Author Topic: [Culprit found] No automatic vps updates anymore since update to avast free v17  (Read 6246 times)

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Offline a-user

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[Update Feb 17th 2017]

Screenshots can be found here (https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=196839.msg1369138#msg1369138) and here (https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=196839.msg1369140#msg1369140).

[/Update]


[Update Feb 15th 2017]

For my findings about the real culprit of this problem and the (workaround) solution see this post (https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=196839.msg1368375#msg1368375).

[/Update]


[Update Feb 14th 2017]

See this post (https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=196839.msg1367985#msg1367985) for the incompatibility that causes (in my case) that problem.

[/Update]


I've been using avast since at least v4 and I've been using avast free on my current machine (W7 64bit) since v6.

I had never any problems - updating from one version to another, or otherwise. That's why I never had to sign up for tis forum.

When avast wanted to tell me that I wasn't allowed to use Windows Defender anymore - even as on-demand - from July 2016 on I could "solve" that problem by just reading here because others apparently didn't like that either.

But so far I haven't found a current (i.e. v17) thread regarding this problem that I'm having for the first time ever. Well, there's a thread in the German section of this forum but there's no real answer to be found.

So, that's why I had to sign up and create this thread.


Since I let avast free v12.3 auto-update to v17.1 (which went totally normal and fine) auto-updates of the vps files don't work anymore. The status says something like "no connection stablished" and why clicking on the question mark of the GUI I get the message "The online content is unavailable. Please, check your internet connection and try again.".

Of course my internet connection is just fine. I even can successfully update the virus definitions manually. So there must be something wrong on the "avast side"...

I already tried "repair" (which basically re-installs avast) with no change - other than all my settings were lost...

And of course I already tried more obvious things like shut down firewall in case some (new) process is trying to connect to some (new) server that is blocked. But nothing worked. And no - there's no proxy between avast and "the internet".

So my questions are as follows:

1. Which process / exe of avast is responsible for checking if an internet connection is established?
2. Which urls / IPs does this process / IP need to be able to access to acknowledge that there is an internet connection?


Please refrain from "solutions" like "try uninstall and clean install". I can come up with that kind of "solutions" myself.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 11:14:19 AM by a-user »

Offline a-user

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Re: No automatic vps updates anymore since update to avast free v17
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2017, 08:32:49 AM »
A little update.

After uninstalling (inclunding the use of avastclear), disabling the non-"Windows Firewall" permanently and the local proxy there's no change for the better. Now it's even worse because I can't register Avast Free because it still claims there's no internet connection.

But: Just after the installation the "Update" panel said "connection established" (or whatever the english version would say) and it automatically downloaded and installed the latest vps update. At the same time clicking on the question mark or trying to register I just got the info that alledgedly no internet connection could be established.

After reboot (with no changes to the avast settings at all - on my part) the "Update" panel said "connection not established" again.

So, there must be something seriously wrong with this new version. And after lerning that this seems to be the first one that incorporates AVG stuff it doesn't surprise me. Reading about all the other bug it apparently has it surprises me even less.

The only thing that surprises me that my system that never had any problems with avast free while this forum showed that others did, I guess, I now have this severe problem but "nobody else" has this problem - or at least doesn't come forward, doesn't realize it - or I just can't find the respective entries in this forum.



[Edit]

Disabling "hardware-assisted virtualisation" which seems to help for some of the new bugs doesn't help either in this case.

[/Edit]
« Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 09:36:08 AM by a-user »

Offline bob3160

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Re: No automatic vps updates anymore since update to avast free v17
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2017, 07:03:10 PM »
Did you just disable the other firewall or, totally remove it and make sure that the system firewall is active ???

Repair Avast:
Control Panel> Program and Features (Add/remove program)>Select Avast> Select Repair. Reboot when completed
https://www.avast.com/faq.php?article=AVKB204
If Repair doesn't fix the problem, try the following:
Clean Install of Avast:
https://goo.gl/4Ptzkf
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Offline a-user

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Re: No automatic vps updates anymore since update to avast free v17
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2017, 07:28:45 PM »
Thanks for replying, but please read my posts completely before suggesting repair or clean install because I did this already!

