Newsletter Archives

  • More problems installing the April Monthly Rollups if you have Avira antivirus

    Remember the ongoing problems with the six (now nine) Win7/8.1/Server patches and the five-or-so incompatible antivirus programs? Bluescreens, extreme slowdowns and the like.

    Earlier this month, when we switched over to MS-DEFCON 4, I was a bit skeptical about Avira. Here’s what I said in the Computerworld article:

    In a private communication, an Avira spokesperson says that Microsoft is no longer blocking the problematic patches on machines running Avira.

    And in fact an Avira spokesman told me on May 2:

    Avira delivered an automatic update to all Windows users on April 17. MS also offers again all updates to Avira users. Unfortunately, MS has still not updated its KB article

    Microsoft’s snazzy new Release Information page was updated on May 3 to say:

    System may be unresponsive after restart if Avira antivirus software installed

    Microsoft and Avira have identified an issue on devices with Avira antivirus software installed that may cause the system to become unresponsive upon restart after installing KB4493472. Microsoft has temporarily blocked devices from receiving this update if Avira antivirus software is installed.

    Next steps: Avira has released an automatic update to address this issue. Guidance for Avira customers can be found in the Avira support article.

    The Release Information page marks the problem as “Mitigated.” But there are many folks who would beg to differ.

    @rhp52 has reported continuing problems getting the Win7 April Monthly Rollup installed while Avira Antivirus is running. Several posters have noted that Avira keeps updating versions — it’s now up to 15.0.1905.1249 — but no joy in Mudville.

    For now, it seems like the best advice for those running Avira antivirus is to:

    1. Make sure Avira is as up to date as you can get it.
    2. Download the Monthly Rollup (which file depends on the version of Windows that you’re using)
    3. Make a full system backup. I use EaseUS Todo Backup Free, but there are many alternatives.
    4. Disconnect from the internet
    5. Install the Rollup
    6. Reconnect.

    Any contrary opinions or experiences?

  • Avira: It’s all fixed, and Microsoft has stopped blocking the six problematic patches

    … even though Microsoft still says they’re blocking …

    I just got word from Avira saying that they’ve installed an automatic update to all affected Avira users, and that Microsoft has stopped blocking the problematic six (now, with the Rolllup Previews, nine) patches.

    There’s still no reconciliation between Avira’s claim of sluggish Win10 1809 behavior and Microsoft’s silence on the topic. But the bottom line is that all’s well in Avira land.

  • Avira says it has fixed the slowdown problem associated with the April Win7/8.1 patches; Microsoft still hasn’t acknowledged it

    Avira has updated its very short response to the six dirty patches/five broken AVs problem. Their KB 1976 now says:

    We have looked into the issue that you described, where the system slows down after a Windows update, and have found a way to fix it.

    We have recently released an update that should fix this issue. Your Avira Product will be automatically updated, and you don’t have to do anything else in the product.

    Oddly, the Avira article goes on to list three conflicting patches:

    • Windows 10: KB4493509
    • Windows 7: KB4493472, KB4493448

    whereas Microsoft lists Avira conflicts as part of the known issues for nine different patches — all of the Win7 and Server 2008 R2 / Win8.1 and Server 2012 R2 / Server 2012 Monthly Rollup and Security-only patches (those are the original six), along with the Monthly Rollup Previews, now, for each of those versions.

    Microsoft still says:

    Microsoft has temporarily blocked devices from receiving this update if Avira antivirus software is installed. We are presently investigating this issue with Avira and will provide an update when available.

    Also remarkably, Avira singled out the original March Win10 1809 cumulative update KB 4493509, where Microsoft has never acknowledged that bug. Even the fancy new Windows 10 Release Information Status page is mum.

    Not sure whom to believe? Yeah, me neither.

    Thx Bogdan Popa, Softpedia.

  • Adobe Reader and Flash Player updates, and Avira vs Win8

    This just in from EP –

    Another round of monthly security updates for Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash Player have been posted this May.

    Adobe security bulletin APSB13-15 mentions new security patches for Adobe Reader:
    while Adobe security bulletin APSB13-14 mentions new security patches for Flash Player:

    As for Avira Antivirus software and Windows 8, only Avira Free Antivirus (aka. Avira
    Antivir Personal) has been certified as Windows 8 compatible since early April 2013
    as mentioned here:
    the rest of their products (Avira Antivirus Premium, Avira Internet Security, etc.) have yet to receive the Windows 8 certification from Microsoft.

  • Antivirus and Windows 8

    You probably guessed that I strongly recommend against installing  any third party antivirus software  in Windows 8. The built-in Win8 package works great,and it’ll never beg you for money.

