Author Topic: Firefox lost all settings, bookmarks, history after install of Avast  (Read 10976 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

asajay

  • Guest
Windows XP SP3
Firefox 3.5
Installed Avast Home Free edition.  Exited all applications and reboot.

On startup, I had it do a scan, then when the operating system started, a message came up talking about incompatibilities with ZoneAlarm and recommending to turn off the feature.  I clicked on the link in the dialog for more information and it opened Firefox.  Unfortunately, it opened Firefox as if it was a brand new installation, asking me if I wanted to migrate my settings from IE (I don't use IE, I've been using Firefox for years).  After answering -no- to the import question, it opened a Firefox window as if it was brand new.  There were none of my personalized settings, no add-ins, no saved bookmarks, my favorite bookmarks were gone, my saved tabs were gone, etc.  All gone, just a simple welcome to Firefox like it was brand new.

This isn't giving me a good first impression of the Avast software (and I sincerely want to change that).  I had to leave the house to go to work so I'm not at the computer right now.  I left it in that condition, not opening any more windows or doing any more clicking.  I'm -extremely- scared to open Thunderbird as I have thousands of email messages saved across several email accounts.  If all of that is gone, I'll be beyond upset.  (I do have backups luckily but would have lost any data from the last backup to now).  I'll check the file structure when I get home and make a new backup if necessary before opening any other apps.

I need to know what possibly could have happened to Firefox just by installing Avast.  Could it have done something to the registry?  Please understand this is very upsetting and I need to learn what might have happened or how I can recover.

I'll entertain any questions and suggestions to get me through this.

Here are some additional details:
Software running during the install process (yea you might beat me up here, that's fine, if it leads to an answer, I'm okay with that)
- AVG Personal (Free) edition
- ZoneAlarm
- Sunbelt Counterspy
- Thunderbird
- Firefox
- Windows Explorer
- and a bunch of other system tasks I know nothing about

What should my next steps be?

Thank you,
Asa Jay

Offline scythe944

  • Avast Evangelist
  • Massive Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 2913
    • My Tech Blog
Re: Firefox lost all settings, bookmarks, history after install of Avast
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2009, 09:43:21 PM »
It's possible that another profile was created. http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Managing+profiles
For generic computer (not avast) problems, you can also visit my forum for help: http://www.jacobytech.net/forum

Offline mkis

  • Avast Evangelist
  • Super Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 1618
Re: Firefox lost all settings, bookmarks, history after install of Avast
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2009, 10:11:35 PM »
Not a good idea to run two antivirus at the same time as they may clash.

You have AVG and avast running at the same time.
Avast7 Free, MBAM (on demand), MVPS Hosts

Intel DG41TY, Windows 7 Ultimate, IE9, Google Chrome, 4 GB ram, Secunia PSI, ccleaner, Foxit Reader, Faststone Image viewer, MWSnap.

asajay

  • Guest
Re: Firefox lost all settings, bookmarks, history after install of Avast
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2009, 10:20:49 PM »
It's possible that another profile was created. http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Managing+profiles

Thank you, I will check this out before doing anything else.  If this is the case, I wonder why it would have done that simply by installing Avast.

asajay

  • Guest
Re: Firefox lost all settings, bookmarks, history after install of Avast
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2009, 04:59:57 AM »
I think we can call this one resolved, though the folks who develop the product may wish to look into this symptom.

I got home and my computer was still in the state I had left it, with the Avast warning dialog about ZoneAlarm and advising me to turn off the Avast web proxy thingy.

Without doing anything else, I immediately opened a file browser and checked my profiles in both Firefox and Thunderbird.  They were both still there, intact and with -no- other profiles listed.  I then did a backup.

After the backup, I clicked on the button in the Avast dialog box to disable the proxy.  Once that took place, ZoneAlarm tripped over a few Avast items which I allowed.  Then I fired up Firefox and it was normal, restored all my previous tabs, all my bookmarks and history were there, it's as if I was lying earlier today.

So my only conclusion is that while the Avast dialog was open, it still had the proxy enabled, along with ZoneAlarm still running, and between the two of them they weren't allowing normal access to my profile.  Once closed (disabling the Avast proxy), I was able to open Firefox just fine.

Panic Over.  Now I can begin evaluating Avast and see if I wish to use it permanently.

Thank you for the encouragement and quick response.  :)
Asa Jay

Online DavidR

  • Avast Überevangelist
  • Certainly Bot
  • *****
  • Posts: 89420
  • No support PMs thanks
Re: Firefox lost all settings, bookmarks, history after install of Avast
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2009, 04:25:33 PM »
Actually this has been an acknowledged issue with ZA Pro's Privacy function, but one they haven't addressed. The blocking of the web shield and conflict with any passing of any parameters, such as between http and https pages when logging on.

