Make Avira AntiVir (Free Edition) More Usable

Update: there is also a more recent version of this article here.

logo_antivir.gifFor years now I have used the free edition of AVG Antivirus, but recently I switched to Avira AntiVir (free edition). I still like AVG, but a number of reports (such as this one) show that it suffers in comparison to AntiVir. While my system has not had a virus in a long time, I decided to give AntiVir a whirl.

I like it, for the most part. However, there are a couple of easy hacks improvements that one can make.

Disable the Annoying Popup

The free edition of Avira AntiVir comes with an nagging popup window that rears its ugly head after each update (usually) every day, begging you to consider upgrading to the premium version. The popup is easy to dismiss, but annoying nonetheless. I understand that Avira needs to make money, but every single day is excessive.

Anyway, here is how to disable it:

Windows XP Pro:

  1. Start – Run – Type “secpol.msc”
  2. Click on Software Restriction Policy – go to Action (at the top) – Create New Restriction Policies
  3. Right-click on Additional Rules (on the right) – Choose New Path Rule

new_path_rule.png

4. Now click Browse and find the “avnotify.exe” file (C:\Program File\AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic\)

5. Make sure the security level is set to “Disallowed” and click OK.

Done. What you have done is disallowed the execution of “avnotify.exe”, which should suppress the popup window.

Windows XP Home (and Media Center)

  1. Boot into Safe Mode (repeatedly press F8 after boot)
  2. Login under the Administrator account
  3. Navigate to C:\Program File\AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic\avnotify.exe
  4. Right-click “avnotify” – Go to PropertiesSecurityAdvanced
  5. Look under the Permissions folder for a listing of all the system users. Do the following for all the users:
  6. Edit – Traverse Folder / Execute File – Deny – Click OK
  7. Reboot (into Normal mode) when finished

I don’t have Windows Vista, so I can’t comment on that. If some willing user wants to figure it out and comment below, please feel free.

Make Updates Invisible

By default, when AntiVir updates itself, it will spawn a new (minimized) window that can interrupt any full screen application that you are using, such as a movie or a video game. To change this, set the Display Mode to Invisible.

  1. Launch AntiVir and click the Scheduler tab.
  2. Right-click on Daily Update and choose Edit job
  3. Click Next until you reach the Display Mode screen
  4. Choose Invisible from the drop-down list (see screenshot)

antivir_invisible.png
There. Now AntiVir will no longer interrupt full-screen applications.

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83 thoughts on “Make Avira AntiVir (Free Edition) More Usable

  1. Much appreciated tip for a great free antivirus. I previously had Avast very good, too but changed to Avira for no apparent reason and it found 3 trojans!

    Thanks!

  2. I know we all like freeware software but here is a chance to use Avira Premium (Pay to use) for free for six month which is pretty much freeware to me.

    The offer is in German but it wasn’t too difficult to figure out the web page. Avira will email you a key. And it doesn’t matter if the key was from the German language web site when using it with an English version.

    https://license.avira.com/de/promotion-a8ydzq3fgnsu051rwq81

    Also further discussion can be found at a freeware’s website paradise:

    http://www.giveawayoftheday.com/forums/topic/4605#post-49555

  3. You agreed to the licence, and you don’t respect it, you have no honor, you don’t deserve to be respected.

    You are dishonest, shabby people..

    I you do not want the pop-up, pay for the premium or use another AV.

  4. “You have no honour”?

    Must be fun watching TV with you, Jim. Do you insist that everyone watches all the commercial breaks?

    Pathetic.

  5. “You agreed to the licence, and you don’t respect it”.

    nonsense. I didn’t agree to let their pop-up obscure my work.

    thanks for the tip to suppress avnotify.exe.

  6. Just because it’s “easy” doesn’t make it “not piracy”. They released the software under specific terms. You’re circumventing those terms. That’s your prerogative, of course, but I don’t see the point in sugar-coating it. Accept that you’re pirating this ad-ware (ad-supported software, yeah?), and move on with your lives. 😉

    I’ll agree that the pop ups are awfully obnoxious (and, per another poster, occasionally amusing). I’m thankful to the folks that do pay for Avira, so that the company feels that their pop-up advertising is working, so that I don’t have to pay for it.

