Hi, folks, me again (sadly). Haven't been feeling too well, haven't gotten much done, but did discover a few things that may be of some use (or more likely, may not).
In no particular order, I found three versions of Avast 7 on a laptop here -- considered downgrading to that, since downloads of these suckers are a real PITA over a dialup connection. I did find several versions of Avast 8 on FileHippo, but since they proudly proclaim that none of their files are from the actual vendors -- they are all user-supplied -- I kinda lost interest in downloading it.
After prolonged web searching I did find a direct link to download Avast 8 from an Avast.com link, YAY! I persuaded my wife to download it for me at her work place, which, being "in town" has high speed connection.
She downloaded it -- I copied it -- and first thing I did was right-click on the file, check it's properties, and lo and behold, the kindly folk at Avast had rigged things so that when one downloads that file, they get Avast 9!
Gee, thanks a lot, guys. Can't tell you how much I appreciate that! (at least, not on a family friendly forum)
Then, I found my wife's old notebook computer (she stopped using it when the battery died). I plugged it in, fired it up, found that it had Avast 6 on it, which was past its best-used-by date (needed re-registration), so, I registered it, and it then whined that it was sorely out of date on the definitions -- so, I went to update definitions, and then my three day excursion through Avast-hell began.
It just would NOT download the definitions (God, how I wish they'd just let us download a stinking ZIP file with the definitions, instead of this blasted live-update nonsense, ARGH!)
I then thought gee, maybe just just don't support 6 anymore? So, I installed the newest version of Avast 7 I had on hand -- and got the same results. It would NOT complete a download of the definitions. It would either just sit there doing nothing, or else do "some" downloads, then tell me it had failed and was retrying, then chuck along for another hour or two and get another similar event, and eventually, it would just stop and tell me it couldn't do it.
After much nosing around, I found FixUpdate.exe on the laptop -- and when I ran it, it told me I didn't have the kind of error it could fix.
So, I uninstalled and reinstalled Avast 7 and tried again (read something somewhere saying that should fix it) -- it didn't fix it. Argh...
More nosing around. Found aswclear.exe on the laptop, and ran it after uninstalling Avast 7. Then reinstalled Avast 7, tried again. No joy. ARGH!!!
So... I grit me ol' teef, and did the dirty: I installed Avast 9 on the notebook.
And can you believe it? IT wouldn't update EITHER!!!
But , since this was a tiny notebook computer (as opposed to my beastpile of a desktop machine here), I could ask my wife to take it to work and try updating the definitions from there.
She told me she didn't know if it worked, because things flashed by so fast that she couldn't tell if anything happened.
Well, it did update the definitions -- and this brings us to something that might be of interest/use in figuring out what's going on:
My desktop machine had one other Avast malfunction which I didn't mention -- in all the "fun" with the mail problem, it just slipped my mind. The problem is, I can no longer right-click on a file and tell it to scan that file. With previous versions of Avast it always worked like a charm. With Avast 9, I'd get a big pop-up -- empty -- for the scan results. It would always stay empty. I'd also get a small window right over the Start bar's icon tray, with three buttons, to stop, cancel, and restart the scan, and something about progress, IIRC. It too never displayed anything [with one exception, read on], and the only sign of life it would show was to say that everything was OK when I hit the Stop button. Nonsensical, at best.
So, today, I went into the Control Panel "Programs" area and told it to repair itself (N.B.: I also did this on the Notebook more than once, to no avail). On the notebook, it told me it couldn't fix the damage, I should do a full reinstall. On my desktop, it went through the motions, and declared success.
The only difference is that now, the small popup by the Icon Tray no longer appears. The big window -- the one for the results -- remains empty.
I am so weary of this crap.
So now, the punchline (as in, "I apologize to Avast for my face punching them in the fist," har har har) -- after I did the repair-itself thing tonight, it said it had restored the factory settings. Well, since several of the default settings are simply not viable on a dialup modem scenario, and others are IMO gross violations of my privacy, I went into settings to uncheck the various and sundry. I discovered two things: The repair routine did not revert them to factory settings, and, I saw a notice that my program was out of date, because there was a new version available (Avast 2014.9.0.2011), which I am now downloading (only five or six hours left!)
BTW, the only reason I can download it is because of a truly amazing Firefox add-in I discovered recently (and wish I'd discovered years ago). It's called "DownThemAll!" -- it's a download manager, which is very easy to use, and, does amazing things. The most amazing thing it does is to allow me to download large files, without fear that a hiccup after several hours of downloading willl NOT kick me back to the start. It can pause and resume downloads -- even if you turn off your computer while paused! And, it can downloade MULTIPLE parts of a file at the same time -- instead of starting at the first byte of a file, and then handshaking its way through packet after packet until it gets the last byte downloaded, it will divvy up the file into as many segments as you specify (I have it set to 6), and it will have that many concurrent "sub-downloads" going on at the same time. The advantage is that it gets you out of handshake-hell. Oh, each "sub-DL" does indeed need to do all the handshaking (request a packet, wait for it to be sent, confirm it's received, request the next, etc., etc., etc.), but, while one such "thread" is waiting, another one can be downloading! I experimented with various numbers, and for my setup, six seems to be optimal (if I try more, it goes slower).
Before this, using the native downloader in Firefox, I was lucky to get maybe 3KB of actual transfer rate. Now -- I am not making this up -- it rarely goes below 5KB, and frequently goes as high as 7KB!
For those of you with decent connections, this must sound amusing, but for someone trapped in modem hell, it is truly staggeringly fast!
I have my fingers crossed, hoping against hope that this new version will fix the problems. Oh, and BTW, Avast 9, on the laptop, does NOT exhibit the inability to scan a file. When I go to scan a file on that machine, it works fine.
Clearly, there is "something" about Avast 9 that is VERY picky about the local environment. (The laptop is running a two-core Intel Atom processor, with all of one GB of memory, using WinXP SP3. My desktop is running a somewhat long in the tooth two-core AMD Athlon, with 64 bit Win7 Pro, and 4GB of RAM.)
Did I mention that I am so weary of this crap?
I just don't understand why they are so silent on the matter(s). Very poor tradecraft.