Author Topic: Avast has just bricked 3 of my machines one after the other. (Stuck at login).  (Read 3471 times)

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Abdul69

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Have been using Avast for some time and got prompted to update an XP machine just now so I did it, and can no longer log into it. It gets stuck at the login screen. So I tried another XP machine; same thing. Just bricked. Finally I tried a Windows 7 (x64) machine and its also bricked (stuck at login screen). Have been running the latest (7.0.1426) update on several machines prior to now with no problem, but this issue is seriously scary.

I'm now too scared to update Avast on any other machine.

Any ideas?

Offline Pondus

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any other security programs installed?

Abdul69

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No. Avast is the only 3rd party app; other than that Windows firewall and Windows Defender.

The 3 affected machines are more or less clean OS installs.

I'll see if I can get into one of these machines in safe mode.



Abdul69

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Got into 2 machines in safe mode and set Avast to only load after other system services. I can now log in to both of these machines, but within seconds after logging in they freeze up (presumably when Avast loads itself). I guess un-installing Avast in safe mode is my only real option now.  :'(

I have been using Avast since v4 and can't say I have ever run into anything that is as serious as this is beginning to look.  :'(

Offline Charyb

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Have you installed the most recent service packs for each operating system?
XP -> service pack 3
W7 -> service pack 1

I would use msconfig to try to narrow down what the conflict is at startup. Deselect one startup item at a time to see which one is causing the problem.
What other software do all 3 of these machines have in common at startup?
« Last Edit: May 17, 2012, 05:39:24 PM by Charyb »

Abdul69

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Yes, I keep stuff up to date pretty regularly on these machines. I always run with the latest SPs where possible. In fact that's what I was doing with 2 of the 3 of these machines; keeping them up to date (Windows updates and Avast). The 3rd machine was purely an Avast update (but fell into the same pit).

In terms of trying to diagnose this, I removed Avast from one machine (the Win7 x64) in safe mode and now that machine is running without freezing (but I have no A/V anymore). So it seems pretty clear the freeze is due to Avast on that machine.

I also rolled one machine (XP SP3) back to before the Avast update (so to version 6.0.1289) and the virus definitions were out of date by a few months (January). Updating just the definitions to 5/17 resulted in a machine that will still login and works fine, so it seems Avast 7.0 is the baddy. This is weird though since I have a number of other machines running 7.0 with no issues. I just hit the same problem 3x in a row in the space of 30 minutes when I have never hit it before.

This type of experience makes me nervous. Really nervous.

Offline DavidR

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I rather doubt the service pack would have any bearing on this issue.

@ Abdul69
I would suggest a clean reinstall of the latest version:
- Download the latest version of avast, 7.0.1426 http://files.avast.com/iavs5x/avast_free_antivirus_setup.exe and save it to your HDD, somewhere you can find it again (if you didn't save your last download). Use that when you reinstall.

- Download the avast! Uninstall Utility, aswClear.exe find it here and save it to your HDD (it has uninstall tools for 5.x, 6.0.x and 7.0.x).
  • 1. Now uninstall avast! (using add remove programs, if you can't do that start from the next step), reboot.
  • 2. run the avast! Uninstall Utility from safe mode, first for 6.x if previously installed and then for 7.0, once complete reboot into normal mode.
  • 3. install the latest version, reboot.


You didn't say what version of avast you are using, free/Pro/AIS, but the above instructions assumes avast! free.
Windows 10 Home 64bit/ Acer Aspire F15/ Intel Core i5 7200U 2.5GHz, 8GB DDR4 memory, 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD/ avast! free 22.5.6015 (build 22.5.7263.730) UI 1.0.711/ Firefox, uBlock Origin, uMatrix/ MailWasher Pro/ Avast! Mobile Security

Abdul69

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Thanks for the tips; I will give it a try tomorrow (getting late here now... almost 2am).

I am currently using Avast free.

As for what is common to these 3 problem machines; I haven't really figured that out yet. Hopefully it's NOT the update they all received (i.e., the common thing being the Avast installation).

