AVG 2015 - Large "Update" Popup

Discussion in 'other anti-virus software' started by DougCuk, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. DougCuk

    DougCuk Registered Member

    May 6, 2008
    London, UK
    If you use the free version of AVG AntiVirus you will be familiar with the persistent annual marketing campaign to get you to upgrade to the new version of their software. I always find it best to hold off upgrading until all the bugs are worked out - which means I will not be installing the 2016 version until several months into 2016.

    But this year the "Update" popup adverts are bigger and more frequent than usual
    - with an annoying 5x3 inch popup appearing 4 or 5 times a day
    - which interrupts whatever you are doing by taking focus from your current window
    - and is NOT in fact an Update but a full Upgrade to AVG 2016 (with AVG Zen)
    So I decided to look for a way to take back control.

    If you are using Windows Vista or newer you can block the marketing popups using an outbound firewall rule
    You need to block the AVGUI.EXE application from accessing the Internet
    This doesn't interfere with program updating or any other protection features
    The only side effect I can find is that
    - the "Support" menu link on the AVG main program panel will no longer display 3 clickable icons
    - but it does replace these with a clickable link for the Support webpage
    As far as I can tell there are no other drawbacks to this modification

    This technique can be used with many applications and utilities that insist on contacting the internet when you would prefer that they do not do that.

    With the Windows Firewall the steps for AVG 2015 are as follows:
    Open the Control Panel and select Windows Firewall and then Advanced Settings
    - or from the Run prompt (WinLogo Key + R) just type wf.msc
    Select Outbound Rules (left-hand panel) then New Rule (right-hand "Actions" panel)
    Select "Program" (usually the offered default) press Next button
    Use "This program path" to browse to the location of the AVG2015 program folder
    - and then select the AVGUI.EXE application

    This will result in a selection showing either
    %ProgramFiles% (x86)\AVG\AVG2015\avgui.exe - on a 64bit system
    %ProgramFiles%\AVG\AVG2015\avgui.exe - on a 32bit system

    It has been reported that on Win10 the variable %ProgramFiles% doesn't work
    - you may need to replace this with C:\Program Files

    On the next screen select "Block the connection"
    On the next screen select all three tick boxes (Domain, Private, Public)
    On the next screen give your new rule a name - such as "AVG Block Notices"

    For screen shots and assistance see this generic guide

    For anyone still using WinXP I have an alternate solution
    - as the WinXP Firewall doesn't support Outbound Rules or Blocking individual programs
    - I can post details if anyone requires.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  2. wiz57

    wiz57 Registered Member

    Dec 10, 2015
    I am using winXP SP3 and I would appreciate if you could post the solution.

    Thank you in advance
  3. DougCuk

    DougCuk Registered Member

    May 6, 2008
    London, UK
    The short answer is that
    You need to add the following line to the HOSTS file: www.avg.com

    And now the detailed answer
    The fix under Win7 is very specific and only blocks a single exe file from accessing the internet
    Because the WinXP Firewall doesn't support Outbound Firewall Rules
    - we have to use a more heavy handed technique

    We can block all access to any web address beginning with www.avg.com
    This doesn't block the AVG updates but it does block the marketing messages
    - and you can easily reverse the block if you ever do need to regain access

    Other variations of AVG web address not starting with www.avg.com are not affected
    You can still access the main AVG Free website - http://free.avg.com/
    - and also the main AVG Free (Home) Support page - http://support.avg.com/

    To do this you must edit the Windows HOSTS file
    To edit this file more easily download the HostsToggle utility on the following page

    Extract the zip file and run the HostsToggle.exe file
    It doesn't need to be installed it is just a single standalone file
    If your security (AVG or other) flags it as suspect you can select to allow it

    You should then see a Red Orb icon appear in the System Tray near the Clock on the Taskbar
    DO NOT Left click the Red Orb or you will disable the HOSTS file (just click again to re-enable)
    Right click the Red Orb icon and choose "Edit Hosts"
    The HOSTS file should load in Notepad for editing

    You need to add the following line to the HOSTS file: www.avg.com

    There should already be a line on the screen that reads: localhost
    Paste in below this line and make sure you do not put any leading spaces
    The entries should now look as follows: localhost www.avg.com

