Author Topic: Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7  (Read 2463 times)

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Offline Hried

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Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7
« on: September 01, 2020, 01:42:38 PM »
Starting from 20.7 (previously mentioned here), Avast now stores most of its configuration settings (previously in avast5.ini / settings.ini) in registry. This is due to performance considerations of the ever increasing amount of settings we store and is a necessary optimization to keep things running smooth.

So in 20.7 you will no longer find avast5.ini and most of other ini files in Avast’s Program Data folder; the new home for them is in Windows Registry at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\AVAST Software\Avast\properties. You can perform modifications using Windows Registry Editor or prepare .reg files to perform the modifications automatically; these can then be shared with other users as well. Note that Self-Defense must be turned off to perform the modifications (but you can turn it on automatically by including its SelfDefense=1 setting in the .reg file).

While this might break age-old habits, we believe this will significantly improve the performance of any settings-related tasks. INI files were comfortable to work with but they are inherently slow due to their text-encoded nature. This change enables easier automation of changes to settings - you can now send custom-tailored .reg files to other users who need your help with a more complex configuration without overwriting any of their other local settings (compared to replacing entire .ini files). The names and meaning of all setting section remain the same.

Hope it helps!

Offline Asyn

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Re: Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2020, 03:12:57 PM »
Thanks Hried..!! :)  (German translation here: https://forum.avast.com/index.php?msg=1559445)
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Offline NON

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Re: Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2020, 03:51:08 PM »
Thanks for the explanation Hried!
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Offline DavidR

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Re: Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2020, 07:00:07 PM »
Just thought of another implication of the removal/moving of the avast5.ini settings to the registry.

There used to be a number of edits that could be made in the avast5.ini, for instance delaying the check for updates.
[InetWD]
UseRAS=1
RASWaitSeconds=120
AssumeAlwaysConnected=1
AlwaysConnectedWaitSeconds=120

Now that there is no avast5.ini how could these avast5.ini hacks be achieved (if at all) when they are all in the registry  ?
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Offline igor

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Re: Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2020, 08:37:52 PM »
Nothing has really changed in this respect - the program reads the same values, just from a different location. (The code asking for those valus, e.g. UseRAS, hasn't changed at all - just the library that actually extracts the requested values now reads them from registry, not from the INI file.)

Offline Hopper15

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Re: Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2020, 09:16:30 PM »
This should be pinned.
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Offline DavidR

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Re: Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2020, 09:51:05 PM »
Nothing has really changed in this respect - the program reads the same values, just from a different location. (The code asking for those valus, e.g. UseRAS, hasn't changed at all - just the library that actually extracts the requested values now reads them from registry, not from the INI file.)

Yes, but rather than being to be able to edit the avast5.ini in the future (as it won't exist, or will it as a backup), that would mean trying to find it in the registry and edit that ?
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Offline schmidthouse

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Re: Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2020, 10:26:32 PM »
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Offline bob3160

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Re: Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2020, 11:45:18 PM »
This should be pinned.

Agreed
Then you need to pin every topic that has made changes.
Most users don't know what the .ini file is and don't really care either.
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Offline Hried

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Re: Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2020, 02:29:21 AM »
Nothing has really changed in this respect - the program reads the same values, just from a different location. (The code asking for those valus, e.g. UseRAS, hasn't changed at all - just the library that actually extracts the requested values now reads them from registry, not from the INI file.)

Yes, but rather than being to be able to edit the avast5.ini in the future (as it won't exist, or will it as a backup), that would mean trying to find it in the registry and edit that ?
Indeed you can edit it in the registry just as it was in the .ini.
I agree going into the registry might seem daunting the first time, but there's one more way now - you (or anyone) can export any part of the registry into a .reg file and share it with another user to apply just those selected settings and not overwriting any others. This can then be double-clicked and applied without having to have any knowledge of the .ini files or registry whatsoever (but if you do, you'll be right at home as the .reg files are actually very similar to the .ini files).

