Monday, February 27, 2012

avast! Users Frustrated With Unwanted Chrome Browser

Reports of the inclusion of Google Chrome with the latest avast! upgrade began trickling in several days ago when Version 7 was released. 

As  illustrated below, the issue is complicated by differing reports of the upgrade process.
  • Some avast! users report that they were not presented with the pre-checked option to install Google Chrome.
  • There are reports that the avast! window presented after reboot does not remain active long enough to uncheck the pre-checked options.  (Note:  it was also reported that the window was presented after the first hard restart rather than the initial restart installing the upgrade.)
  • People with Google Chrome installed have reported that even unchecking the installation option resulted in a second install of Chrome! In addition, that second install wrecked havoc with the existing Chrome installation, resetting the current users profile to default and extensions missing.
  • Others reported problems with Hostman Server and Sandboxie, necessitating an uninstall/reinstall of avast!.
Granted, the Google Chrome browser is not scareware, adware or spyware.  When a vendor includes an add-on such as a toolbar or, in this case, the Google Browser, the point is "pay per install", thus the reason for the pre-checked option. 

From the sampling below of comments from the avast! forum, in a situation where the option to uncheck the install is either not left long enough for the user to access or their choice is ignored, trust in the vendor product is lost:
"I used to recommend Avast.  I won't be doing that anymore.  I just don't trust it after this happened and I see all the issues others had."

"One more dissatisfied user here!  Avast notified me that it wanted to install Version 7.  NOTHING ABOUT CHROME!!  Then after it installed 7 a screen pops up asking if I wanted to install Chrome.  I responded NO and the then the 7 installation wanted me to click "Finish."  When the screen  cleared there was a Chrome icon on the desktop."


"The install welcome screen launched and before I had time to read the screen the install started never a chance to opt-out or configure the install."

"I didn't have Chrome on my pc before I updated avas6. On rebooting the pc I found to my absolute horror that the developers at avast thik they know better than me about what software I need and had installed chrome. At no time did ANY warning appear, or my consent was sought to install anything other than the update. I consider this action to be one of MALWARE."

    Recommendations

    1. When upgrading to avast! Version 7, select "Custom" install and select the options you want to use.
    2. After the installation is complete.  Watch for the following window to appear:

    3. According to your preferences, leave checked or uncheck the option to "Participate in the avast! community".
    4. If you already have Google Chrome installed or do not want Google Chrome installed, uncheck the boxes in the following order:

      a)  First, uncheck "Make Google Chrome my default browser". 
      b)  Next, uncheck "No, do not install the Google Chrome web browser".
      c)  Click Finish.

    References





    Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
    May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...


    11 comments:

    ky331 said...

    Corrine,

    It seems that the “surprise” installation of Chrome, and even the overwriting of existing customized Chrome installations, are actually among the lesser of the problems plaguing users of avast 7. The following have all been reported:

    1) Borked/partial installations… systems freezing.
    2) A message screen appearing after every reboot, telling you that you need to reboot yet again. [The avast “work-around” is to disable this screen from appearing.]
    3) An “overly active” File System Shield, that repeatedly tests the same file over and over again… hundreds or thousands of times. CPUs spiking. As such, systems are bogged down and not really usable.
    4) Significantly increased scanning times.
    5) The Internet being slowed down to a snail’s pace (on high-speed connections).
    6) The new “cloud-based” features [e.g., streaming updates] not connecting to the Internet.
    7) The inclusion of a “remote access” module, which has sparked a heated debate as its safety.
    8) Losing all of one’s customized settings when “upgrading” via the program’s internal updater from avast6 to avast7.
    9) At least 2 reports of Avast automatically “upgrading” itself to version 7, when the user had set version 6’s program-update status to “Ask me first”.
    10) Without notification/explanation to users, the “auto-sandbox” feature, which indeed functioned as such in avast6, has been relegated into being merely an “analysis tool”, which simply shuts itself down after offering its analysis. Nonetheless, the “sandbox” name was retained for this “tool”. Furthermore, it seems to have become significantly more “frisky” in avast7, questioning files --- especially files created by users and small-business entrepreneurs, as well as some bootup files --- that had long-existed and were never targeted in avast6.

    I also feel compelled to mention avast’s removal tool, since many people are downloading/using it given all the problems cited above. In general, a "dedicated" removal utility is an essential move when trying to completely uninstall an anti-virus program... in particular, it's supposed to go after any "lingering" registry entries and "orphaned" files.
    However, as best as I can tell, the avast removal utility does not do this!...
    1) reports indicate this tool does NOT look for and remove [stray] registry entries. The registry remains cluttered with an abundance of avast references. Rather,
    2) the tool simply deletes a directory, including all of its contents. The presumption is that the user will identify/locate the Avast directory, to remove it. However, this tool will remove ANY directory that the user highlights... including one's PROGRAM FILES directory ... in which case, ALL of your installed programs go bye-bye, So use it with extreme care... or better yet, not at all!!
    http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=94277.0

    In short, my conclusion is Avast7 is "not ready for prime time".

    Anonymous said...

