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Windows 7: Avast antivirus destroys customized Start Menu orb unless . . .

20 Jun 2017   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Avast antivirus destroys customized Start Menu orb unless . . .

I recently got fed up with AVG Free & decided to try Avast. The first time I rebooted my system after installing Avast, it reverted my Start Menu orb to the original system default. It took me a few tries before I got the problem squared away. First, you have to customize the Avast Behavior Shield by adding the Orb Changer program to the exclusion list. That lets you replace your customized orb. But it doesn't help you on the next reboot. However, Avast actually tells you that it doesn't like C:\Windows\expstart.exe during the reboot. So you need to also add that to the exclusions in the Behavior Shield customizations.

Before posting this I did try to search for threads whose titles included "Avast" and "orb." Problem is the search engine here says "orb" is too common or too long or too short as a search criterion & removes the word from the search keys. Not helpful. By the same token, that means that nobody is going to be able to find this post since "orb" is in the title. Or maybe not. If it ever happens that you search on something & get this post in your results, please post here how you searched. I'm curious about searches on "orb." Seems to me it's a bit extreme to discard "orb" as a search criterion when it's a legitimate jargon term within the operating system & something somebody might want to search on.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jun 2017   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit sp1

Just as a matter of interest, did you use the AVG Free uninstall utility to completely remove AVG before you installed Avast. Anti Virus programs can be hard to completely remove & if there are remnants left behind they can cause conflicts with another AV program.

This AVG website might help you if needed.

How to uninstall AVG software | AVG Support
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2017   #3

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

Good point. As a matter of course, I always uninstall things using Revo Uninstaller, for which I have Seven Forums to thank. I learned of this wonderful product scrounging around here a couple of years ago. And my uninstall of AVG was no exception. There is a ton of junk left over after the built in AVG uninstaller runs. Thankfully, Revo found it & I was able to achieve total freedom from AVG Free. I must say, however, that I am not totally impressed with Avast, either. It wants to do things I am always telling it not to do, and it is always telling me about exploits that a legitimate program on my system is doing wrong. I suspect this legitimate program (Hola) is in cahoots with some less than reputable advertisers. But everything Avast tells me about prompts me to add a new line to my HOSTS file to block said disreputable advertiser. But Avast continues to claim Hola is still trying to get something from sites I've blocked. So I'm not so sure it's always true. Besides, as others have noted, Avast seems to be a vast bloatware, doing lots more things than just blocking viruses. I have CCleaner & Malwarebytes & Spybot. I don't think I need an antivirus program that duplicates their various functionalities. So I may be ditching Avast here soon enough. And I can assure you I'll be doing that with Revo as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Jun 2017   #4
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1

Hi WildWilly.

I noticed in your bios this.
Mainframe programmer
I'm not sure what all that includes but if you look in the registry I would bet a dogs leg against a $1.00 that you will still find leftovers of Avast and AVG.

With the several anti virus programs I have tried, all left junk no matter what methods I used to remove them except using regedit after using Revo or the designated removal program. I'm sure you are aware that regedit must be used with caution or you could end up with a door stop.

Because of all the Junk added to most of today's anti virus programs I also run these programs after removing the anti virus program.

Malwarebytes | AdwCleaner

Free Virus Scan | Online Virus Scan from ESET ESET

Then because I'm paranoid I run (sfc /scannow)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Sep 2017   #5

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Cleaning up leftovers

Kind of a late response but better late than never, right? You were right about some things being left over. But I ran both my registry cleaner uppers (CCleaner + Eusing) and they got rid of some junk. Not a lot, but some.

And I didn't like Avast so I now have Avira. I have just discovered that a reboot changes my Start Orb back to the original. So I've added C:\Windows\expstart.exe to the Avira exceptions now. I guess I'll see whether that saves my orb next time I reboot. Seems to me I've rebooted before since I installed Avira but this is the first time my orb reverted to the default. Odd. Which brings me to your sfc /scannow suggestion. If I want to preserve my orb, I can't run that. At least that's my understanding. I suppose I could just reinstate my orb like I just did. But I haven't run sfc & things are running fine. If I'm tempting fate, then I'll live with the consequences.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2017   #6

Win7 Pro 32bit

Avira support for Windows 7 ends January 13, 2018. This is why I switched to Avast a month ago.
Avira Product Lifecycle
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2017   #7

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Thanks for the heads up

Oh well. Coincidentally I've had to abandon another application just within the past day so what's another one? Meaning, I'm all softened up for this. So I dumped Avira. It seemed OK. I had no complaints. But what the hey, I went back to that list I found through a Google search for free antivirus applications & settled on Comodo. Its install took a bit of a while, which I suppose you should expect for an initial install. The part of the install that took the longest was the download of the initial virus signature data base. It was nearly 300Meg. During that time, it did something utterly brain dead. It comes with its own browser. OK fine. So it installs a browser I'll never use. I already have one of those (IE) so what's another one? The brain dead thing isn't that it installed it but that it launched it. And it launched it before the AV program was installed. Now that is brain dead. An AV program that intentionally launches a web browser & visits a web page when you are unprotected because you are in the process of installing your AV program. It launched its stupid web browser & pinned the thing on my Task Bar. No. Not happening. Couldn't close the thing fast enough nor unpin the thing fast enough. Another thing it did, which I must say is an affliction of many applications, is it dropped some litter on my desktop. I don't need shortcuts to your software on my desktop. You put your folder in my Start Menu. Why do I need the exact same shortcuts on my desktop? A very few intelligent applications actually allow you to check a box saying whether you want a desktop shortcut. Comodo does not. It also doesn't give you the option of not installing their unwanted web browser. At least they asked before they changed my Firefox home page & before they changed my IP settings to use their DNS server instead of my ISP's, both of which I unchecked.

In any case, I suspect we will have a short feeling out process. At least I got expstart into its exception list before it blasted my Start Orb on me. It pops up a dialog about how such & such program is trying to do something suspicious, what do you want me to do & I will remember your response? Well that's nice. A little reassurance it's on the job & it learns.

I did try to search their web site for a statement about end of service on the product but couldn't find anything. I'm not sufficiently committed to spending hours trying to squeeze that answer out of their grape. If it ends, I'll find another AV program. There are others on that list that look at least as acceptable as this one.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Avast antivirus destroys customized Start Menu orb unless . . .

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