Author Topic: Please help me help my deaf computer illiterate friend with Avast problem  (Read 6140 times)

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nwboater

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About 6 months ago I installed Avast on my friends old XP computer. She lives a long distance from me, is deaf, ill, housebound and very afraid of computers, but has found emailing to be her lifeline to the outer world.

I just got this email from her: "In the right hand corner about where the blue ball with the a  and the other different balls it says error with the yellow sign with teh black exclamation mark on it. It used to do that periodically and it wouldn't send or receive and it seemed to fix itself by the next day but it is sending and receiving although very sluggishly , but the error just goes away for a minute and says recieving etc and then comes back."

I am pretty sure that "Sending and receiving" refers to her Outlook Express emails. Unfortunately I don't use Avast so am not familiar with it's error messages or what to do with them. I did look through the Avast users guide, but did not find any help.

Because of her computer paranoia I have to ask her questions and give her instructions in a very simple, non techie matter. She gets very easily intimidated. Any help here would be greatly appreciated. She is a wonderful person, who despite her disabilities is very helpful to others. Hopefully someone here can help her.

Thanks very much,
Rod

Offline Lisandro

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It seems a rogue program, I mean, the exclamation point icon.
It won't be easy if she can't learn something before...
The program she must use is MBAM.
The best things in life are free.

Online DavidR

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Google is your friend, http://www.google.com/search?q=tray+yellow+icon+with+exclamation+mark, there could also be many legitimate explanations. This could even be the windows update icon, but without an accurate description (or image) it is difficult to say for sure.

Though there could also be malicious purposes, so worth running MBAM.

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-6142_102-0.html?threadID=250160


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nwboater

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Tech & David R,

Thanks very much for your responses. I originally thought that what she was seeing was some kind of Avast error message thus my requesting help here. From your responses and re-reading her email I guess that it is some kind of message next to her Avast icons in the task bar. Before posting here I had Googled this problem, but did my search with Avast included.

I was not familiar with MBM but it looks like a very good program. Unfortunately if I asked her to install and run a program she would freak out. She lives in a very small town and has very little money, but I think at this point she may have to call the one local computer tech if her system slows down any more. She is about a 7 hour drive (1 way) and two expensive ferries for us and we are about to go on a month long vacation, so I just can't do much more at this point.

Again thanks for your assistance, and for pointing out that this is not an Avast error message.

Rod


Online DavidR

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You're welcome.

Downloading, installing and running MBAM is relatively painless not to mention it is free, ignore the bit about free trial (after the trial period it reverts to the free version). I'm sure that would be preferable to the expense of calling out a Tech to check it out and resolve it, which could work out costly.

We don't mind helping even when it is not related to avast, but it would normally be in the General forum.
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Offline MikeBCda

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We don't mind helping even when it is not related to avast, but it would normally be in the General forum.
Don't forget, David, that in the original query nwboater was trying to find out whether or not the problem could be related to avast.  If the problem was quite complex and the thread stayed active for ages, I'd agree that it should be moved to General once avast was essentially ruled out as a cause (or contributing factor).  But I personally feel that right here was a perfectly good starting place for the question.
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Online DavidR

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I haven't forgotten it, just that there is so little information to make any kind of informed response. This is further complicated by going through a third party.

Personally I don't mind where it is, but if it is likely to become prolonged (if we can get more information about this mystery icon, shape (circle, Triangle, Shield, Square, etc. then we might be able to determine what it might be) then the General forums would I feel be better.
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nwboater

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Thanks very much for your suggestions and wanting to help. Knowing my friend I just cant ask her to install MBM. What seems super simple to you and I is major complicated and intimidating to her. And I'm also afraid of something she might unintentionally do to make her machine worse.

Here is another email I just got from her:

"The only time I have seen the error and yellow triangle with the exclamation mark in it disappear is sometimes when I am sending or receiving it will say that is happening like it used to. I have had this happen quite a few times over the years but the whole thing would shut down and no sending or receiving and the next day Herb would have to phone the people who help you and they would guide him through from there and fix it but this is not like that. It allows me to do every thing .  Strange.  I don't even know what these people would say to him and he doesn't remember .  I think it would be really hard for me to phone them and see if they can help on my telephone with the operator and such but I may have to   Now, this minute the yellow triangle just flashed and checking mail came on for a second and now it is back to erroe. Isn"t that so weird."