However, I haven't seen anything like this effecting the firefox profile after installation. I have in the last lost firefox profile information and I don't use ZA.

####
- WEB SHIELD ISSUES - ZONE ALARM -  also see bottom of page.
http://www.avast.com/eng/webshield_issues.html

- Zone Alarm - avast! Web Shield compatibility dialogue - Install/Update Question - YES or NO

If you are using ZoneAlarm Free you should click NO, because privacy features are not present in ZoneAlarm Free this will not turn off web shield transparent mode proxy (Note the avast check should now be able to differentiate between ZA and ZA Pro so you may not see this interface if using ZA free).
Use a text editor and edit the avast4.ini file, the default installation location is C:\Program Files\Alwil Software\Avast4\DATA\avast4.ini (I would advise you copy avast4.ini before editing it, just in case).
If you answered incorrectly, Locate the line containing ZoneAlarmCompatibility= and delete that line (avast will ask again, answer NO) or change the value to =0.  Save the edited avast4.ini file.

If you are using ZoneAlarm Pro and Privacy Control in ZoneAlarm is set to High and if you click YES in avast compatibility dialogue box the transparent mode proxy in web shield will be turned off you have to manually configure browser to access internet. To manually configure your browser watch instructional video

For IE - broadband users: - Tutorial - Web Shield Proxy Set-up for IE
For IE - dialup users - Tutorial - Web Shield Proxy Set-up for IE (Dial-up)
For Firefox users - Tutorial - Web Shield Proxy Set-up for Firefox
Opera Users - Tools> Preferences> Advanced> Network> Proxy Servers, see image. E:\Images\CapturedScreenPrint\Opera-WS-Proxy-Settings.gif


Windows 10 Home 64bit/ Acer Aspire F15/ Intel Core i5 7200U 2.5GHz, 8GB DDR4 memory, 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD/ avast! free 24.6.6121 (build 24.6.9241.848) UI 1.0.809/ Firefox, uBlock Origin, uMatrix/ MailWasher Pro/ Avast! Mobile Security

asajay

  • Guest
Re: Firefox lost all settings, bookmarks, history after install of Avast
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2009, 06:08:46 AM »
This is interesting.  I am using ZoneAlarm Free, not Pro.  I answered Yes to the avast dialog box and things work fine now.  I'm not sure I want to make any changes.  If I get brave I may try it. :)  After all, it's working now and I can make a backup of my profiles, make the ini file change, test it and see what happens.

Thank you for the note.

Asa Jay

Online DavidR

  • Avast Überevangelist
  • Certainly Bot
  • *****
  • Posts: 89420
  • No support PMs thanks
Re: Firefox lost all settings, bookmarks, history after install of Avast
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2009, 03:42:34 PM »
If you answered yes then check the Web Shield's detailed view and you will find it isn't scanning anything.

Some versions of ZA free came with trial versions of the Privacy function and other bells and whistles to try and get you to buy the Pro version.

If this were truly the free 'unvarnished' later versions of avast should have detected that and 'not' popped-up the compatibility question.
Windows 10 Home 64bit/ Acer Aspire F15/ Intel Core i5 7200U 2.5GHz, 8GB DDR4 memory, 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD/ avast! free 24.6.6121 (build 24.6.9241.848) UI 1.0.809/ Firefox, uBlock Origin, uMatrix/ MailWasher Pro/ Avast! Mobile Security

asajay

  • Guest
Re: Firefox lost all settings, bookmarks, history after install of Avast
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2009, 11:11:11 PM »
You are correct, avast! Web Shield is not doing anything.

Here is what I have:
ZoneAlarm V8.0.298.000
avast! Web Shield 4.8-1368

ZoneAlarm does not have any Browser Security installed either.  It's just the basic free two-way firewall.

There are two other things to note here.  First, I had -not- uninstalled AVG Free.  I had attempted to stop and change to manual all AVG services so I didn't have to uninstall it, but found they still started up on the next reboot, so AVG Free -was- running at the time avast! started up.

Second, I also have Sunbelt Software's CounterySpy installed, which would have been running at the same time.

So could it be possible the dialog box came up talking about ZoneAlarm, but in reality tripped over one of the other programs?

Asa Jay

Online DavidR

  • Avast Überevangelist
  • Certainly Bot
  • *****
  • Posts: 89420
  • No support PMs thanks
Re: Firefox lost all settings, bookmarks, history after install of Avast
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2009, 11:30:12 PM »
Having two resident scanners installed is not recommended as rather than provide twice the protection it can cause conflicts that could leave you more vulnerable. So that would stuff things up somewhat.