As for the Firewall: You can be sure that I made sure that only Windows Firewall was active (hint: I know how to operate W7 and also it's safe mode to disable stuff that can't be disabled in normal mode).

Also, if you had read my post(s) completely you'd know that avast free v17 on my system is (and always was) able to accesss the download servers (even with my favorite firewall enabled) as I can make it update manually anytime.

I'd still like to get to the bottom of the problem, so I repeat my questions:

1. Which process / exe of avast is responsible for checking if an internet connection is established?
2. Which urls / IPs does this process / IP need to be able to access to acknowledge that there is an internet connection?

I've seen the various urls and IPs in servers.def in the "setup" subfolder of the program folder of the installed product. I can ping [* see edit] them, no problem there.

There must be some component of avast free v17 that just doesn't get, that there's no problem with the internet connection - while other components are able to update just fine...

That's what my questions are for...



*[Edit]

Pingable avast-urls and -IPs:

geoip.avast.com
gf.tools.avast.com
id.avast.com
ipm-provider.ff.avast.com
pair.ff.avast.com
shepherd.ff.avast.com
sm00.avast.com
submit5.avast.com
v7.stats.avast.com
v7event.stats.avast.com
*.u.avast.com (also (= additionally to the following subdomains) tested for one specific "server" entry, i.e. "p3713387." in front of the following subdomains):
ivps9x.u.avast.com
ivps9tiny.u.avast.com
vpsnitro.u.avast.com
vpsnitrotiny.u.avast.com
iavs5x.u.avast.com


77.234.42.74
77.234.43.93

(both subdomains of ff.avast.com)

[/Edit]
« Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 09:45:32 PM by a-user »

Offline bob3160

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Re: No automatic vps updates anymore since update to avast free v17
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2017, 09:09:24 PM »
To go back to your favorite firewall take a look at this:
https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=196471.msg1367798#msg1367798
The latest VPS is 170213-0


« Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 09:12:11 PM by bob3160 »
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Offline a-user

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Re: No automatic vps updates anymore since update to avast free v17
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2017, 09:45:03 PM »
Sorry, but do you even read or understand my posts? Really!?

FYI: I never have used Comodo Firewall. So I'm not using it currently, either.

I have run avast free v17 without (!) "my" firewall for testing. So stop trying to "answer" my question by simply blaming "my" firewall and referring me to posts that have nothing in common with the problem I'm describing. That kind of "answering" strategy reminds me of those self-proclaimed "experts" on "virus forums" that see every hickup as an infection and whose only "solution" is "format and reinstall your system".
Yeah, I know, there are a lot of berginners out there and they asks the simplest questions over and over again, so the forum elders get lazy and annoyed, and copy-past the same standard answers over and over again. But people that really know what they are talking about should also to be able to give specific answers to specific questions.

And by the way: If I would use Comodo and avast free v17 would screw up my system, I certainly wouldn't remove my firewall but would revert to avast free v12.3 or would look for another AV software. If a software works for years without problems but then suddenly doesn't anymore in a new version, it's probably the softare's fault in the new version, not the fault of all the other software that's been there for years as well. Telling people otherwise sounds kind of arrogant.

I know which is the latest vps because - as I stated repeatedly - updating manually works just fine. I don't know what that info should help solve the problem I described...

I don't know how I could make the problem any more clear.

So, if you can't answer my two quite simple (for an avast insider anyway) questions because you don't know avast (free) well enough, just say so, no blame here. That saves us both a lot of time and effort.