Herb is her husband who now has dementia, so can't be of any use here.

It seems she has given a better description of the symbol. Does this mean anything to anyone here? I asked her to do 3 three things at the symbol and see if anything happens or shows on the screen: Hover on it, left click on it and right click on it. When she did those things nothing happened or showed on the screen. I am also quite certain that the changes she talks about are related to 'sending and receiving' her Outlook Express email.

I should also mention here that about 8 months ago we visited her and this old computer was so loaded down with malware that it was almost shut down. Don't know how she got so much - don't think she visits 'those' sites, but it was terrible. So I did a clean install of xp (sp3) with a complete reformat. Installed Avast and Webroot SpySweeper. It has been running fine for her, although about every other month she reports some kind of strangeness.

Sorry for going on so much here.

Thanks again,
Rod

Offline SpeedyPC

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Nwboater your not alone in this world and I know what is like and how hard to communicate to a deaf person when I became a lifeline to the outer world, I'm deaf too (Hi) I don't hardly come to my home PC to communicate to other people around world everyday just because I'm a lifeline to the outer world.

I had the same problem just like your friend when one person was afraid of something he/she might unintentionally do to make the machine worse, you came to the right place for help, I had the same problem when I first used Avast about 3 to 4 years ago.

I came here to learn about Avast and more importantly I've learn about security, virus, malware, adware etc etc here on the Avast forum and PC problems, I'll guarantee your friend IF she could come and join with us on the Avast forum just because she afraid of computers and she gets very easily intimidated. So don't worry about it to much to make her feel a little bit safe I would personally and guarantee Tech & David R might be very helpful to her behind the computer, because Tech & David R knows more than me about everyday computer problem so try and ask her to join the Avast forum.

Nwboater when she download MBAM please make sure she go straight to the update panel and click on the "Check for Updates" button to get the latest current database information before she does a full scan, and finally you said she had Webroot SpySweeper if you don't mind me asking Tech & David R is it okay to add another software call SUPERAntiSpyware Free version that doesn't come with enable real-time protection that way it won't conflict with Webroot SpySweeper while it running at real-time protection.

Let us knows how she going she can come here anytime about computer question etc etc.


 
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Offline Tarq57

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I seem to recall seeing an icon matching the one you describe when I used to use Outlook Express, and from what I remember, it basically indicates a failure to connect to the server to check for emails.
This does not rule out the possibility of a rogue program, or some other error, but I think it may be a connection issue rather than malware or even software related.
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Offline Vladimyr

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Hi Rod

2 suggestions to consider:

1/. Can your friend ask you for assistance via 'Remote Assistance'?
(Start > Help and Support > Invite a friend to connect to your computer with Remote Assistance)

2/. Can you get her registered on the forum?
Deafness is no impediment here and ignorance is merely a stepping-stone to understanding.  ;)
There is a way that seems right to a man,
       but in the end it leads to death
.” - Proverbs 16:25

Online DavidR

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What might help is the error that has been mentioned in two posts now, but we don't know what that error is and this may help in pinning down what the cause is.

Personally I would hold off on the SAS installation as a) it throws up much more and the term 'tracking cookie' (although a big deal about nothing) could well worry her unduly and b) I think in cases like this keep things to a single step/application at a time (if we can get her to take that first step).
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nwboater

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Hi,

Thank you all very much for wanting to help so much. This spirit is incredible!

I am going to send her an email with a link to this forum and see how she responds. Hopefully it will be in a positive manner and she will want to pursue your very generous offers of help. Only potential glitch here is we are supposed to be going away on our boat this weekend for a month and we will have very rare internet access during the trip. Thus we would not be able to communicate with her. We may be having an engine problem that could delay our trip though.

Since this error message seems to change during Outlook Express send and receive I do wonder if it may be related to a connection issue rather than malware. That area might be worth pursuing first.

Thanks again.

Rod

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You're welcome.
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Offline SpeedyPC

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David I'll leave this problem between with you and Tech when she comes on the forum, as you have a better understanding where to begin step by step, I fully agree with you having to many software installed can well worry her unduly without finding the real problem otherwise I could end up giving her the wrong direction.
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