    Exit Notepad and save when prompted
    The new HOSTS file will be available immediately (no reboot required)
    - just close and reopen any Internet browser (IE, Chrome, Firefox) to use the new version

    You can test the block is active by trying to access www.avg.com in your browser
    - the website may initially display from local cached copy
    - use the Refresh button force a reload from the AVG website (it should fail)
    Note: AVG2015 also caches messages - so it can take a while before the fix appears to work
    - but after a day or two the "Support" link in AVG will also show "Internet Connection is not available"

    The HOSTS file is located in the following folder and has NO file extension (eg TXT, DOC, EXE)
    But the file is protected and you would have to deal with Access and Read Only permissions
    if you attempt to edit the file directly (HostsToggle handles all that for you)

    The HostsToggle program will unload on reboot
    - or can be closed using the Exit option on the right click menu
    - it is not required once the edit has been done
    - but keep the exe file handy in case you wish to reverse the change

    To understand more about the HOSTS file and what it does follow the links
    - on the site where you downloaded the HostsToggle utility
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
  4. DougCuk

    DougCuk Registered Member

    May 6, 2008
    London, UK
    The fix for XP is less robust than that for Win7
    - because it depends on blocking specific internet addresses
    - whereas the Win7 version blocks any outbound connection by the GUI program

    Whenever AVG add additional marketing addresses the XP fix can be bypassed
    - to keep the XP fix working you need to add these addresses to the Hosts file
    - my current list is as follows www.avg.com static.avg.com campaign.avg.com

    Just follow the guide above and add the two new lines, cut and paste may be easiest
    - and take care to avoid adding any leading space characters
  5. DougCuk

    DougCuk Registered Member

    May 6, 2008
    London, UK
    As per the previous posts
    - re AVG AntiVirus Free installed on WinXP
    - my updated Hosts file blocking list to stop popup marketing adverts www.avg.com static.avg.com campaign.avg.com download-webtuneup.avg.com cmp.avg.com stats.avg.com

    Note: The original post in this thread (re a fix for Vista, Win7 and later)
    is more robust and requires no updates or modifications.
  6. mattoys

    mattoys Registered Member

    Mar 18, 2016
    Thank you so much for your advice. I would like to apply your solution to my home network. But I long ago disabled the Windows firewall, in favor of the firewall that is part of my router, a CISCO Linksys E4200. I am using WIndows 7. Can you please tell me where I find the settings I need to change? I just looked all through the Control Panel and couldn't find ones applicable to the router. Thank you very much for your help.
  7. ziw75

    ziw75 Registered Member

    Mar 19, 2016
    Yes, blocking the 'avgui' process from within the Windows Firewall Outbound Rules, as you specified, has stopped all AVG nagware popups till this morning. I got my first AVG nag message in months just now. Essentially it was a popup to "Safeguard your browsers" [using their avg web tuneup crapware].

    The relevant process 'AVG-Secure-Search-Update_0316av.exe' was located in the hidden folder 'C/ProgramData/Avg_Update_0316av'

    But once you decline the AVG crapware, both the AVG directory mentioned above and the AVG update executable vanish [or are deleted by AVG].

    Seems like this latest method of AVG popping up Ad & Nag messages will get around the old Outbound rule blocking 'avgui' in the Windows Firewall.

    And even if you include a new Outbound Firewall Rule in Windows 7 [or Vista] AVG could simply create a new directory [with slightly different naming] in the Windows ProgramData folder every single time they wanted to nag you for money.

    For now, I've created a new rule anyway just to see what happens.

    And btw, no nag message or popup came through on my Windows XP system this morning.


    @mattoys -- I don't believe you can make changes to your router from within the Windows Control Panel. The Windows firewall is a software solution whereas your routers firewall is a hardware solution. But why not have them BOTH on and working for you. To that end, simply reactivate your Windows Firewall in the Windows Control Panel and follow the instructions laid out above by DougCuk.

    To make changes to my router, i open a browser and type in the following address :
    Then i enter my username and password and go from there.

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