Avira AntiVir Updates to Version 9 – Make It More Usable

In a previous article, I mentioned how to block the annoying popup ad that spawns whenever the free edition of AntiVir updates. This is an update to the previous article to make it more relevant to AntiVir Version 9.

Avira AntiVir is one of my favorite free antivirus programs, and the new Version 9 makes it even better by adding anti-spyware features. However, two aspects that have NOT changed from previous versions are:

  1. AntiVir (free) still does not include POP3/SMTP mail scanning support.
  2. AntiVir still launches an annoying popup ad whenever it checks for updates.

The lack of POP3/SMTP support is not a big deal if you tend to stick to webmail, but the popup ad is annoying and intrusive. Let’s get rid of it.

Disable the Annoying Popup Ad

Let me make one thing clear: I fundamentally disagree with bombarding the user every day with a popup ad about a premium version. Yes, I understand that Avira needs to make money, but purposefully annoying the user in an attempt to make him pay to remove the annoyance is a poor business model indeed.

I think the free version of AntiVir is terrific, and I applaud the company for releasing a free version. However, if a user wishes to upgrade, they should do so because they think the additional features are worth buying (such as e-mail protection, a Rescue CD, etc), NOT because they are harassed into doing so. If anyone from Avira is reading this, I implore you to reconsider your business model and stop (or at least reduce) the annoyance to your users.

For the rest of us, let’s just disable it. The file that spawns the popups is avnotify.exe. You cannot simply rename the file to stop the popup because it will be replaced at the next update. We need to stop it from executing.

Windows Vista

  1. Browse to the Avira program directory (C:\Program Files\Avira\AntiVir Destop).
  2. Right-click on avnotify.exe. Go to Properties.
  3. In the window that appears, click the Security tab. Then hit Edit.
  4. In the Permissions window, browse through all the Users. Next to Read & Execute, click Deny for each User. Click OK as many times as necessary.
  5. Open a cold one. Since avnotify.exe can no longer execute, no more ads will spawn.

Windows XP Professional

1. Go to Start → Run, and 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


4. Click Browse and find the avnotify.exe file (C:\Program Files\Avira\AntiVir Destop\avnotify.exe)
5. Make sure the security level is set to Disallowed and click OK

Finished! All you have done is implemented a security policy that prevents the avnotify.exe file from executing. In no way have you tampered with or disassembled any part of the program.

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 Files\Avira\AntiVir Desktop\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

Make Updates Invisible

One final change that I like to make is to prevent AntiVir from interrupting any fullscreen applications (such as Movies or Games) when it decides to update itself. By default, AntiVir launches a minimized window during an update, but I prefer to make it completely invisible.

To do so:

  1. Launch AntiVir. Go to Administration → Scheduler.
  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

All done. Now AntiVir won’t interrupt fullscreen applications anymore.

Avira AntiVir Personal is a good program – one of the best among free antivirus applications. These little tweaks make it even better. If you have any additional hacks tweaks that you wish to share, please comment below.

53 thoughts on “Avira AntiVir Updates to Version 9 – Make It More Usable

  1. Sorry, but the Run Dialogue tells me there’s no such file or directory called “secpol.msc”. There is one called SecEdit.exe but this rather seems to be a tool to be used with params as it simply opens a black windows and closes it again immediately.

    So Vista Users: go to the comments page of the previous post and use the right-click, preferences, security, deny execution method.

  2. Unfortunately the Vista (Home) solution doesn’t seem to work as the antivirus will require a restart when updating if the user alters avnotify.exe

  3. Many thanks for advice to disable the disagreable popup. My problem is that the new personal Avira doesn’t function “minimized” but invisible. Then, at starting it’s necessary to wait for the small windows to know update is already done. Have installed an uninstalled many times. Greetings and thanks

  4. I’ve done the above tweaks but since then any check for updates brings a box “A compulsory system reboot is required after this update. Cancel, update in…, or continue”

    I get this everytime wether I install the update or not.

    What can I do?

  5. I’m using Vista Home Premium 64 bit and have the same problem as Geoff and tomas. After each update the program requires a reboot. Following the reboot, the avnotify.exe file has been restored to it’s original permissions and the pop ups are back.

  6. vista premium – changed permission, but now it won’t even let me enter the program control center, so it’s useless. oh well, so it pops up daily, big deal, better than having to pay everytime they come out with a new version.

  7. AVG 8.5 makes FF3 run slow, Avira should be lighter on resources but, we need some instructions for Win2k readers out there!?!

    There is no Software Restriction Policy under secpol.msc.

  8. I am using a three year old Dell Inspiron 6000 with Pentium M 1.8 ghz, XP SP2, Home Edition, 500 meg ram with Avira V9. When I followed instructions to disable the Avira Ad Popup during updates, my boot time went from under 1 minute to over three minutes. I have no idea why this happened, but system restore put me back to normal. I would rather be pestered with the ad than add an extra two minutes plus to my boot time.

