Avast! trial expiration kills Internet connection – how bad is that!

So I use ‘free for personal use’ Avast Antivirus at home for the past couple of years. It’s been mostly good though I’ve had some reservations about it – namely, nag pop-ups and so on. Some months ago (or maybe was it a year ago?) there was a program update and it wanted me to install ‘Avira Internet Security’. Now I had no need for this (I use COMODO firewall which has been quite good) however, there was no way around it. Avira’s update process said I could revert back to the free Antivirus version anytime without a re-install or a re-anything!

Not much of an option and you can’t blame them for trying to push their products and convert free users to paying ones – so I went ahead with the upgrade. About a fortnight ago, I started getting warnings about ‘your trial licenses is about to expire’ and so on. The good thing about the internet security product was that it was discreet – in fact, safe to say that I even forgot that I installed it.

Remembering the notices about the trial expiring and reverting back to the free version, I chose to ignore all the warnings till yesterday afternoon when the wife called me up at work about ‘internet not working from the home machine’. Now my wifi dongle on the home pc does once in a while show up with a ‘Limited connection’ that’s quickly fixed with either disabling and enabling the dongle or unplugging it and putting it back in the USB port. I offered that up as a solution and a few hours later am told that it hasn’t fixed the issue.

This morning I finally sat down to see what was up. Turns out that the WIFI just wouldnt connect. So up comes device manager and under Network Devices I see a whole lot of ‘avast! NDIS filter’ virtual devices showing up. Opened Avast! gui and there are no panels for turning the thing off… Its reverted back to the free version – but has killed my net connection in the process! Not a happy camper at this point – still wasn’t worried since I figured there’ve got to be tons of users with the same problem and it probably has a simple fix. Google did not reveal any simple fixes – Avast’s community forum had help! Avast Internet Security trial expired, no internet connection and Avast Internet Security Trial seems to have affected my internet connection. The suggestions offered – buy a license, uninstall and re-install Avast etc were just not Ok. I definitely wasn’t the only one affected but looks like a small but sizable user population was affected. If that was so, then Avast! should have done something about it – however, looks like they don’t believe much in that. Agreed it’s a free product and will not merit levels of support that you’d get for something that you pay for. But:

  1. I did not ask for the installation of the ‘Premium’ product trial.
  2. There was no option to opt out of the ‘trial’
  3. They actively messaged that there’s ‘nothing to lose’ from using the trial.

Given all that, they should have stepped up and either taken care of the issue with an update OR put up steps on how to solve it. It doesn’t take that much. Here’s how I got back my net connection:

  1. Device manager – Remove all ‘Avast!’ virtual devices with a right click ‘Uninstall’
  2. Restart
  3. No WIFI still… so open ‘Network and sharing center-> Change Adapter settings-> Wifi Connection -> properties’. In the ‘This connection uses the following items:’ list there was one more avast! filter device. Selected and uninstalled that too and restarted again.
  4. Back in business…WIFI is back up and running!

It’s time to say goodbye to Avast!. Any recommendations for good, free antivirus solutions?

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21 thoughts on “Avast! trial expiration kills Internet connection – how bad is that!

  1. I can’t find a way to keep my internet connection after Avast Internet Security is uninstalled. Once I install it, it breaks my connection. The only window I have to get online is the time btw reinstalling, rebooting, and then uninstalling again and again. My laptop now freezes or finds some way to make me reboot after uninstalling this POS, and then my connection is down again. I really need some help figuring this out. I’ve not seen any duplicate Avast drivers under network connections per se, but they do leave some active modules in Device Manager under System devices if you show HIDDEN.

    I used to LOVE Avast. Recommended it to everyone since early XP as it was lightweight and fast, and seemed to catch everything. Started becoming bloatware around 5 and 6 so I just stopped using, but now this is pretty much a criminal pay enterprise. There is NO WAY I should have a program where I can’t easily turn it off from my dashboard. Like Webroot, if they feared a virus was going to compromise the PC, then MAKE THE USER TYPE A CAPTCHA!! Avast techs either deserve a lawsuit or an asskicking for what they’ve done to the product. You need to make dummy nodes to route traffic through, FINE! But when you do such, MAKE THEM FULLY REVERSIBLE. I have combed all through Avast’s tech support and they have been made aware of the problem. If that it the case, why is the same buggy software STILL AVAILABLE TO ME WHEN MY FIRST INSTALLATION WAS JULY 8TH??? I’m still angry that I had System Restore activated, but it doesn’t save anything anymore, as I heard all you had to do was uninstall and go back until before. I hate both Win7 (I paid for x64 professional and it’s a nightmare) and Avast. Thanks for the write up.

  2. omg omg thank you so much! *cries of happiness*thnk you so much *hugs* i got my intrnt back. i went to university ict centre ths mornng n they told me to format my laptop! such a lot of work to do. anyway thnks a million to you for willing to share this tutorial. again, thank you. no more avast for me too. damn angry with avast.

