False Positive From Avast Antivirus for Windows Live Photo Gallery

[Update: It looks like Avast has resolved the problem. Virus defs version 090719-0 do not have the problem. Right click the Avast icon in the system tray and go to the updating menu if you need to force the update. I removed the exclusion I had below and all was well.]

I went to start Windows Live Photo Gallery a little while ago and Avast popped up a message that it was a generic trojan. I was 99% sure it was a false positive as I’d run the program earlier and the Avast virus definitions had been updated since then. But to be save I went to the Kaspersky Online Scanner and scanned the file which was reported as safe. Other files in the WLPG directory were also being flagged as trojans.

So, I had to exclude the directory from being checked in order to run the program. The way to do this is a bit hidden so here’s how:

1. Open the On-Access scanner and go to the Standard Shield and click the customize button. Then click the Advanced tab:

On-Access Scanner Screenshot AdvancedSettings

2. Then click the Add button and enter the path to exclude. You need to include a file specification so in my case it was C:Program Files (x86)Windows LivePhoto Gallery*.*.

If I start Avast and let it do a memory scan while WLPG is running it reports it as a trojan but at least I can run WLPG now. I did go through their process of reporting a false positive which hopefully others will do and it will be cleared up soon.

Avast Antivirus Sound Tip

I’ve noticed that people are complaining that Avast announcing “Virus database has been updated” is an annoying feature. A complaint I whole heartily agree with. Here’s how to turn that off:

  1. Start Avast AntiVirus
  2. Select Settings from the menu
  3. Select “Sounds” from the settings dialog
  4. Click the “Settings” button (or just check “disable all sounds” and be done with it, if that’s what you want.)
  5. In the “Program Events” window, scroll down until you find “avast! antivirus”. These are all the Avast sounds. (Speaker icon means enabled)
  6. The first one “Automatic VPS Update” is the “…database…updated” message I (and others) find annoying. Highlight this one and then select “none” from the sounds dropdown.
  7. Make any other changes you want. Use the play button next to the sound dropdown to listen to the sound.
  8. Click OK all the way out to save.

This is just the Windows XP Sound and Audio Device applet control panel so you can go through control panel to get to it.

If you want to later restore the sound it: C:Program FilesAlwil SoftwareAvast4Englishvpsupd.wav (assuming you use english and installed to the default location)

This is for Avast 4.7.981 (although it’s been configurable on earlier versions too) running on Windows XP (but I suspect other supported OS’s are the same).

Avast AntiVirus is free for home, non-commercial use. They do require registration and a valid e-mail address (to send a registration key). The registration must be renewed every year. I’ve used the software for several years and do not get spammed by them.

Avast! Antivirus – Free Windows Anti-Virus Software

I avoided the “Must Have” label for this one but it was tough. If you don’t like your current AV software or are about to spend money on some you should look here first. Avast Personal Edition is free (for home/non-commercial use) and is complete anti-virus software that does well in independent tests. I use it on all my Windows machines and recommend it whenever I can. When I was looking for AV software a couple years ago Avast came to my attention because it had scored 100% in Virus Bulletin testing and had gotten good reviews elsewhere. The clincher was that it was free for me to use.

You need to register to get a license key which is then good for 14 months. I’ve used the product for over two years and re-registering wasn’t a problem. They sell a full line of AV products so I assume they consider this a marketing expense. I give them credit and my thanks for making such a full featured product available for free.

They do offer a “Professional Version” for sale but the free version is not at all nagware or a severely limited product. A comparison with the Professional version is here. I’ve never run into a “You need the pro version for this, buy it now” type message when using Avast. The only mention is a “Buy Professional” menu selection. The online help does mention Professional only features but they aren’t identified as pro only which can be confusing.

Features includes:

  • Resident scanner for for checking files and programs as they are accessed
  • On-Demand scans of hard drives, network drives and removable media
  • Resident scanners for E-Mail (Outlook, Outlook Express and others). Instant messaging, P2P, Network shield (protects against internet worms) and Web browsing.
  • Scans inside .zip and other compressed files.
  • You can’t schedule scans but there’s an anti-virus screen saver that will scan when the screen saver is activated.
  • Virus definitions and program updates are downloaded automatically.
  • Scans can be run a boot-time. They use the term “schedule” but this really means “set to run at next boot”.
  • A virus recovery database is available. This collects information about your files (when your PC is inactive) on the theory this information may help repair an infected file.
  • There’s logging and most other features you’d expect to find in a commercial product.
  • Skinnable interface

The best thing I can say about this is that it works without being noticed. There’s no impact on performance which isn’t something I could say with Symantec when I used that. I don’t typically run into viruses but Avast successfully detected the Eicar test virus and then aborted the connection with the web page. It also correctly identified it as a test virus and not a real virus.

Check out Avast before spending money for AV on your home PC. Just because Symantec (or something else) comes with you PC doesn’t make it the best, just willing to pay your PC vendor the most for the privilege.

Links:
Avast (Alwil Software) Web Site: http://www.avast.com
Avast Personal Edition Page: http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_4_home.html