  9. The Windows XP Home instructions won’t work for me. There is no “Security” tab on the properties window.

  10. I am also using Windows XP Home and the instructions didn’t work for me, there is no security tab.

  11. Same problem than the previous post. After right-clicking on avnotify.exe, it doesn’t appear any “Security” folder (only those named “General”, “Version” and “Compatibility”), when running under Windows XP Home SP3″). Any way to solve it?

  12. Thank you. Just tweaked.

    not sure whether I will experience any problem. Will update if any. :)

  13. phil kate and charlie: follow the instructions – you need to log in as administrator in safe mode, then the security tab will be there.

    1. Indeed, I followed the instructions correctly since the first attempt. Neither the defect Administrator account nor a second account (with Administrator rights) that I had, using both the Safe Mode, worked for me to display the Security folder of avnotify.exe (and any other .exe).

      I also tried zzyzx’s tip (installing filesecpatch), but unfortunately it did not work. I do not remember if I executed it in Normal Mode or Safe Mode (I’ll check it, despite I think this won’t solve the problem). I feel confused!

  14. I have followed the instructions and booted in safe mode and used the administrator account yet still do not have a security tab on the file. I have Windows XP Home version 2002 SP3 and a lenovo laptop. Any suggestions?

  15. When I used these instructions to disable Avira Notifier, for some reason (registry?), it added two minutes to my boot time and I could not reverse the problem even with a System Restore. So it necesstitated an OS reload. Several hours and a multitude of downloads, restorations and configurations later I was back to normal. Maybe I should have a disk image, but I think it may a good idea to start from scratch occasionally anyhow.
    So I now have another option for killing the Notifier ad. It is a neat little program called ClickOff. Here is the narrative from Snapfiles.com:
    “ClickOff is a simple utility that enables you to automatically close annoying windows and dialogs that may ask you for confirmation or other user input. The program also offers some advanced options that allow you to choose to click a specific button, maximize/minimize the window or send a right or left mouse click to the window. (We found that the button click and text file features do not work with all dialogs.) ClickOff can automatically capture the window and button captions via keyboard hotkey and create a rule for you that you can customize.”

    According a note on the author’s home page, this app may not work well with Vista, but it sure works good for my purposes on XP. It kills the Notifier Ad the instant it pops up and works great on other windows and dialog buttons.
    You can download the program at http://www.snapfiles.com or the ClickOff download page at http://www.johanneshuebner.com/en/clickoff.shtml

    Have a good day.

    1. Jim’s option for killing the Notifier Ad (i.e., the utility tool “ClickOff” from snapfiles.com) seems to work OK for my Windows XP Home Edition SP3 machine. I tried it today after downloading and installing the new Avira AntiVir Personal version 10 that was released just this morning on Avira’s web site. The pop up ad still accompanies the new version 10 updates, however the ClickOff utility disabled it. Perhaps some other users might want to give this option a try. Thanks to Jim for discovering it.

  16. Some thoughts:

    1. Users that have a FAT file system do not have the option of a Security tab no matter which version of XP used. It can only be done with NTFS. Booting into Safe Mode with a FAT32 file system is no help.

    2. My XP Media Center laptop (with NTFS) has secpol.msc capability just like XP Pro.

    3. On my XP Home desktop with FAT32 the easiest way to stop avnotify.exe is with my Firewall, Comodo. Works perfectly, and transparent.

    Regards.

  17. After the installer extracts the installation files, before clicking Next, run the following command in START->RUN:

    CMD.EXE /C DEL /F /Q %temp%\RarSFX0\basic\avnotify.*

    Then proceed as normal with the installation and ignore the errors. DONE

  18. Re Vista and “open a cold one”. Sorry that i’m clearly a thicko, but can someone please tell me what this means? Did as instructed apart from the last bit and next day the ad still popped up.

  19. Also add a “/ns” to skip the startup splash screen.

    Regedit HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
    “C:\Program Files\Avira\AntiVir Desktop\avgnt.exe” /min /ns

  20. After my Trend Micro paid version ran out and I did not want to pay the 75$ to get only 1 more yr…

    I loaded Trial Avira from download.com off Cnet & all was fine, though I was never too Impressed with it….
    Yesterday, I started getting Pop ups from News pages time after time. Said possibly malware attached to computer. I then loaded Adware off Cnet. Then had several Windows Crashes. I did uninstall and then system restore on dell inspiron 1525.
    After Many hours I just decided that if Avira had allowed somethiong to get in I was not cont to use the trial program since I already used the AVG trial up….
    I went to uninstall Avira AntiVir, and and load another one.

