Avira nag screens give me heartburnPosted on December 14th, 2009 at 22:14 28 comments
I just got this message from a fellow I’ve helped in the past:
Iâ€™m running Vista Home Premium using Explorer to connect to the Internet. All of a sudden a few days ago a screen starting showing up asking me to select between 2 options: Either – Continue Unprotected or – Get Security Software. When I selected Get Security Software, it asked me to Register Now and pay $59.95. So I went back to Continue Unprotected which I had to select a couple of times to get back to the web site. It also kept recurring while I was working on the site.
There was no way of getting rid of this maddening screen no matter what I tried to do. I thought I could get rid of the damn thing by right clicking on the screen but to no avail. I also tried to go to Control Panel to uninstall it but there was no folder there. I suspect this happened when I opened an e-mail from a friend with a web site link. To me, this is like a virus which impedes and disconnects my access to web sites through Explorer.
After checking with Google, I found this screen was called Antivir with a web site named Avira.com. Have you heard of this and do you know any way I can get rid of this nightmare other than paying them $59.95? Iâ€™d appreciate any guidance you could provide.
[SEE ADDITIONAL UPDATE BELOW: The fellow I was helping actually had an Antivir infection - Avira had absolutely nothing to do with it. I used to recommend Avira wholeheartedly, but their nag screens come mighty close to scareware. I just saw one today, and again it really gave me heartburn. They overstate the advantages of the paid versions of Avira, and try to sell by scaring people. That isn't right. I'm a convert to Microsoft Security Essentials and in my book updates I'll be recommending MSE. Apologies for the missed note about Antivir, which is truly a piece of crapware. There's nothing inherently wrong with Avira, as long as you don't believe the scare screens.]
Avira used to be a good program. Now itâ€™s a piece of unscrupulous crapware.
First, ditch Internet Explorer. Get Firefox and use it. IE is an unnecessary headache.
Second, download Microsoft Security Essentials but don’t install it just yet. MSE is free, and it works great – AND it won’t start nagging you for money.
Third, disconnect your computer from the Internet. Then click Start, Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs and follow the instructions to remove Avira Antivir. You’ll probably have to stop Avira, and may have to re-boot once or twice in the process.
Fourth, re-boot your machine one more time.
Fifth, double-click on the downloaded Microsoft Security Essentials installer and follow the instructions to get MSE installed.
Sixth, plug your computer back into the Internet.
Your Avira pains should be gone and, after a fairly lengthy download, MSE will be protecting your PC, no problems at all.
UPDATE: Thanks to all of you who posted in defense of Avira. I still say MSE is a far better product, but the main point is that I got duped! The fellow who wrote to me is apparently the victim of a piece of crapware that’s using Avira’s name to legitimize itself. Details on the BleepingComputer site. I’ll stick with MSE, but the rogue program is the problem here, not Avira.
28 responses to “Avira nag screens give me heartburn”
I suspect what happened to the user in the article was one of the â€˜fakeâ€™ scareware stuff installed on his computer and it was just a coincidence this happened.
I belong to a lot of Groups that use free anti-virus including Antivir and no one has complained about this.
I think you have made quite a serious mistake in your answer to this person.
Firstly, according to the person who asked the question, they are having symptoms typical of a rogue/fake antivirus infection, with web browsing being interrupted pestering them into buying some kind of software, usually a fake antivirus (about which I have written quite a few blog posts).
Secondly, you (and the poster) have incorrectly assumed that the legitimate security vendor (Avira GMBH), who make a genuine Antivirus software called Avira AntiVir and the malware trying to benfit from it’s good name (the “Avira” rogue) are the same thing.
The REAL avira can be found at http://www.avira.com/en/pages/index.php, whereas the “fake” AntiVir does not have a website and simply uses the good name of the above mentioned security vendor to trick unsuspecting users to part with their hard earned cash.
The fake AntiVir is usually triggered by fake “scan” pages online that inform the user to run a file in order to scan their computer for supposed “threats” and then proceeds to bombard the user with threat alerts to force them into buying a worthless product.
Bleepingcomputer.com provide a screenshot of the “fake” AntiVir and a removal guide here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/remove-antivir
Compare it with a screenshot of the “real” AntiVir: http://www.avira.com/en/support/migrationsportal_av9.html and you will see that they are completely different…this is the real antivirus, while the other is a malware!
I would urge you to research matters like this thoroughly before coming out which damaging claims against upstanding security companies in the future!
jst42daytoo December 15th, 2009 at 03:51
Did you check the Avira product yourself or are you relying on the whinig of a few to be factual?
Antivir is considered one of the best AVs on the market.
I surprised at your attack on a reliable company.
Flashorn December 15th, 2009 at 07:02
Hey Woody !!
I have been a follower of this site and your books since XP and , for the most part, have followed your advice on many subjects.
I’m surprised and disappointed at the reply you provided. I have been using Avira free for three years now and YES, there is a nag screen but, never have I read that it would cost me $59.95 for there Premium Protection. In my nag screen they ask for $26.95ca “IF” I would like to Upgrade to their Premium package. I have Never been Nagged other than with the daily update nag screen and Never has Avira stopped me from accessing the internet.