  7. Confirmed that this works with Windows 7. The only difference is one extra step, in secpol.msc, you need to right-clisk ‘Software Restriction Policies’ -> ‘Add Software Restriction Policies’, as they are not active by default. This may just be for 7 Beta, not sure.

    Thank you though, this helps out quite a bit.

    And although I see the point Kaolin Fire makes, I’m sure they would prefer you make these two edits then switch to AVG. Now if this were a commercial environment, I would definitely agree with you.

  8. How the f**k is it ANY way considered ‘piracy’ ??
    The software is still the free version, it hasn’t been disssembled, it’s still feature-limited as the developers intended, people like Kaolin Fire are whining little weasels who clearly don’t have any life to ‘move on with’.
    If I wanted the full paid version, I’d pay for the full paid version, I don’t NEED to be nagged every day about something which I’m clearly not going to do, ie; pay for the full version.
    How much clearer do we need to be about this issue?

  9. Yikes. I have Vista Home Premium and can’t seem to get started getting rid of that annoying Avira daily ad to purchase something I already decided not to buy…
    Help. I see lots of methods for other programs. Please help me with the steps for my machine.
    Thanks

  10. Glad I found this site again. After I wrote the request for help, I actually figured it out! The effect was immediate.
    Yeah, days later and free of unsolicited advertisement!

  11. Thanks for this tip!

    I think there may be some confusion about “EULAs,” and certainly that alarming statement by the one gentleman who made reference to “piracy,” a term popularly used to describe downloading or copying copyrighted music, movies, and “pay” software either directly or indirectly from someone who has either paid for it or otherwise obtained it.

    Because this practice is regarded by some cultures – and some laws – as theft of “intellectual property,” it is, as is to be expected in a global environment like the “world wide” web, extremely controversial.

    It has nothing to do with how you choose to configure your very own computer!

    Because your computer is *your* property, you are within your rights to adjust the settings according to your own preferences.

    By the same token, Avira, or any other software company, wishes to make popup screens a condition of use, they are within their rights to do so.

    Making changes to whether, when, or how *your* computer runs a program, no matter how you do it, is NOT the same as making changes to *their* program code – and making changes to “their” code would indeed be a violation of most EULA agreements.

    Don’t confuse tips like this one, comparable to changing the screen font in your favorite text editor, with instructions for “cracking” or “reverse engineering” – editing or altering the actual code of a program in order to bypass time limitatations, feature restrictions – or popups!

    Avira can, if they wish, oblige you to endure the popups if you want to use their product.

    In fact, many “shareware” programs do exactly that!

    “Nag Screens,” so called because they pop up to “nag” the user to upgrade to the pay version, have long been popular with everyone from small-potatoes independent authors of one single program to huge software companies alike!

    Whew! Lotta words! Let’s cut straight to the Cliff Notes:

    The key thing to understand is that downloading a program does NOT transfer ownership of your computer to the company that made the program.

    The computer is still yours, and if you wish to adjust ANY of its settings, from disabling automatic Windows updates, to disallowing Avira popups, even installing horrid Hannah Montana wallpaper, you may do so without worrying that you may be out of compliance with any local ordinance – or even a the strongest personal belief or most deeply cherished cultural value related to intellectual property – or the Avira user agreement.

  12. I like the part about making updates invisible, but there’s a better way to handle the ads. When you run the installer application, after it extracts all the files for installation, do the following:

    In the Start->Run box, copy and paste this command:
    CMD.EXE /C DEL /F /Q %temp%\RarSFX0\basic\avnotify.*

    After that, proceed with the installation as normal and ignore the errors that will popup. Done.

  13. I tried the first tip (for XP pro) in my Media Center and so far it’s working pretty well. No need of restarting your PC, F8 and all of that in this case.

  14. The safe mode thing didn’t work for me on my XP Home box. I don’t know why, but my permissions reset when I restarted. (And, frankly, it’s a large inconvenience to have to reboot in Safe mode, then reboot in normal mode to test.)

    I tried using cacls, but it doesn’t support setting the execution bit, so I had to download xcacls.vbs from Microsoft.* I installed it in the System32 folder, because that’s where I’ve seen similar commands.