Just disabling manual elements in AVG just won't cut it as low level drivers will still be loaded and these can cause conflict. You have to make your choice and uninstall one resident AV, once you have uninstalled AVG (you didn't expect me to suggest avast ;D) I would also suggest running their removal tool to ensure all remnants are gone.

AVG8.x (or higher) Remover, download tool from here, http://www.avg.com/download-tools there is a 32bit and 64 bit windows version, ensure you use the correct one.

Counterspy shouldn't be an issue as it isn't a resident anti-virus application.

As was mentioned in the bit about ZA, avast compatibility, you can edit the avast4.ini file and reverse the Yes decision, by changing the ZoneAlarmCompatibility=1 value to 0 or delete the line, re-read the instructions again.
Windows 10 Home 64bit/ Acer Aspire F15/ Intel Core i5 7200U 2.5GHz, 8GB DDR4 memory, 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD/ avast! free 24.6.6121 (build 24.6.9241.848) UI 1.0.809/ Firefox, uBlock Origin, uMatrix/ MailWasher Pro/ Avast! Mobile Security

asajay

  • Guest
Re: Firefox lost all settings, bookmarks, history after install of Avast
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2009, 04:41:22 AM »
Thank you for the pointers.  I appreciate the link to the removal tool for AVG.  I didn't know they had one.  I found out years ago that Norton had one after rebuilding a crashed system due to a problem install and not being able to get the remnants removed.  Hopefully the AVG remover will help me be comfortable in removing AVG.  I'll then revisit the ini file to turn on the Web Shield

I'm in the midst of evaluating anti-virus tools again.  Something I do every so often just to try and stay up on what's new.  As you can tell, I'm kind of an amateur at it.  Thank goodness for support forums.

Asa Jay

Offline Tarq57

  • Avast Evangelist
  • Massive Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 3694
  • If at first you don’t succeed; call it version 1.0
Re: Firefox lost all settings, bookmarks, history after install of Avast
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2009, 09:08:04 AM »
Best bet is to probably exit AVG by right clicking the system tray icon (if present) and commanding it to stop. Or disable (Or whatever protocol is used by them to represent this.)
Then uninstall it via the control panel, or if present in the start menu>all programs sub-menu for AVG. It may prompt for a restart. Do so.
Then run the appropriate removal tool linked above.
After that all should be good, if not, post back and we'll talk you through a repair of Avast (and anything else that needs done. Within reason.)
You'll quite likely find this forum is a bit better than some of the others. Lots of willing help here, with varying experience levels  (up to and including extremely knowledgeable).
Me, I'm averagely experienced.
Windows 10,Windows Firewall,Firefox w/Adblock.

Offline mkis

  • Avast Evangelist
  • Super Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 1618
Re: Firefox lost all settings, bookmarks, history after install of Avast
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2009, 09:34:07 AM »
Experienced and knowledgable you are, Tarq.
Probably very much so, considering we work a somewhat indefinite environment and with what is an only recently born practice.

IMHO
Avast7 Free, MBAM (on demand), MVPS Hosts

Intel DG41TY, Windows 7 Ultimate, IE9, Google Chrome, 4 GB ram, Secunia PSI, ccleaner, Foxit Reader, Faststone Image viewer, MWSnap.

Offline Tarq57

  • Avast Evangelist
  • Massive Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 3694
  • If at first you don’t succeed; call it version 1.0
Re: Firefox lost all settings, bookmarks, history after install of Avast
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2009, 09:48:39 AM »
Thanks for saying that mkis, but the truth is that there is a heck of a lot I do not know how to do on a computer. Sometimes I'll get lucky, or have a good instinct, and get to the area of a users problem.
The other thing is I think it's fair to any user to let them know their "helpers" experience level, especially where malware is concerned.
But like you say, we're all groping in the dark a bit, with some of the issues.
Windows 10,Windows Firewall,Firefox w/Adblock.

YoKenny

  • Guest
Re: Firefox lost all settings, bookmarks, history after install of Avast
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2009, 09:54:23 AM »
Thanks for saying that mkis, but the truth is that there is a heck of a lot I do not know how to do on a computer. Sometimes I'll get lucky, or have a good instinct, and get to the area of a users problem.
The other thing is I think it's fair to any user to let them know their "helpers" experience level, especially where malware is concerned.
But like you say, we're all groping in the dark a bit, with some of the issues.
Its quite dark here right now at -1C with wind coming from the South at 6km/h bringing snow flurries.