The more likely scenario is that, he/she got infected by a Rogue from that email he/she got from that friend. I would of been more inclined to suggest he/she get help from one of the Experts from either of the Malware Removal sites such as AumHa or MalwareBytes’ amongst other very respectable malware removal sites.
You are not doing him/her a favor by simply getting rid of a good program without making sure that,the nag screens are in fact, coming from Avira and not a Rogue scanner that impersonates Avira as it has been done with others.
I would certainly contact that friend and make things right.
I’d add a step 2b: Download the latest MSE definitions file from http://www.microsoft.com/security/portal/Definitions/ADL.aspx (hope this link doesn’t get removed). MSE comes without ANY definitions, so you are unprotected while MSE downloads this file to update itself the first time. Trouble is the file is almost 50MB, which can take some time on a slow connection – took me 3 hours 25 minutes! By downloading the latest definition file first, you can update before connecting to the ‘net, then when you do connect, you can update again, but this shouldn’t take long, and anyway you’re already pretty much protected.
I’m responding to the complaints of an Avira customer.
Once upon a time, Avira was a great product. Then it started getting naggy. Now that MSE is here, I don’t see any reason to use anything else.
Speaking of Firefox, I am now all of a sudden having problems where Firefox freezes up. It happens when I go to certain web sites. When at those sites none of the links work and Firefox won’t load back up after I shut it down. I’ve uninstalled the software and reinstalled, but that hasn’t helped.
Any suggestions, Woody?
PS: I am running Windows 7 HP.
Charles December 15th, 2009 at 11:01
Say, did anyone notice how the fake Antivir screenshot looks almost exactly like the main screen for AVG?
SomeGoofy December 15th, 2009 at 12:02
Free Avira naggy!? Hm, very strange.
Only one nag thing (regular advert screen) can be removed legally by using local policy of software restrictions.
I wanted to post in response to some of the comments made here. To state that Avira was a great product is not accurate. They have been rated toward the very top of the heap by the big testing labs for a long time and often have the best detection rates. MSE has been tested and so far has not done better then some of the established antivirus software companies such as Avira and others. It is looking good so far for a new product, but it still has some way to go. The only version of Avira that has a nag screen is their free version, which only shows a pop up when it updates it’s signatures. Their paid versions have no advertisements. Although I personally do not like the pop up either, some other companies also show some form of advertisement for their paid products. It is a way for the companies to make money. Companies such as Avira, AVG, Avast, and a few other who provide free versions would probably not be providing anything for free if they lost their paying customer base. If you like a product and it works for you then give them your support so that development can continue. If one can not afford to pay then there should be no complaints over free software. If it is not liked then move on to something else.
As for MSE, we all know that Microsoft does not normally do software for free. MSE is their response to a tarnished image that they have received due to all the malware that affects Windows systems. Although it is a good addition, it should have been done long ago. Mse simply has not been around long enough to show an accurate picture of what it’s capabilities have been over time. This is fine. Everyone has to start somewhere and they are looking good so far.
Another point is that most rogue malware actually imitate a Microsoft look and feel to their junk software. Should I assume that it is Microsoft who is the crapware just because some bad code writers imitate their look and use similar names? The trick is to use the look and names of respected software to fool people into making a mistake. This is not the fault of Avira or Microsoft or any other company who is imitated. It is good that there are many respectable companies who provide free versions of their software, which is not required by them, to help with the problem of viruses, spyware, or malware. This would not be needed if it were not for the fact that there are many other unscrupulous individuals and companies trying to exploit others.
Phoenix December 15th, 2009 at 15:37
Avira is a extremely good antivirus and for me is a million times better than symantec or mcaffee.. it scans fast, not a resource hog like mcaffee or symantec AV and its sucess rate in finding malware is second to none.
I am using Avira Premium for the past 18 months and it has been a top notch performance by Avira. What u have posted here is namesake Avira rogue malware which fools noobs like ur friend to installing rogue software.
Tomorrow if somebody releases the same malware tool with symantec or mcaffee name tag, will u write a similar dumb article like this one.. or will u research for infomation?? U should have researched more before making completely wrong postings.
MSE is also a good AV but to say that Antivir is a malware is totally wrong.
time to – Dump Askwoody.com
del from bookmakrs.. bye
Phoenix December 15th, 2009 at 19:05
Avira is way better than MSE. dump MSE
You’re right – I should’ve recognized the symptoms of malware. But that doesn’t alter my fundamental recommendation about Avira (and AVG and NOD32, all of which I have supported for years): Microsoft Security Essentials catches about the same number of baddies; it runs with minuscule overheard; and it’s 100% free, with no nagging and no threatening.
Weird. The first recommendation, always, is to uninstall and re-install. If that doesn’t help, you might try installing a different version – say, drop back to 3.3.
If that doesn’t work, you might want to try Opera or Chrome. They both have big-time fans.
Woody and others here-
Read the following:
btw, on some of my machines, I use Avira Antivir Personal (Free) edition rather than the premium edition and works well. try to distinguish between the “genuine” Avira product and the “fake” one.
