Author Topic: Recent Avast potentially locking Taskbar/Explorer.exe crashing  (Read 3062 times)

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Offline Zeonark

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Hello, I've come here looking for assistance after something began to happen to my PC since the most recent update. I am not very computer savvy nor do I have a professional grasp on what I'm doing or what to know, so I appreciate any patience with me.

With that out of the way, since the last update a number of strange things have begun happening. Firstly, for about a day or two, my taskbar and desktop icons were repeatedly refreshing for no real reason and to this day I still have no idea why. It stopped over time, so this is only a potential symptom, I'm not calling that out on fault of the program. However, what started next hasn't stopped: My Windows taskbar has been freezing up and restarting explorer.exe (which has crashed whenever this happens) doesn't seem to work, forcing me to hard restart each time to fix this. The reason I feel Avast might have something to do with it is not only did this happen only some time after the update, but aside from explorer.exe's crash, Avast is the only other program that freezes up when this occurs. This also happens after some time when my PC has been on when I click on my ClassicShell icon or any taskbar icon that isn't already active.

I dug around for solutions and I have tried repairing Avast via Programs and Features using its own repair tool that came up. The only solution I really found was something some years ago about Event Viewer and Avast's game mode being the cause. Yet, when I looked into Event Viewer, I found nothing related to the game mode feature, so I don't think that's it.

This is a very frustrating situation and I don't want to simply turn off Avast in fear that it isn't actually the source of these troubles. I'm unsure how to proceed, so I came here for help.

I'm currently using Windows 8 (not 8.1), running Avast alongside Malwarebytes (which have been noted to be able to run together, though Avast has had a few conflicts with Bytes over the years). I've run Bytes to fully scan my PC and nothing came up.

Also, if it helps any at all, I did find this on several errors in Event Viewer:
"The %1!s! Update Service (avast)!s! Update Service (avast)!s! Update Service (avast)!s! Update Service (avast) service failed to start due to the following error:
The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion."

EDIT:
Apologies for so many edits but I turned off Do not Disturb/Game mode, Webshield, and Behavior Shield and have not encountered the issue surprisingly.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2018, 01:58:14 AM by Zeonark »

Offline mchain

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Re: Recent Avast potentially locking Taskbar/Explorer.exe crashing
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2018, 04:17:52 AM »
I wouldn't turn off WebShield or BehaviorShield.  Both protect you from immediate harm.  Do not Disturb is ok to turn off.

Instead of turning things off, I'd follow bob3160's advice here:  https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=221411.msg1473757#msg1473757

and here: 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TCCX0R7AAF2WOxAMQ_kcun2nNnCPFAk2P4RBzFXSgds/edit

If you've ever had another a/v program installed prior to avast I would go here:  https://support.avast.com/en-ww/article/11/#artTitle

Doing this step if it is true is not optional.  Select the removal tool you need run it and then reboot. 

If not true then you don't need to download/run anything from here.
Windows 10 Home 64-bit 1809 Avast Premier Security version 19.8.2393 (build 19.8.4793.541) UI version 1.0.415.  Current version is back to Avast Internet Security.

Offline Zeonark

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Re: Recent Avast potentially locking Taskbar/Explorer.exe crashing
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2018, 06:20:18 AM »
Hey, thanks for the help. I know turning off Web Shield and Behavior Shield might've been a little risky but I figured Malwarebytes should have been able to handle it (and thankfully, nothing went wrong). Though, as soon as I was going to turn in for the night and do a clean install in the morning, my taskbar froze again and told me turning off shields didn't help. And as I was rebooting, Avast restarted itself and turned all of its shields back on (which felt a little weird, but I'm admittedly a bit paranoid about this whole thing, haha). That was a clear enough sign for me to go ahead and do the clean install ASAP instead of tomorrow. Aside from Bytes which I'm very much against uninstalling, I've had no other antivirus on this PC I can remember. So I followed all the steps listed by bob3160 to completely wipe Avast and bring it back up and re-entered my license.

Will monitor to see if the problem arises again.

If Malwarebytes really is causing that heavy of a conflict, then I'll unfortunately have to just wait until the next Avast update and hope that does something about it. There have been occasional times where Avast would freeze with Bytes around, but it always fixed itself and they went back to working together, and I have read that they should be fine together as mentioned in my previous post. My attachment makes me adamant on it, so I appreciate the help regardless of what happens.

Offline Asyn

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Offline Zeonark

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Re: Recent Avast potentially locking Taskbar/Explorer.exe crashing
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2018, 06:44:32 AM »
Exclusions added between the two!

Hopefully that's the end of it all, thank you.

Offline Asyn

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Re: Recent Avast potentially locking Taskbar/Explorer.exe crashing
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2018, 06:50:19 AM »
You're welcome.
Win 8.1 [x64] - Avast PremSec 20.1.2396.Beta#3 [UI.457] - CC 5.63 - EEK - Firefox ESR 68.5 [NS/AOS/uBO/PB] - TB 68.5 - ASB/ASL.BC
Deutschsprachiger Bereich -> Avast Wissenswertes (Downloads, Anleitungen & Infos): https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=60523.0

Offline Zeonark

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Re: Recent Avast potentially locking Taskbar/Explorer.exe crashing
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2018, 02:42:54 PM »
So it seems that still wasn't the fix, as I woke up and barely ten minutes in did my taskbar freeze and force me to restart.

Now that Avast is cleaned, I'm going to try running a scan. I may have been wrong about this being Avast-related in the end.