Offline paysun

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Re: No automatic vps updates anymore since update to avast free v17
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2017, 09:48:08 PM »
I've got exactly the same problem on my win 7 64bit machine since i updated to 17.1.2286 version:

- no more automatic VPS or programm updates
- manual VPS and programm updates possible
- message "the online content is not available, check your internet connection" when i click onto the question mark in the GUI
- computer shown as "offline" in Avast account, last communication is dated back to the moment before the update was done, so old programm version is still listed there
- 99,9% sure that firewall is not responsible
- (the positive thing is that i'm getting no more comercial banners in the GUI or commercial pop ups)

I think your assumption is correct that some avast process does just not recognize the internet connection.

Offline Alikhan

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Re: No automatic vps updates anymore since update to avast free v17
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2017, 09:53:47 PM »
Hi,

The processes for Avast which are needed to establish a connection is Avast Service (avastsvc). To have online content to the UI, Avast UI (avastUI) process would be needed too.

Since Avast has many servers/CDNs that question is hard to answer for us ordinary users. Normally, you should allow all traffic incoming and outgoing from Avastsvc.

Windows 10 Home 64-bit • Avast Free (latest stable version) •  Malwarebytes 4 Premium (On-Demand) • Windows Firewall Control • Google Chrome • LastPass • CCleaner • O&O ShutUp10 •

Offline a-user

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Re: No automatic vps updates anymore since update to avast free v17
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2017, 08:13:16 AM »
After all my tests and all that arguing back and forth - here and in my head - I still don't see any logical explanation why avast(GUI) tells me "no connection" and at the same time is perfectly able to connect every time I force it to check for updates manually.

At the moment I think that the process of avast or program code line within avastsvc that's responsible for (constantly) checking if a connection is established isn't checking in the first place and just claims there's no connection - and the process or code that's responsible for reporting on the connection status just takes the word for it from the "checking guy" not knowing/asking if "he" acutally checked.

Well, that would be an "easy" explanation - except that it seems to be (almost) just me having that problem.

I'd really like to hear an explanation from a developer how this phenomenon can logically be explained. Because he (or she) knowing the inner workings of the processes and program codes should be able to come up with ideas what must go wrong to get such a result.

Because other than that avast free works just fine on my system. No (other) error messages, no problems.

Well, except for the bar that should display the registration time line. There's no bar. Just four little squares that mark the edges of the right and left end of the would-be bar... well it's easier to show a picture to get across what I mean. -> see attached screenshot.
This could also have to do with the GUI alledgedly not being connected. Or it's just another glitch. But as of now I don't see it as a sign for a (different) serious problem.

Offline a-user

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Re: No automatic vps updates anymore since update to avast free v17
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2017, 09:58:45 AM »
Well, semi-good news.

Good news: I found the incompatibility that caused this particular problem.
Not good news: This incompatibility shouldn't even exist - at least not in avast free, which is solely anti-virus, not a firewall!

Still not solved: Why this leads to avast (GUI) not being "able" to connect, but manual search for updates (and downloading and installing them if present) being no problem at all.

Here's the incompatibility:

It's a software that comes with my router / dsl modem: Fritz!DSL Protect that comes with Fritz!Boxes.
Disable it, reboot, avast free works as prior versions - just with one other software getting blamed for it and being disabled.

There was never any problem with avast free until v17 came along. So, it's clear that some new "feature" or rather some new way to things that were done differently in the prior versions introduced this incompatibility.

My guess is that some stuff they just had to incorporate over from AVG brings about all those bugs that can be read about since the last week since the release of v17 (well, not counting the time the beta versions were around before).

So, now I can decide for myself if I want a ad-free version of avast free with only manual updates or having the luxury of auto-updates and online help/context info with the "annoyance" of constantly being ask to upgrade. Ok, that was just sarcasm.

But I still might go back to v12.3. In any case I will uninstall v17 - no matter which version I'll install - just to be "ask" why I uninstalled it and give the developers a piece of my mind let them know about one more bug they introduced into a perfectly fine piece of software (I'm still blaming the AVG takeover)... :-)




[Edit]

Btw: The bug with the (almost) not existent "registiration time line bar" (see post right above this one) seems to be a different one. It still looks the same.