    • thank you SO much!!! I have just spent 2 nights vertually weeping over my keyboard about this. Just doing a restart but internet looks back…but it killed my wireless keyboard as well, so hoping that is now going to work. I know this post was a while ago, but I have AVG on my laptop and will now install that on my computer too. Thanks again :-)

  3. Free Avast is good, but it has a burden, that you should not greedy about it’s other trial/free program/software’s which it offers. One Avast! free software is good for non-commercial PC!.
    To avoid any calamity, just disable the auto update feature and update manually weekly manually by downloading its free virus definition updates –
    http://files.avast.com/iavs5x/vpsupd.exe
    http://download69.avast.com/iavs5x/vpsupd.exe
    And use Firefox 10 with some Add-ons : WOT; Better Privacy; Adblock; Interclue; No Script; Quick Java etc.
    Before you jump to a Link or to any download, please verify them with:
    http://safeweb.norton.com
    http://www.siteadvisor.com/
    If you are using Free Security then please have patience with it and always be careful. AND if you are using Windows then please install “Windows Defender” its free and safe and update its malware definition from:
    http://download.microsoft.com/download/DefinitionUpdates/mpas-fe.exe
    In this way you will be safe for sure,

    • @Ram Das – not sure how disabling updates would have helped – Avast would still have killed the net connection.
      Rest of your advice makes a lot of sense – and I’ve moved to Windows Defender right after this incident..

  4. dear dear Raghu, THANK YOU SOO SOOO MUCH! You saved me with your detailed advice. Thank you thank you thank you. You saved my dissertation! X!

  5. Hi all. Saw the Avast forum and they say it is a known problem. Just disable Self Defense module in Settings > Troubleshooting and restart PC (maybe not one time restart needed) to see if these entries are gone. In my case worked. Good luck.

  6. Thank-you! Thank-you! Thank-you Raghu!

    My wireless connection shut down after I did an official uninstall of the avast internet security and then rebooted. I was in a panic today until I came across your posting here (via my iPad) and low and behold under wireless network connection properties an avast filter driver was still there.

    I had found other forum posts that had folks doing all sorts of things and I thought there has to be another way. I’m so grateful to your post with ‘another way’ that worked for me. Yeah!

    I plan to make sure there aren’t any other lingering avast items out there as well.

    Agree. Best advice ever!

  7. It took a while but I got rid of all avast files. 1 download and install unlocker. 2. Boot to safe mode you know, the f8 routine. When windows is up go to my computer – program files and find avast software and right click. Select unlocker from the menu and another menu shows with a small button saying actions, select delete and it will remove all avast files. Then reboot as normal.

  8. Avast has done its job to protect you from malicious things on the net…by completely killing your connection. I had this problem in November 2012, format pc to get things working then fast forward to July 7th 2013 this crap still with same problems and no fix except to uninstall. Avast has gone downhill like Nero became bloated with too many things you dont need. And they want you to pay £29.99 for this junk?

  9. in my story when after all the trial shit expired it turned “free” but when I tried to uninstall It, it asked for restart but after restart my net adapter was not starting giving comment In the device manager/net adapter properties “cannot start the device error code 10″ after that it never started, not even after reinstalling windows. it must be there a**hole strategy to damage pc components firmware or something through there software to make us feel that their complete protection was protecting our PC, well can they do that?, of-course they can as we installed there shit giving them the door open to do what ever they want, I have attended the hackers conference they have showed that they can do what ever the f**k they want to do with our computers ,smartphones, Androids etc,once their software is installed in our device,PC. and most importantly no government department comes and checks their software weather they are making them as per ethical standards and such checking will only be done against any complaints. so they, as a business use any strategy to sell their products. my adapter dead after that restart can be complete co-incident. but I don’t thing so as I have been in hackers conference and seen that once there software is installed they can do anything.

  10. Thank you – thank you. Have my internet connection back. It’s 2014 and this problem still exists. We too have had Avast for years on our son’s recommendation. It’s been a wonderful product. No longer. I want to unistall avast! internet Security (the avast antivirus is no where to be found – only the blasted internet security program), but it won’t unistall from control panel. Any suggestions?

  11. I also used the free version for a while but what a nightmare. Avast is creating a large number of network connections to various IP addresses. Some of these connections are never closed. Sometimes my email (Thunderbird) does not connect and I am continiously get a popup about a security certificate. My ADSL connection sometimes get so slow that I have to reboot my PC. (At least 5 to 6 times per day). I eventually decided to uninstall Avast, went into the registry and remove any trace of Avast and now everything is back to normal. I also noticed that some other software was installed like netsession-win.exe. I removed that as well. I sent email to Avast with details of all the network connections and their solution to delete any Avast settings in IE and Google Chrome did not help at all. I sent them another email and up to now not a word from them. Why should I buy this software if the trial version is giving me so many hassles. I am now looking at other antivirus software that does not mess up my network but don’t know what to buy. Any suggestions

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