Author Topic: Do Not Disturb Mode Settings Cause Windows 10 Crashes  (Read 1389 times)

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Offline Clay17

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Do Not Disturb Mode Settings Cause Windows 10 Crashes
« on: July 22, 2021, 08:27:44 AM »
I've been a long-time user of Avast and I never had an issue with the program (at least knowingly) until now. I've had an issue that's plagued me for months and could not figure out what the cause was until I found a log in Windows Event Viewer. I'm posting this here because I can't seem to find any other place to report a bug like this, since it seems to not fall under the rules in Bug Bounty.

For a while, I had an issue where explorer.exe and all my other running apps would randomly hang and not respond until I forcefully closed all apps and restarted explorer.exe. Having tried to reset settings in both Windows, and the apps that were running at the time of these crashes, I could not find any reason as to why such a crash would take place. It was up until a few days ago that I found a log in the Event Viewer under Windows Logs>System where the source is "UserModePowerService" involving Avast's aswToolsSvc.exe file.

According to the log (screenshot posted), aswToolsSvc.exe had reset a policy scheme. Further investigation into the GUID in question reveals that this is the GUID for the High Performance power plan. For some reason Avast is trying to change my computer's power plan from "High Performance" to "High Performance." My computer is already set to the High Performance plan by default because I have hardware built for high-quality gaming, and I want it to be able to run at peak performance. Coincidentally, these crashes took place at the same time stamp of these policy changes taking place.

So I asked myself the question, "Why is Avast changing my computer's power plan?" The answer I found came from Avast's Do Not Disturb Mode. Having done a bit of research, Do Not Disturb was originally called Game Mode, and it looks a bit different now than before. It was also the cause for a lot of issues in previous versions.  The settings in question are a bit hidden, but I'm positive are the cause for the issue. Under Performance>Do Not Disturb Mode, a user can view any app on their computer that have either been added manually, or by Avast automatically just through using them. The toggle for Do not disturb is not the issue here, but the toggle in the drop next to it (screenshot posted).

With each app, this drop menu gives the user to Maximize performance by ticking a box. Whenever the app is launched with this setting enabled, it runs the program in high-priority mode and switches the power plan to High Performance mode. For a computer like mine, a setting like this isn't necessary, and in my case, has a chance to cause my entire Windows OS to hang when launching and/or closing the program with the setting enabled.

I decided to disable this setting, as well as the options "Pause Windows Updates" and Automatically add new apps" under Settings>Performance>Do Not Disturb Mode. Over the last few days, I've not had any issues with system hangs. With the evidence found to a few of these crashes, near-identical logs with the same source and GUIDs, and the disabled settings, I'm 95% sure the issue is the Do Not Disturb Mode's High performance option being the issue, as it seems Avast does not check to see if that option is already set in Windows.

For those who want to try and replicate the issue, my Avast version is 21.5.2470 - build 21.56354.680, and my Windows 10 version is 21H1 build 19043.1110. However, this issue also occurred in earlier versions of both as well. Hopefully this post helps people solve similar issues they may be having, and possibly brings a new patch to Avast.

Offline Asyn

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Re: Do Not Disturb Mode Settings Cause Windows 10 Crashes
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2021, 09:20:58 AM »
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Offline Hried

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Re: Do Not Disturb Mode Settings Cause Windows 10 Crashes
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2021, 05:28:53 PM »
Hi Clay,

An interesting issue as the power plan switches normally work without any side effects. Did you experience any hangs even when manually turning them on and off?

There are lots of applications that register their shell extensions into explorer.exe and likely one of them is reacting to the power plan switch and failing to complete its operation in explorer's main thread. It could be interesting to investigate this via explorer's dump. If you can get its full process dump (best GUI tool for this is probably Process Explorer), we can have a look if it's the case. You can send a link to your dump either through direct message to me or post it here to possibly get also community's support.