    I decided to try avast! after years with AVG Free. The install proceeded slowly, and I have better things to do than watch a lethargic progress bar. Returning to the screen within two minutes, I find the program has unilaterally decided to install Google Chrome. I consider any installation of any program other than the one intended to be malware. Why else would it be hidden? There was no check box offered as far as I could tell. I attempted to cancel the entire installation, but the window did not respond, and the "Cancel" button was greyed-out and non-responsive. I was then informed that my installation was complete! What? To make matters worse, avast!(or Chrome) rebooted my computer without my consent, starting and initializing both avast! and Google Chrome.
    Rebooting my computer is MY choice. I resent and detest ANYTHING that unilaterally decides when to do what it wishes without my knowledge or consent. To me, both avast! and Google Chrome have actions that users are trying to avoid in the first place. They both operate like malware, and, for some reason, Google has worked out some deal with avast! to package it's product to be covertly installed on the user's computer without their knowledge or consent. Now, isn't this the EXACT REASON we need software like this, to STOP this type of activity? I would like to suggest that BOTH programs be avoided until they both operate strictly as user-friendly, and recognize the Administrator of a computer as the ultimate authority of what and if a program will be installed.
    I have used Revo Uninstaller to toss Google Chrome, and after seeing this web page, out goes avast! as well- back to AVG.

    Norbert Gostischa said...

    Hello Corrine,
    As a long time avast! user, (almost 10 years)I take objections to some of the negative replies posted here.
    It isn't so hard to avoid the recommendation to install the Chrome browser. (My default browser by the way) I put together a small video that makes this task very easy to accomplish.
    http://youtu.be/KJcfAZHGRHE
    The main thing to remember is to always select the Custom Install.

    Anonymous said...

    Almost one year later and Chrome is still being installed without permission. If this was any other company other than Google then it would be considered malware.

    Not impressed!!!

    Worse still after the uninstall of Chrome a Google process is still running in the background which you have to switch off manually before binning it. Chrome is an invasion of privacy - what right does Google have to be on my computer without permission?

    Anonymous said...

    Yikes! What did I do wrong? Avast installed Chrome without asking first. Crikey! Now my shortcuts refuse to work and when I go online I am greeted by various ads trying to direct me to where it thinks I want to go!

    Luckily I'm smart enough to fix it, but for crying out loud, way to alienate a potential customer. Do they think I'll BUY their product after this nonsense?

    btw, elderly internet user here, not a kid, but still mad as one

    Anonymous said...

    Just updated to Avast 8. After restart it told me it was nearly through the process, and gave me one button to click "Finish". I anticipated it would open up my default browser (Firefox) so I could give Avast my email address again (or some similar completion process) I was surprised when it overrode my default browser choice and opened up Google Chrome. I dislike Chrome intensely, and only have it installed for the use of 2 web apps with a university course. Other than that I don't use it.
    What happened to user choice?


    I'm also a little surprised by the list of data items in the URI. There are all sorts of data on my computer that I can't fathom. The one I can easily recognise is my computer name. What do they need that for?

    Corrine said...

    It is indeed frustrating when companies, particularly security vendors, include unwanted add-ons with their software. It makes people less inclined to want to purchase the licensed version, decreases trust and certainly makes one wonder what other unknowns are included with their product. :(

    Anonymous said...

    I was just reviewing the family antivirus (we run a mixture so that no one false positive can knock out all our devices), and after having read about AVast and their gungho attitude to users has earned them a bodyswerve. I will NOT be installing Avast on any pc's this year.

    OOPNinja said...

    I recently installed Avast after being without Windows for years. It never asked me if I wanted to install Chrome, it just went ahead and installed it. It not only went ahead and installed Chrome, it also made Chrome the default browser. I use Firefox plain and simple. I had to uninstall Chrome and reset Firefox as my default browser. Now every day an annoying window pops up from Avast asking me to install Chrome. Avast also keeps offering me things then asking me to pay for it. If this keeps up I'm removing Avast and going with something else. I was using Panda but it slowed everything down (kind of funny when using a Quad core processor). I too used to suggest Avast a long time ago but I think I will avoid doing such anymore unless they change their tactics.

    Corrine said...

    Hi, OOPNinja.

    Sadly, in providing free antivirus software Avast adds Chrome as a "prechecked" option (must be unchecked at installation) but isn't alone. Avira Free offers "Avira SafeSearch Plus" which is a rebranded version of the Ask Toolbar and AVG Free Antivirus bundles "AVG Zen" which will nag users to download unnecessary and potentially harmful programs such as "AVG PC TuneUp" and "AVG Web TuneUp".

    You might want to try completely uninstalling Avast and, following a restart, re-install it but this time be sure to uncheck the Chrome offer when installing the software.

    OOPNinja said...

    Hello Corrine,

    The thing is Avast did NOT ask me at all whether to install Chrome or not. I am positive of this. I'm not new to computers or installing software. I'm not even new to security. I've been tinkering with computers for almost fifteen years. I've installed operating systems hundreds of times (Windows, Linux, and even some alternative operating systems). I am certain Avast never asked me if I wanted to install Chrome. After my comment I went ahead and removed Avast and installed Bitdefender. Never used it before but it had good reviews overall. So far it works far better than Avast in that it doesn't nag me every day. The only issue when installing it was I "registered" with my Google account (for various reasons) and the screen to link to the account didn't show the needed buttons. Using the mouse to highlight some text them moving the mouse to the bottom of the window scrolled it (it would not scroll any other way).

    Avast has become a shady company simply because they are now installing software without asking the user at all. After some research it seems in most cases it never asks the user if they want to install the browser, it just gets installed. Some of the Avast fanboys respond by saying "If you don't want the browser, just uninstall it". I say that Avast shouldn't install it to begin with without permission. It's the principal. So as of yesterday, Avast is no longer a part of my life or even an option.