I'll post an example tomorrow to illustrate the ease of transition from any existing ini-based recipe.

Offline DavidR

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Re: Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2020, 02:56:30 AM »
Nothing has really changed in this respect - the program reads the same values, just from a different location. (The code asking for those valus, e.g. UseRAS, hasn't changed at all - just the library that actually extracts the requested values now reads them from registry, not from the INI file.)

Yes, but rather than being to be able to edit the avast5.ini in the future (as it won't exist, or will it as a backup), that would mean trying to find it in the registry and edit that ?
Indeed you can edit it in the registry just as it was in the .ini.
I agree going into the registry might seem daunting the first time, but there's one more way now - you (or anyone) can export any part of the registry into a .reg file and share it with another user to apply just those selected settings and not overwriting any others. This can then be double-clicked and applied without having to have any knowledge of the .ini files or registry whatsoever (but if you do, you'll be right at home as the .reg files are actually very similar to the .ini files).

I'll post an example tomorrow to illustrate the ease of transition from any existing ini-based recipe.


Thanks for the clarification, I look forward to the illustration.

I don't so much have a problem working in the registry, but many others are likely to have, but how many of those would have the need.  I think the main thing for me would be knowing where in the registry these keys are located.

I suspect it wouldn't just be one registry key ?
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Offline Hried

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Re: Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2020, 12:22:52 AM »
Thanks for the clarification, I look forward to the illustration.

I don't so much have a problem working in the registry, but many others are likely to have, but how many of those would have the need.  I think the main thing for me would be knowing where in the registry these keys are located.

I suspect it wouldn't just be one registry key ?

The properties are now represented as a tree: 



and its exact location is also included in my original post. You can see that each physical file now also has its tree node with the only difference of "avast5.ini" being turned to "settings". Finally! We've been over version 5 for quite a few years already but this filename seemed to forever haunt us.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2020, 12:36:23 AM by Hried »

Offline Hried

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Re: Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2020, 12:33:12 AM »
Now, if you were to hit export (via right-click) on the selected item, you would get this .reg file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\AVAST Software\Avast\properties\settings\Hns]
"FirewallProfile"="DOMAIN"
"FirewallStatus"="FirewallOn"
"LastConnectedTime"="1598723310"
"LastManualScanTime"="1594724787"
"LastPreScanTime"="1598695275"
"LastScanTime"="1599041317"
"NetworkType"="administered"
"RouterChangedDelay"="1"

You can hopefully see here the similarity with the .ini files. The most striking difference is the textual header and the prefix to [section names], effectively making [Hns] into [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\AVAST Software\Avast\properties\settings\Hns].  Bar that, the key=value pairs remain the same, only quotes need to be added around values.
So your previous example would become:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\AVAST Software\Avast\properties\settings\InetWD]
"UseRAS"="1"
"RASWaitSeconds"="120"
"AssumeAlwaysConnected"="1"
"AlwaysConnectedWaitSeconds"="120"


The advantage of this file would be that it won't overwrite any other settings except those explicitly mentioned and can be re-applied via a simple double-click. Hope it clears it up and feel free to ask about more details!
« Last Edit: September 03, 2020, 12:38:38 AM by Hried »

Offline DavidR

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Re: Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2020, 01:24:05 AM »
Thanks for the continued update/information on these registry/settings.

Yes, avast5.ini has been here for what seems an eternity. 
I first started using Avast over 16 years ago on Avast 4.x which was in C:\Program Files\Alwil Software\Avast4\Data\avast4.ini
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Offline rocksteady

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Re: Avast settings being moved to registry in 20.7
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2020, 09:48:42 AM »
I don't know if this question has been asked already (I can't see it).

Q. Can devs confirm avastclear.exe will completely and fully clean out all Avast registry entries including these additional settings when invoked??

The last thing wanted is users potentially corrupting their registries whilst performing a seek and destroy mission for stray Avast items left behind. Particularly if in the process of doing a clean install of AV. That will not benefit either Avast or users.