[/Edit]
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 12:22:08 PM by a-user »

Offline a-user

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Good news. After some more extensive testing - with countless reboots (the most annoying part of the testing marathon) I found the culprit within avast (free) that's responsible for the conflict - well at least as far I as a normal user can get to the bottom of it.

And as so often with computer problems there was some chance involved and also I was on the right track a few days before but then it didn't work somehow.

Today, I tried many things before I finally got to the finish line.

First of all I re-enabled Fritz!DSL Protect and rebooted.

Then I went to avast (free) to see if I could somehow get it to connect by uninstalling, disabling some module or changing some setting.
Bear in mind that this problem only affects the auto-update of vps and engine, not manual updating by clicking on the "update" button beside the respective section. So there isn't anything wrong with the internet connection or it's accessibility for any program.

I disabled behavior shield. - No change
I rebooted. - No change

So I took some more drastic measures. I uninstalled behavior shield. And as I didn't want to reboot too often I also uninstalled wi-fi inspector and game mode, just to be sure, because I could really do without them if necessary. I rebooted. - No change.

So I additionally disabled valuation/assessment service (not sure which is the term in the english version), CyberCapture and "checking for PUP". - No change.
I rebooted. - No change.

And lastly I disabled self-protection and hardware-assisted virtualisation. No change.
I rebooted. Bingo. I got the ad bar and was "connected".

So I re-enabled everything except for self-protection and re-installed all previously uninstalled modules rebooted and avast could connect.

So, culprit found: avast (free) self-protection.

But as the avast GUI and also the icon were now warning about an important part of avast not being enabled I wasn't content yet. So I re-enabled self-protection. And after several minutes avast still was connected.

So, at this point my workaround solution was to disable self-protection before reboot and re-enabling it afterwards.

But just by chance I did one more reboot after which I didn't login right away but went to do something else. And so I logged into windows maybe 5-10 minutes later. And this time - for the first time - Fritz!DSL Protect asked me if I wanted to let avlauch.exe access avastui.exe. Of course I allowed it permanently. I'm not sure if that was really one important step. But it might, so I mention it.

That's when I got excited, because I thought that now I might be able to leave self-protection on all the time. So I rebooted to test my hypothesis.

Unfortunately, after reboot avast was disconnected again. So, out of pure desparation I just disabled self-protection in the hope that it also might work without reboot.

And it does! After a little while I was connected, got the add banner and online context help. And it stayed that way after re-enabling.

So, for me I just have to disable and re-enable (after the connection is shown as established or the ad banner is displayed) self-protection after windows login. And as the GUI home screen doesn't say anything about an necessary reboot I think, that disabling and re-enabling self-protection doesn't need a reboot and therefore works for this bug.

And yes, it not only claims to be connected now but also updated the date and time when it last updated using stream updates. So it's the real deal, really connected!

I had disabled self-protection a few days before but maybe I didn't wait long enough to take effect - or the entry for avlauncher.exe in Fritz!DSL Protect is in fact necessary.

The only downside it, that because of uninstalling and re-installing game mode the additional settings entry that came with one of the vps updates, "do not auto-add any applications", is gone and hasn't been re-installed.
And also the online context help now is in english not the localized language - but I'm not 100% if it was in localized language before either, I just think it was.

But for now I'm happy. Not just because it works now but also that I finally found the culprit - and it sits as suspected within avast (free).
« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 10:23:54 AM by a-user »

Offline stibi

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Re: No automatic vps updates anymore since update to avast free v17
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2017, 10:29:01 AM »
Sorry, but do you even read or understand my posts? Really!?

Nice. That's the best way to get more help here ...

Offline a-user

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I know. It's a bit harsh, and I was thinking about not writing it.