Offline DavidR

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I'm not sure of the common factors either, but some have experienced a problem in updating over the top of version 6, in many of these cases it seems to effect XP systems. Why I don't know as I and many others haven't experienced this on my XP system. But the clean reinstall seems to resolve it.
Windows 10 Home 64bit/ Acer Aspire F15/ Intel Core i5 7200U 2.5GHz, 8GB DDR4 memory, 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD/ avast! free 22.5.6015 (build 22.5.7263.730) UI 1.0.711/ Firefox, uBlock Origin, uMatrix/ MailWasher Pro/ Avast! Mobile Security

Abdul69

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After sleeping on this problem I decided to do some tests with both the XP and Win7x64 machine that were bricked by Avast last night.

First, I rolled back the XP machine to Avast 6.0, disabled auto sandbox and tried the installation again (as per regular procedure, not following the above steps) and as it turns out the installation worked this time. So, the masochist that I am, I rolled the system back, left auto sandbox enabled, installed and the system bricked (when logging in). I rolled back again and tried with auto sandbox disabled and the installation worked, however, I tried a 5th time and this time it worked even though auto-sandbox was left enabled! It makes not a whole lot of sense to me.

So as mentioned above I have tried this now 5 times on the same XP machine, and 2x it has bricked the system, and 3x it has worked OK. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it, or at least none that is making itself obvious. I don't really have time to try to figure out the exact cause of the issue, but I am glad for now on that machine I have a working v7.0 and I do not have to resort to the full un-install and safe mode clean.

Moving on to the Windows 7 x64 system, I also rolled that back and tried the update again. This time it appeared to work (I was able to log in), but a couple of minutes when I opened the Avast UI, Avast froze followed by the entire system. So I rolled the system back and tried a third time (again deliberately not following the steps above) and again the install appeared to work OK, I was able to log in, but when I opened the Avast UI it froze up. This 3rd time, however, I had taskmgr open and noticed that there is basically zero CPU activity during the freeze. I then tried to kill the AvastUI.exe process and taskmgr itself locked up followed by the rest of the system. Whatever is happening cannot be good!

After 3 attempts I still could not get this working on Win7x64, so then followed the steps provided above. First, I rolled back the machine to Avast 6.0, I uninstalled Avast 6.0 (using Control Panel) then ran the uninstall utility for 6.0 in safe mode (no point in 7.0 since I haven't yet installed it at this point). I then installed 7.0 using the full install after rebooting from safe mode. This seemed to work, however, the down side is that I had to re-register Avast and re-do all the associated settings, but it did work. This would suggest that there is some random, strange potential conflict that can happen when installing Avast 7.0 over the top of 6.0. At this point I really do not have time to investigate any further, but I appreciate the replies and suggestions. People talk about the "proper" way to install Avast, but really 99.9% of people are not going to follow that process; they are going to follow the workflow that the software itself presents. Maybe the fact that a "clean" install works will give the Avast developers some clue as to the potential conflict between 6.0 and 7.0.

Anyway, I now have, at least, a way to get around the problem if it comes back on any other systems in future.

Cheers.


Offline DavidR

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If by rollback you mean using system restore, that can have unforeseen consequences. This frequently requires the reinstallation of avast as can be seen in the forums.

Tip for the future, you can use the avastUI, Settings, Maintenance, Settings Backup in avast 7 to export your settings prior to removal. That will allow you to import those again after a clean install.
Windows 10 Home 64bit/ Acer Aspire F15/ Intel Core i5 7200U 2.5GHz, 8GB DDR4 memory, 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD/ avast! free 22.5.6015 (build 22.5.7263.730) UI 1.0.711/ Firefox, uBlock Origin, uMatrix/ MailWasher Pro/ Avast! Mobile Security

Abdul69

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Re: System restore... No it wasn't system restore. I won't touch that with a 20 foot pole.

Re: Settings backup; thanks for the tip.

Offline DavidR

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You're welcome.

Yes, I too have little faith in system restore, having disabled it many, many, years ago and using hard disk imaging software as its replacement.
Windows 10 Home 64bit/ Acer Aspire F15/ Intel Core i5 7200U 2.5GHz, 8GB DDR4 memory, 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD/ avast! free 22.5.6015 (build 22.5.7263.730) UI 1.0.711/ Firefox, uBlock Origin, uMatrix/ MailWasher Pro/ Avast! Mobile Security