    That said, I just received a sobering  overview of  known AV problems from EP:

    Now that Windows 8 is out to the masses, there are some antivirus – internet security suites that are not yet compatible with Windows 8.


    The folks of Avira have acknowledged that their antivirus software is incompatible with Win8 and may cause blue screen crashes on Win8 if Avira is installed on there:


    Even a recent version of Avast antivirus software can also cause BSODs on Win8 as noted in these Avast forum threads:

    [a recent patch for Avast has been released to resolve the blue screen crashes on Win8] But the next release of Avast sometime in early 2013 will be fully Win8 compatible.


    and lastly the Lavasoft Ad-aware 10.x security software has some incompatibility issues on Windows 8 mentioned in this Lavasoft forum thread:

    I also read in the forum there that the upcoming Ad-aware version 10.4 will add full Windows 8 support, which will be due out in late November 2012.


    In the meantime, Windows 8 users should avoid using Avast, Avira or Lavasoft and switch to other internet security programs that are currently compatible with Windows 8.

    EP just sent me an update:

    a follow up on Avast.  It was already compatible with Windows 8 since version 7.0.1473, as noted on the Softpedia page on Avast’s history / changelog:

    I was not fully aware of this.


    Build 1473 of Avast 7.0 was released October 24 and build 1474 was released Nov. 1 to fix certain crashes on Windows 8.  A patch for Avast 7.0.1474 is made available here:

    this one should resolve more blue screen crashes with Avast 7 but this patch specifically requires version 7.0.1474 and won’t install on build 1473 or less.


    So Win8 users who have Avast 7.0 installed should upgrade to version 7.0.1474 and apply the aswnet.sys patch to fix most (if not all) of the serious crashes.


    You’ve probably guessed that I no longer use Avast – I’m Microsoft Security Essentials all the way in Win7, and use nothing besides the default (“Windows Defender”) in Win8.

  • AVG Free begging for money

    Reader SA writes:

    It appears that AVG wants to sell the new upgrade AVG 8.5. The popup warning rather dire looking: threat of no more updates after April (something like 14th). I only want to use the Free edition.

    I remember when someone posted a comment, recently on your newly designed website, about how angry he got at another company doing that.

    I recall about a year ago, or a bit longer, they did the same thing: giving a date that it will end and then it didn’t.

    You noted you like using free AVG in your comment.

    The scary warnings are ….scary. They didn’t stop last year.

    I still use AVG, although I’m getting less and less enthusiastic about it because of this bogus warning, the attempts to steer you to a for-pay package, and its default installation of a “phone home” component that sends your complete browser history to the folks at AVG. I turn off LinkScanner (that’s the “phone home” piece) through AVG’s control panel, but it’s a pain in the neck.

    Seth, who’s a regular here, prefers AVIRA. NOD32 used to have an excellent free package, but it looks like they’ve changed to a free 30-day evaluation only.

    It you want to stick with AVG Free – I still run it on most of my computers, including my Windows 7 computers – here’s how to do it:

    1. Download but don’t install AVG Free.

    2. Disconnect your computer from your network and the Internet.

    3. Click Start, Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs and remove AVG Free. You’ll see some detailed instructions about stopping AVG Free before it can be removed, and you’ll have to re-boot your machine.

    4. Double-click on the downloaded copy of AVG Free. Follow the instructions to install it.

    5. When AVG Free says it wants to check the Internet for updates, then – and only then – plug your compute back into your network and the Internet. Then proceed with the installation.

    That’s a generic sequence for uninstalling an old antivirus product and installing a new one, safely and effectively. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work very well with Norton, which leaves pieces of itself scattered everywhere, and it notoriously difficult to remove completely.

  • Windows Secrets Security Baseline

    This week’s edition of Windows Secrets Newsletter just hit the stands, and Ryan Russel’s Top Story discusses changes in the WSN Security Baseline. (Windows Secrets Newsletter appears in both a free version and a paid version – and you get to decide how much you want to pay for the paid version. The Top Story always appears in the free version and the paid version.)

    In summary:

    1. Use a hardware firewall. WSN has some good recommendations. In fact, any router you buy these days has a fully functional hardware firewall.

    2. Install a security suite. WSN recommends Norton Internet Security. I’m too cheap. I still use AVG Free, or Avira Antivir Free.

    3. Check for updates regularly. Watch this site for the latest, particularly on Microsoft patches. Make sure you download, install, update and religiously run Secunia PSI.

    4. Select a more-secure browser. WSN and I strongly recommend Firefox.

    The PC you save may be your own.