But, as so often in forums (I'm mostly just a reader of forums so I'm not the affected questioner), "established" users seem tread other users, especially new ones, like DAUs. Yes, often that assumption is or at least seems to be justified. But if the information is right there in the post of the questioner I feel it really is disrespectful in the first place to offer "solutions" (or at the very least tiresome to get such "solutions" offered) that do not fit or have already proven not working in that case or to ask questions that were already addressed in the post they are "answering" to. Also not addressing explicitly asked questions - even by stating that one does not know any answer to them and thereby showing that one at least considered the questions - makes the questioner at least wondering if the other user even read them - or the post in whole.

In school one would get an F for going off-topic / missing the point.

It just seem sometimes that "established" users just "copy-paste" (even if only metaphorically) answers as reply - no matter if they fit or not. And on that particular day I just didn't want to let it pass. But it certainly was no ad-hominem but an ad-attitude "attack".


Or how would you feel if you explicitly state that you used the "repair" option and uninstalled and also used avastclear, repectively and then get as an answer offered how to repair / uninstall including avastclear?
To me that's also kind of offensive. If it was a verbal conversation I would ask "Did you even listen to what I just said?" And as this is all written conversation I wrote what I wrote.

Again, I know it comes across a bit harsh. I don't know how to express it less harsh and at the same time express what I mean and feel. Well, exept for this extensive explanation.

But in the end I'm just all about solving problems and helping others. That's why I reported back several times and wrote about my findings and solution at length. I read enough posts where the OP never reports back or just states "problem solved" without any hint to the solution. Even if others don't have the exact same constellation on their system it might help them solve their problem themselfs if I write about the steps I took extensively. As so often, if it helps just one to solve the conflict on his system it was worthwile.

And as an bonus, I can just search for my own posts if I stumble across this or a similar problem again, and have forgotten how I did it last time around... :-)
« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 11:18:27 AM by a-user »

Offline bob3160

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Happy to hear you've solved your problem.
Just to set the record straight, Avast Self defense module ONLY protects Avast against
outside sources making changes to the Avast product.
It doesn't have anything to do with changes effecting Windows or any other programs.
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Offline a-user

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I guess so. Thanks for weighing in, bob.

But at one point it does affect Windows (and one of it programs) - it needs to be disabled temporarily to allow the "do NOT disable Windows Defender" registry "hack" to be applied. In my book that's not self defense but offense. :-)

And judging from my "workaround-solved" problem it has some effect on checking if the program can connect to the avast servers - even if not directly or explicitly.

Or, as I see it: It's (just) a bug that's somehow connected (pun intended) to self-protection / self defense. Especially because it should not have any effect on that feature of the application.


What I always wanted to mention but also always forgot - because of all the problems that v17 seems to bring about (although I can't really comment on if that is more than with previous versions because I rarely visit this forum - no need to, fortunately - I usually come here just for changelogs because the website doesn't offer any) I was reminded of the comment of some developer (Mozilla, I guess) who said that users should uninstall all av (or was it security in general) software by third party companies and just rely on MS products. His reasoning was along the lines of "security software developers often don't really know the system they developing for that well and create / introduce problems" but it sounded like "security software developers don't know what they're doing".

I found it a bit over the top at the time - because I don't (or rather didn't) have any problems with the security software I use. And so I thought to myself "well, the guys at avast (e.g.) seem to know enough not to screw up my system".

But now I wonder if that guy is right. :-)

Well, it's nothing new that two or more security programs on the same system might not get along so well or at all. But there's always a limit. And not getting along with or at least disabling (without notice) Windows Defender which is set to only on-demand scans is propably one step to far. But at least that one can be reverted with some effort.

Taking into account all those problems one can read here, including my silly problem and the more serious one about avast not working with commodo firewall anymore, I'd say there's some serious problem with the path avast decided to take.
And I'm coming back to my claim that it smells like these problem might have something to do with my assumption that avast is trying to incorporate AVG stuff into their product. At least I read somewhere that users had compatibility issues with AVG switched to avast, and the problems were gone. And maybe those people have those problems now with avast v17 again - who knows.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 12:44:32 PM by a-user »