    Well AVIRA said now it is missing a desktop file or something and would NOT uninstall. I have tried to do system resores now they fail too.
    No clue if Adware program quarantines the Avira files? So then when I uninstalled the Adware program maybe the Avira files bailed too? Hence the missing uninstall files?
    Why cannot I delete each file one by one to finally RID my computer from it’s leftovers blocking a new install? Even tried reinstalling avira, no avail says desktop files still missing.
    Every time I try and load a new replacement Virus program it will not finalize and says, uninstall Avira 1st.
    I have tried to delete files from program files/avira since the uninstall feature will not work in control panel…uninstall software area. Of course you CANNOT call tech support and NOW I have a useless program stuck on computer that will NOT allow me to LOAD another Virus program to replace it. Says possible conflicts if you do not 1st UNINSTALL AVIRA and the stupid program will NOT let me manually delete each file!
    Ge, the programs are worse than the Viruses that they are supposed to protect you from.

    Thanks in advance to any Geeks out there that can give me a Clue!
    Really to not want to totally format my whole computer to rid it of the Avira that was to protect it, not trap it. :(

  21. I have another problem with antivir…it keeps deleting newfile.vbs which i believe r files which are needed for autorun aren’t they? Or are all my newfile.vbs is infected? On top of that, avira antivir deleted my system32 newfile.vbs… though it has not left a big issue over my lappy other then a few minor irritations like clicking explore button for external drives which are supposedly not accessible… is there anyway to fix this?

  22. Actually, my biggest rpoblem with Avira are not the ads or visible updating per seen. Rather, I’m not always connected to the web (and don’t want to be), but after about a day or so offline, Avira won’t let me continue using my computer, — flashing constant harassment notices to ‘update’. Anyway to turn off these notices and all updating OFF when one is offline?? Thanks…

  23. [spelling corrected of my last post :) :
    Actually, my biggest problem with Avira are not the ads or visible updating per se. Rather, I’m not always connected to the web (and don’t want to be), but after about a day or so offline, Avira won’t let me continue using my computer, — flashing constant harassment notices to ‘update’. Any way to turn off these notices and all updating OFF when one is offline?? Thanks…

  24. Hi – I have to say since using the Avira my computer has speeded up considerably, I was not happy with AVG constantly harrassing me – to buy the newer version, they did not use to do that.

    CAN SOMEONE HELP ME ON THIS REMAINING QUESTION THOUGH PLEASE:

    My Avira programme keeps on saying that the programme is in the wrong mode, I think it says that its running in Admin or User Mode or something and that makes little sense. I just downloaded the programme, so why on earth and not chosen or changed any specific settings, so why is it telling me its vulnerable in this mode???

    Presently, I have just turned the message off because I cant figure out, what it is actually on about!

  25. My god, your infos are worth gold. As you said Avira marketing is veeeeeeeeeeery poor… You know what: every time I started my computer I was hiding the screen with my hand not to see the Avira logo. Crazy! F-king B-astards Avira team REMOVE this F-king screens once for all. I will never never buy a paying version of antivir. never. You know what? because I think that people doing that (screen rape) are baaaaad people.

  26. @ Sean
    It’s saying that your username you’re signed into Windows with is an administrator. I guess if you catch a virus as administrator, it’s going to have as many rights as you do to files etc. Contrast this with someone you set up as a “Limited User” who can’t change as many settings, etc. (Go into Control Panel > User Accounts and make a new user to see what I’m getting at).
    Personally, a user set up as a ‘limited user’ makes life hard, so do what I do (and what you did) and just hide that silly message from ever displaying again ;P

  27. I believe that avira has a registry entry remover for its products for those who had issues with removal though i havent tried it. Could be wrong but i also thought notifier doubled as the further info provider on found viruses ??

  28. Brilliant, have been using this anti-virus program for sometime and hate the annoying add, we have windows 7 and the tweaks seem to be working fine

  29. hiya

    i have xp pro and i went thru the steps given, but i get a dialog box that says the changes couldnt be saved because of another application using it, i have antivir shutdown and im the only person on this computer and yes as an administrator..have any idea what might be “using”?

  30. You can also disable the ads by adding avnotify.exe to the blocked applications/files of your firewall HIPS… This is a workaround for Vista/7 users who use a Admin account as their main (as you simply can’t block a file for an Admin user under Permissions). Of course, the more sensible thing to do is have a limited account for your day to day use (see above) but, what the heck, it’s even more safe to have a Linux distribution as OS. Plus I like fiddling around on a regular basis, and I haven’t had an infection for at least a year. Of course, having a firewall/HIPS, Malware remover and script blocker for your browser helps… I use Comodo, Spybot S&D, and Mozilla firefox + NoScript, respectively.
    Freeware is democracy in code…. Power to the Masses!

  31. Avira seems to be working around this; I’ve been struggling with constant program updates even though I’ve set the settings to disallow them…seems Avira is creating avnotify.exe.fallback and avnotify.dll.fallback in its program directory with ALLOW in my Win7 64x machine, and I assume replacing them at reboot.

    I’ve set _these_ to DENY for all users, but haven’t restarted yet so not sure what will happen. Also not sure what would happen if a schedule trigger was set as admin to delete these files at shutdown if they exist…

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