I did notice that webpages seem to stop loading as well when the freezing occurs though.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2018, 02:56:04 PM by Zeonark »

Offline Zeonark

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Re: Recent Avast potentially locking Taskbar/Explorer.exe crashing
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2018, 04:19:31 PM »
Apologies for the double post but whatever I'm dealing with seems to be beyond my assumptions.

I'm definitely convinced it's not Avast, rather the problem is affecting Avast. Can someone direct me to where I'd ask for help on this if there's a specific section on the forums I should be using? My exact issue is explorer.exe hangs at random times, sometimes a little after startup and sometimes after some hours. Avast also freezes with it at this time. I can still alt-tab through windows momentarily before even that stops working and I am unable to make anything change by using restart on the task manager for explorer.exe. At times, webpages will stop loading as one of the indicators this is happening (they may still keep going as normal) and the main sign is when I try to open a file location from task manager only for nothing to spring up. This sign also happens when I try to open anything that isn't already open and it doesn't spring up. My Avast scan above couldn't even finish because the freeze made everything inoperable.

I haven't spotted any kind of suspicious file in task manager running at these times, so I can't really track down the source.

Offline d00zah

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Re: Recent Avast potentially locking Taskbar/Explorer.exe crashing
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2018, 04:43:51 PM »
Assuming your Avast version includes it, disable (uninstall?) the 'Real Site' component. Then reboot. All others SEEM to play nice. I've had no lock-ups since doing this. YMMV
« Last Edit: August 30, 2018, 05:10:38 PM by d00zah »

Offline Zeonark

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Re: Recent Avast potentially locking Taskbar/Explorer.exe crashing
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2018, 06:41:42 PM »
Alright, I'm freaking out a bit now. I ran an sfc scan thrice and each time it stated corrupted files were found and fixed (now why would that repeat?), so I imagine that's an entirely new issue. The random refreshing from my first post came back but stopped to go back to full on explorer crashes again. This time though, after restarting once task manager didn't load in time with an error message and Avast failed to start, so I rebooted one more time. This second time, Avast did something it did the first time: initially appeared with "you're in danger" before switching to "you're protected" again. Also, when my explorer crashed this time, I saw that Avast didn't freeze until I actually clicked scan options on it, so that's something.

I'm currently trying d00zah's solution now (thanks for helping out!) and monitoring to see if the Real Site component is the issue or not. I have no idea if these are signs of infection or not, so it's highly troubling.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2018, 06:45:56 PM by Zeonark »

Offline mchain

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Re: Recent Avast potentially locking Taskbar/Explorer.exe crashing
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2018, 05:47:29 AM »
You could have a malware expert have a look at your system to ensure it is clean:  https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=194892.0

Attach the the logs requested.  Once that is done, a malware expert will be contacted for you.
Windows 10 Home 64-bit 1809 Avast Premier Security version 19.8.2393 (build 19.8.4793.541) UI version 1.0.415.  Current version is back to Avast Internet Security.

Offline Zeonark

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Re: Recent Avast potentially locking Taskbar/Explorer.exe crashing
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2018, 09:14:20 PM »
I'll try out having an expert take a look if something else arises, but d00zah's solution worked out. Disabling the Real Site component has stopped the lockups: I checked for the rest of yesterday and the start of today and the issue hasn't sprung back up. Looks like that was the source of it? I'm just glad it's over.

Thanks for the help guys.

Offline Asyn

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Re: Recent Avast potentially locking Taskbar/Explorer.exe crashing
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2018, 07:55:09 AM »
Dev-Info:  Hallo, I'm responsible for Real Site protection in the Avast product. I have tested both products several minutes ago, and problem is only in MalwareBytes Web Protection activation process. It hangs the MB product completely.

If I disable Real Site, enable MB WebProterction and then enable Real Site again, everything works well.

Some more technical pieces of information:
Malware Bytes is trying to filter the UDP traffic (probbably DNS). It's same as Real site does. If two products try to capture UDP traffic by Windows WFP technology, a UDP packet loop can occurs if it's not implemented correctly. We found this problem with several other products. It's caused by two WFP drivers, when each capture UDP packet generated by other, drop it and generate new one. But this new one is presented to first driver, captured, dropped, generated again and it can continue indefinitely.

We discussed the problem with Microsoft WFP developers, to try to find solution for the problem. Avast had some protection against this before, but it doesn't work every time. Then we implemented new solution recommended by Microsoft. I can see from driver debugging, that it works, when both components are active (as described above). Problem is just in WebProtection activation process (not under my control, no time for reverse engineering). Seems that the MB UDP filtering solution is not compatible with MS recommended solution, but anyway, if you use capture, drop, create and inject new packet scenario for the UDP traffic, it's completely wrong and can cause conflicts with many products.
Win 8.1 [x64] - Avast PremSec 20.1.2396.Beta#3 [UI.457] - CC 5.63 - EEK - Firefox ESR 68.5 [NS/AOS/uBO/PB] - TB 68.5 - ASB/ASL.BC
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Offline Man1971

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Re: Recent Avast potentially locking Taskbar/Explorer.exe crashing
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2018, 05:19:10 PM »
Hi.
Same issues here, bit by bit, just like Zeonark.
d00zah's solution worked flawlessly and the computer was back to normal behaviour without freezing/hanging every 30-90 minutes
Cheers!

Misma problemática que Zeonark, punto por punto.
La solución aportada por d00zah funcionó perfectamente y el ordenador volvió a funcionar correctamente sin más cuelgues espotáneos cada 30-90 minutos.
Saludos!