Abbie Forney December 16th, 2009 at 01:09
I have upgraded Avira from FREE to Avira Anti-virus Premium for 1 yr on both of my XP computers having to pay for each subscription separately. It seems to be working on my ACER but not on my Toshiba as I kept getting a message that the subscription was out of date and needed to be activated. I had had no problem getting Avira to quickly answer my question about whether or not I needed to pay separately for both AAV Premium on both computers; but when it came to telling them that neither of my A AV Premium subscriptions should have expired because they had been purchased less then a year ago, I got no reply or help. Don’t they keep track of clients accounts. I suppose we are expected to call all the way to Germany to get any attention. Anyway, I didnâ€™t call Germany. I just gave up, uninstalled Avira Premium on the Toshiba and am using MS now.
Thank YOU for all your wonderful assistance, Woody.
I think there may be a problem with Windows 7 and Firefox and the Weather Bug add-on.
I chatted online with a Firefox volunteer and they asked me to check my extensions and then start Firefox on safe mode.
I uninstalled Weather Bug and now Firefox seems to be working properly again.
Well, I had to downgrade to Firefox 3.0.15 and now things are working. I guess I’ll have to wait until 3.6 is out of beta and ready for release?
> I still say MSE is a far better product
I wonder how you are able to assess this?! A few hours ago you weren’t able to distinguish the real AntiVir from some crapware which is abusing its name and now you are telling us MSE is still a far better product? Sorry dude, that’s embarrassing…
The standardized tests show no significant difference among any of the big-name AV products.
MSE stands head and shoulders above the rest because it’s free, and Microsoft doesn’t have anything else to sell you. In the past year, the other free AV products (AVG, Avira and NOD32) have taken on scare tactics and other lowlife approaches. MSE makes few demands on your system, and it just works.
Believe me, I hate to say that about a Microsoft product. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s clearly superior.
Why dont you apologize ?
you are serving us a big lie in your first post
I see no excuse for all that .exept the small line
I was duped –
This is really not enough …….
rc primak December 17th, 2009 at 00:12
Firefox has a new version as of today. Try this one. And I use the Weather Bug. I understand it may not work well with Windows 7, no matter which version of Firefox you are using. Sorry I cannot recommend an alternative, as most Weather Alert Add-ons are loaded with adware and Web Beacons. (In fact, The Weather Bug Add-On does use Web Beacons and is location aware.) Perhaps a Bookmark for just the Weather Bug Web Site might be the best compromise until this add-on gets upgraded for Win 7 and FF 3.6.
Be aware also that AdBlock Plus and NoScript may interfere with add-ons which use Web Beacons. So can certain Web Shields used by antivirus products. That is independent of which version of Windows or Firefox you are using. MSE has fewer of these Web Shields, so it doesn’t interfere as much as, say, Avast Free (which I use, without problem with The Weather Bug and Windows XP Pro, SP3).
As I mentioned in the UPDATE to the post, I gave the right advice for the wrong reason! Not sure how to apologize for that, but if you’re offended, I most certainly do apologize.
I think Rico refers with his comment to these two lines:
> Dump Avira
> Avira used to be a good program. Now itâ€™s a piece of unscrupulous crapware.
Of course you added an updated to your blog post but you haven’t deleted your reproaches on Avira and the real AntiVir.
Right you were duped, some crapware abuses Avira’s trademark “AntiVir” but the point is that Avira has utterly nothing to do with the crapware you are talking about. So it’s unfair that you still say “dump Avira” or “Avira is a piece of crapware” even if you added an update which qualifies the things you said. IMHO
Regards from a fanboi of the real (!) Avira AntiVir
Okay. I just saw the Avira update notice, and it really bothers me. But I’ll make the updates. You convinced me.
NEED HELP WITH POPUP NOTICE ON WIN2000 March 27th, 2010 at 05:32
Does anybody know how to get rid of AVIRA’s pop-up noticer saying “Your software is out of date” and refusing to go away? It stays on the desktop for minutes and won’t allow it to be minimized and there’s no clickable link except to go online and download a newer version.
The PROBLEM IS: We already had version 8-something, and had already gone online and downloaded version 9-something, and had already UNINSTALLED our old version and INSTALLED the current version, and the da*n thing would not run. Said there was something else it needed. So we UNINSTALLED 9-something, and retrieved the old 8-something and REINSTALLED that, and we UPDATED the virus defs, and THAT IS WHEN THE DA*N THING STARTED POPPING UP THIS WARNING EVERY TIME WE START OUR COMPUTER!
This is more than annoying. We are using Windows 2000, so none of the suggestions that will solve the problem on XP and other systems seem to work for us.
We like AVIRA, but this latest nonsense of theirs is really quite insufferable. Thanks for listening & for any advice.
P.S. We renamed avnotify.exe to ex0, but that had no effect. We have turned off all UPDATING, still no effect. We also did the thing where we told it to make notices INVISIBLE, but with UPDATING turned OFF, it probably will have no effect.
WHAT file is it that is turning on the POPUP NOTICE and can we defeat that by editing our registry?
Need Help -
See why I advise people to dump AVG and Avira and get Microsoft Security Essentials?
Try the advice at this site and let me know if it works.
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