent it is very difficult to work out what was happening, but after a lot of experimenting I MAY have found a solution.

The culprit appears to be 'avastemupdate.exe'.

Users of Outpost will know that it will not allow any internet connection until it has fully started. 'avastemupdate.exe' is set to run at Windows startup, and if all is working OK, connects via the
Internet, does its stuff, then closes. However if Outpost has not fully started, and 'avastemupdate.exe' runs it will continue to try to connect to the Net, but cannot. This apparently causes a 'loop' which then stops any other startup programs executing fully, including Outpost, and eventually causes Windows to lock up completely.

Using the free version of WinPatrol, I initially experimented with delaying the start of AVAST, but this did not cure the problem.  I had time to start Windows Task Manager and saw that despite the main AVAST program not running immediately, 'avastemupdate.exe' still was, and remained 'running' right up to the time Windows froze. The file was not shown in any startup folder, but again WinPatrol came to my assistance. It was being run as a 'scheduled task', but was not shown as a task in Windows, however it was shown as a scheduled task item by WinPatrol, which also allowed me to delete it from the list, which I did.

The file 'avastemupdate.exe' is situated in the Avast folder in Program Files.

I added the 'avastemupdate.exe' file to WinPatrol's delayed options startup list. To be certain I also transferred the Startup entry for Avast from the startup list in WinPatrol.  (You will get a warning saying AVAST is trying to re-instate itself into the standard startup sequence, but WinPatrol can cope with this by setting that new entry to disabled. The delayed start of the file is not affected, and it will run.)

I had  to decide on the length of the 'delay' for the new delayed start entry I added for 'avastemupdate.exe', and the Avast program itself.  Initially I set 'avastemupdate.exe' to be delayed by 3 minutes, and the Avast program by 3 mins 30 seconds, so I had time to monitor what was happening in Windows Task Manager.

After numerous re-boots over several days, on no occasion did Windows hang.  Eventually, the Outpost firewall icon turned to blue indication it was operating, and then after the delay 'avastemupdate.exe' executed, and closed itself, followed by AVAST activating. Because Outpost was running 'avastemupdate.exe' could connect to the Net, execute and not cause the offending 'loop'.

All that is now needed is to decide on the final values for the delayed startup.  This will vary on individual computers. The solution is to see how long it takes for your Outpost icon to turn blue, then choose your delays accordingly. Personally I would add 10 seconds to the delay for 'avastemupdate.exe' , and 15 seconds to the start of AVAST initally (that is adding those seconds to the time you find it takes Outpost to run completely).

Anyone aggrieved at the thought of delaying the Windows boot up time should consider that if this problem exists, one may have to re-boot the PC several times before it loads completely. Personally I prefer an extra few seconds and Windows booting first time.

I have seen other posts about possible cures where comments were made indicating that delaying AVAST opens up the computer to possible attacks. This is not really relevant in this case because if Outpost has not fully started there are not Internet connections possible in either direction, and in any case it is always  unwise to download anything until both Outpost and AVAST indicate they are working. This solution ensures Outpost is functioning as usual, and AVAST runs just a few seconds later.

Although the above explanation is long, actually doing the 'fix' takes very little time. All you need is WinPatrol (free), and being free of the Windows freezing problem is great.
Title: Re: XP hangs on startup when Avast anti-virus and Outpost Firewall are installed
Post by: Para-Noid on January 10, 2014, 10:56:28 PM
I don't use Outpost but does this have anything to do with this topic?

Title: Re: XP hangs on startup when Avast anti-virus and Outpost Firewall are installed
Post by: marlbrook on January 10, 2014, 11:41:08 PM
I don't think so. I have been having the freezing problem for some time, with earlier versions of both programs too. There are quite a few posts on the Net outlining the same symptoms, with many suggestions on how it may be fixed, but none worked for me until now. It does also seem to be XP specific.

The biggest complication is the fact it is intermittent, so it is understandable that there have been a lot of proposed solutions which do not work in the long run, but apparently seem to at first.

In fact doing anything at all may look as if it has cured the freeze initially, but in reality everything seemed to work only because of the intermittent nature of the issue.

I had tried many of these proposed solutions myself, but the one I posted is the only thing that has fixed things. permanently.

If I am correct 'avastemupdate.exe' is causing the conflict with Outpost, and could do the same with any firewall that stops internet traffic until it completes. There is also logic behind why it would happen. Certainly until Outpost runs it will block all internet traffic, and the indications are when 'avastemupdate.exe' runs before Outpost it constantly keeps trying to get Net access, and is written in such a way it ony exits when it has done so.  That would result in a recurring loop that in this case stops Outpost and other startup programs loading, and eventually locks up Windows XP.

It may be that the intermittent nature is a product of how XP executes startup programs, if the order of startup programs varies from boot to boot. The method I described always ensures Outpost executes fully before 'avastemupdate.exe' runs.

Title: Re: XP hangs on startup when Avast anti-virus and Outpost Firewall are installed
Post by: schmidthouse on January 11, 2014, 12:24:36 AM
There has been discussion relating to emergencyupdate(Avast) and OPFW on the Agnitum forum as well.
Look here:http://www.outpostfirewall.com/forum/showthread.php?27540-Avast-9-emergency-update-exe-files (http://www.outpostfirewall.com/forum/showthread.php?27540-Avast-9-emergency-update-exe-files)
I can understand the logic and potential conflict, what I can't understand is why I have no issues with this exact layered security.
My xpSP3, Avast and OPFW are running smooth as they ever have. :)

Edit: add link example
Title: Re: XP hangs on startup when Avast anti-virus and Outpost Firewall are installed
Post by: marlbrook on January 11, 2014, 01:14:39 AM
Yes, it is puzzling.  My wife's laptop runs both programs on XP and has not had the issue. My Windows 7 and Windows 8 PC's are OK too.

I am certainly not alone, however, in experiencing it.

It may well to be connected to the number of startup programs on the computer, the order in which XP decides to run them, and how quickly Outpost loads completely.

Over the years I have noted that XP does seem to load startup programs in an ad-hoc order, which defies a logical explanation.

I have tried so many things. One that now seems significant is when I have tried uninstalling/re-installing Outpost in the past, initially Outpost was one of the first programs to load, and loaded to completion quite quickly. However that would change quite quickly over time. A fresh install of Outpost used to cure the problem for a short while.

However the problem does seem to be triggered if, for whatever underlying reasons, 'avastemupdate.exe' runs before Outpost finishes booting on my machine, so it could be the cause of it for others who are experiencing the freeze. The feeze would happen at least once a day, sometimes more if I was re-booting frequently.

In any case, for those with the problem, this is worth a try. I have had no re-occurrence of the issue now for about 6 weeks.

Title: Re: XP hangs on startup when Avast anti-virus and Outpost Firewall are installed
Post by: schmidthouse on January 11, 2014, 02:01:02 AM
What you say is true.
XP does do odd stuff.
Thanks for your input. and welcome to the Forum :)
Title: Re: XP hangs on startup when Avast anti-virus and Outpost Firewall are installed
Post by: marc-d-l on January 11, 2014, 05:50:59 AM
You might want to hide your email out of your profile,so you can stay away from harvesters and they start sending spam.