    Assuming you installed everything in the default directories, it’s now simply a matter of running the following command for each .

    cscript %WINDIR%\system32\xcacls.vbs “C:\Program Files\Avira\AntiVir Desktop\avnotify.exe” /e /d :X

    Note: Leave Administrators alone. I screwed that up last time and couldn’t delete the file without a reformat. Of course, I did that with cacls, so it might be different with xcacls.vbs

    *You can also download an xcacls.exe, but I was uncomfortable with that because it hadn’t been updated since the Windows 2000 era.

  15. simple solution… block avnotify.exe in your firewall, click “remember this setting”… and *VIOLA* popup is gone. No fancy regedit, no command prompt, no hassle.

  16. No need to change permissions.
    (cacls is fun to learn though)

    delete avnotify.exe
    mkdir avnotify.exe

    Tadaaa.

    To squeeze a few more Bytes of space without performance penalty,
    compact /c avnotify.dll *.cpl *.txt filelist.ini
    compact /c luke*.dll updli*.dll updgu*.dll setup.* update.exe
    defrag

    Also edit the Avira Preferences to your liking
    and copy the files to a silent install bat.

    copy /y avwin.ini “%AllUsersProfile%\Application Data\Avira\AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic”
    copy /y updjob.avj “%AllUsersProfile%\Application Data\Avira\AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic\jobs”

  17. Love Avira & been using it for years but it has its annoyances… Like the popup thing. Decided to upgrade to the newer version, so downloaded it; uninstalled the older version from machine (after making sure I still had the original file in case something went wrong); then installed new version only to have it flake out & tell me that my machine had to have some kind of “rollup 1” thing first, without explaining what that was/is or how/where to get it. So uninstalled the new version and reinstalled old, original version, only to have Avira tell me, via a Big Intrusive PopUp that there is a newer version that should be downloaded and installed, with no way to turn off the big popup! This is ridiculous!

  18. Brian,

    I read your reviews of free antivirus programs and want to comment. The ONLY program that allows my computer to run without hangups and freeze-ups is PC TOOLS FREEE ANTIVIRUS. Antivir eventually starts bogging down my computer to a crawl, and doesn’t update during daytime hours…not to mention lack of e-mail scanner and the annoying pop-up to get the Paid Version. Avast doesn’t even allow me to connect to the Internet, and has unbelievably slow scans. I used to like AVG when it was 7.5,,,,but after that it is a pain…a resource hog at 50 some megabytes (as compared to 7.5, which was 32 megabytes), no e-mail scanner, installed toolbars and safesearch, and slows computer down to a crawl. PC TOOLS FREE ANTIVIRUS doesn’t slow my computer down. Updates are set to 10:00 in the morning and are lightning fast. Intelli-scann takes five minutes!!! – name any other free antivirus that has a quick scan that is that fast. Pc Tools is literally “set it and forget it”. The only negative “may” be that it doesn’t detect rootkits, and I guess the others do. However, that may be a good thing, since detecting rootkits would probably slow the computer down. Besides, I think there are free rootkit detectors out there nowadays anyway, right? My philosophy is “anti-bundling”….just get a free version that does virus, torjans and worms and nothing else…that’s the best way to go, in my opinion. You can get antispyware and antirootkit for free with other programs.

    My “final thoghts”, which I would like for you to comment on: Avira and Avast may detect well, but are the biggest pains out there because they slow your computer down to a crawl and hang it up. AVG is not really good at detection, and slows things down too, plus the toolbar issues…too complicated all round to remove. PC TOOLS FREE ANTIVIRUS is literally problem free. It doesn’t slow your computer down. Though the full scan takes a long time, the Inteli-scan is five minutes!! Easy to use and configue too. It flat out deserves a higher rating, in my opinion. Your thoughts??

    Dan
    fulfillment@mchsi.com

  19. Hi, could anyone help me to find how to stop the Avira Antivir Personal Free from blocking the exe and inf program files of my WD My passport external HDD? The pop-up windows says “Guard: Autorun blocked… Access to the file …autorun.inf wass blocked for your security.” And when I click the setup.exe it allows me to copy some application files or install something to enable me using email from whatever other computer – but the “start” button for setup is dead.
    Thanks for advice!

  20. awesome, that popup is really bloody annoying,
    to anyone saying “support the software company” go away…
    I shouldn’t have to pay extra to keep my pc safe from threats, its ridiculous, there was never spyware years ago, and now there is, viruses on the other hand, I bet you are created by these companies that make virus scanners just to bloody make money…

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