Author Topic: An unusual startup incident  (Read 4238 times)

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Offline alanrf

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An unusual startup incident
« on: December 17, 2006, 09:54:02 AM »
Today, on first starting my system I received a pop-up advising me that an update was available for the Flash Player plugin. 

My immediate reaction was irritation with myself since I had obviously failed to notice that Abode (who now own Flash Player) had planted a startup program on my system to advise of such updates and that I had not noticed and stopped it.  However, since it was there, I gave it permission to download.  It opened a window with "Connecting ..." and a taskbar that was empty.  The taskbar continued to remain empty. 

About 30 seconds later I saw rising up in the corner of the screen the blue pop-up from avast advising of a VPS update.  I clicked on the pop-up and got the usual information window about the update. 

I clicked "OK" on the avast information screen and instantaneously I got a window from Adobe advising me of a problem in connecting to the Internet to download the Flash Player update.  It asked me if it should cancel or retry.  I selected retry - the taskbar instantly flashed across and a window advised the update was complete.

Perhaps just a coincidence ... I was wondering if anyone else has experienced a similar coincidence.       

Offline Vlk

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Re: An unusual startup incident
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2006, 10:42:14 AM »
What you're describing sounds as if the avast updater was holding some kind of a global lock (preventing the Adobe updater from running until the avast update is complete).

However, I have to say I'm not aware of any such lock, and I actually doubt such a lock exists in the system. While it's quite likely that both Avast and Adobe updaters are using the same system library to do their jobs (wininet.dll) I'm pretty sure they can use the library simulatenously (i.e. there's no "exclusivity" concept in it).

So... probably just a coincidence... or a starvation of CPU cycles on Adobe's side (avast updater can be somewhat CPU hungry).


Thanks
Vlk
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rdmaloyjr

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Re: An unusual startup incident
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2006, 10:56:25 AM »

My immediate reaction was irritation with myself since I had obviously failed to notice that Abode (who now own Flash Player) had planted a startup program on my system to advise of such updates and that I had not noticed and stopped it.     

WinPatrol is one of the most useful programs there is.  It will give you a pop up alerting of a program wanting to be added to your start up list & asking if you want to allow it.  SpywareGuard will do the same.

Adobe was no doubt delayed by avast! updating.  I have seen similar incidents happen on my computer.

Offline alanrf

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Re: An unusual startup incident
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2006, 01:28:02 PM »
Vlk,

I'm running on a dual core (2 x 3GHz) system ... I find the starvation of CPU cycles a little unlikely - although I do notice that the avast updater does make even this system seem sluggish.

I rather doubted the idea of a lock ...

... but the real reason for posting this incident was to reinforce the issue of startup functions being unable to get timely Internet access ... rather like avast itself trying to perform automatic VPS updates.   It will not be lost on all members of the avast team where I am going with this.   
« Last Edit: December 17, 2006, 01:39:02 PM by alanrf »

Offline Lisandro

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Re: An unusual startup incident
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2006, 02:59:28 PM »
CPU hungry
Vlk, do you know how to control CPU usage of a process on XP? (I mean, CPU usage, not priority).
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Offline Vlk

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Re: An unusual startup incident
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2006, 08:32:14 PM »
Quote
I'm running on a dual core (2 x 3GHz) system ... I find the starvation of CPU cycles a little unlikely - although I do notice that the avast updater does make even this system seem sluggish.

Well, the updater is single-threaded, so it runs on one core only. If it makes your system slow, it may be bacause it's making intensive access to a shared resource (typically the hard drive).

For the updater, it's questionable whether to run to the max (and have the job done fast), or rather run as least obtrusive as possible... we may rethink this for v5.

Quote
Vlk, do you know how to control CPU usage of a process on XP? (I mean, CPU usage, not priority).


There's no such thing as CPU usage control under XP (IMHO). The Windows thread scheduler was not designed to do this....
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Offline Lisandro

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Re: An unusual startup incident
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2006, 08:59:20 PM »
There's no such thing as CPU usage control under XP (IMHO).
The Windows thread scheduler was not designed to do this....
Thanks anyway... I could never find anything related to this...  :-\
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DaveD

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Re: An unusual startup incident
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2006, 07:35:32 AM »
For the updater, it's questionable whether to run to the max (and have the job done fast), or rather run as least obtrusive as possible... we may rethink this for v5.

Please do consider making the avast! updater less obtrusive for v5. This is one thing that had always bothered me with avast! how it would really choke the system up for the first 20 seconds or so after booting Windows.

With Kaspersky, you can't even tell when it is updating. It just happens so smoothly and with no noticeable impact at all. I don't like to compare products by saying names this way, but this was the only way I could explain this.

Offline Lisandro

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Re: An unusual startup incident
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2006, 01:05:43 PM »
How it would really choke the system up for the first 20 seconds or so after booting Windows
Why don't you just configure a delay so? You're blaming against an avast very configurable option.
Just change (or add) AlwaysConnectedWaitSeconds value into the [InetWD] section of avast4.ini file.
You could set the number of seconds to wait before attempting to update. The default is 30 but it may not be enough in some DSL systems. In this case, you can try increasing this e.g. to 120 (2 minutes). That should be enough. More details here: http://forum.avast.com/index.php?board=2;action=display;threadid=1647
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DaveD

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Re: An unusual startup incident
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2006, 05:39:32 PM »
Why don't you just configure a delay so? You're blaming against an avast very configurable option.
Just change (or add) AlwaysConnectedWaitSeconds value into the [InetWD] section of avast4.ini file.
You could set the number of seconds to wait before attempting to update. The default is 30 but it may not be enough in some DSL systems. In this case, you can try increasing this e.g. to 120 (2 minutes). That should be enough. More details here: http://forum.avast.com/index.php?board=2;action=display;threadid=1647

Thank you Tech, that is a good suggestion. I think that I will do that and put it at 60 seconds which I think should be sufficient for the time being.

There was no "blame" towards avast! intended by me though. I was just stating how other programs are able to update much smoother. By that, I mean that some programs you cannot "feel" that an update is even happening. But with avast!, I certainly "feel" the update happening. However, I think that your suggestion of making the delay a bit longer will make it somewhat better.

Thanks,
Dave

Offline alanrf

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Re: An unusual startup incident
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2006, 10:46:52 PM »
Tech's suggestion also has the great benefit of removing the avast update from trying to compete with every other startup program that insists that its updates are the most important thing in the system. 

This is especially true during Windows update week.  Windows automatic updates seem to hog resources even to just determine that updates do exist but you are just not allowed to download them yet (to prevent overload of Microsoft's servers).  So this is happening at every startup during the Windows update period until you have been permitted to download the updates.  Although I do not have "smoking gun" logs to prove it (a bit hard to get on an overloaded system at startup) I am reasonably certain that the Windows automatic update process, at this time, can prevent the avast automatic VPS update from getting timely access to it servers and causing avast to report an automatic update error - especially on older, less powerful systems.    This past week was Windows update week, some folks this week waited 4 or 5 days before being permitted to download the Windows updates through the automatic update process.