Saturday, June 28, 2008

AVG Free v 8 SP1 and More LinkScanner Details

First things, first.

The AVG Free v 8.0 SP1 Watch Continues…

I, like many other hard-core (boneheaded?) AVG Free version 8 users are holding out hope against hope that the upcoming AVG Free version 8.0 “Service Pack 1” release will help resolve many of the issues we have been railing against, including among other things

  • Improved performance,
  • Cleanup of the AVG system-tray icon for user-disabled modules (no ugly icon!),
  • Ability to optionally not-install the LinkScanner component,
  • Maybe show that a scan is in progress by changing the system tray icon like in version 7.5,
  • A more useful right-click menu to the system-tray icon for AVG v 8.

Customer’s of the paid version of AVG version 8.0 did see release and upgrade of their software to this so-called “SP1” version this past week.

This SP1 version is being listed as 8.0.131. So that is likely the release version free users need to be keeping an eye out for as well.

We now have semi-exciting word from the AVG Free Forums from AVG team-member “michaelhd”:


Posted by: michaelhd - AVG Team (IP Logged)

Date: June 24, 2008 09:18AM

AVG Free SP1 is due for release in the next few weeks (mid july or earlier).
It will be a standard update to existing AVG Free 8.0 installation - no need to install new build.

It will have option in custom install screen to de-select the linkscanner component.

We hope that this new option gives our valued customers the "choice" that they have requested. Those who have experienced genuine problems with web surfing speed can de-select the linkscanner.

However the default "standard installation" will continue to install this valuable security tool to protect users while they surf.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 06/24/08 08:15PM by BIG AL 43.

Certainly that is good news, especially the ability to “deselect the linkscanner.”  Note however,  michaelhd clearly mentions that it will continue to be installed by default.


If posters to this Wilders Security Forums thread are accurate the new AVG Free 8.0 SP1 version will bring the following additional enhancements and features:

Fixes and Improvements included in this update:
- Remake of internal communication to eliminate undesired program status appearance (hibernation, sleep mode, cold restart, ...).
- Display of the system tray icon representing running scan (that can be paused or stopped from the context menu).
- Added option to ignore the status of a component: the system tray icon then reports OK status even if a component is in error status.
- New tab added for the rootkit findings in the scan results overview.
- System restore point is created before launching a program update.
- Added new option verifying the ADMIN Server connection in the program's advanced settings.
- Improved EML file processing including scanning of user mailboxes.
- RAM requirements optimization.
- Improved statistics of detected objects in Email Scanner and resident Shield.
- New design of the system tray pop-up window, and more information provided.
- To eliminate AVG collisions with OS, only minimum drivers are installed in safe mode; then it is possible to launch on-demand scanning from the command line only, and a new GUI dialog has been added to ease the scan configuration.
- Added option of restoring a file from the Virus Vault to the original folder even if the folder has been removed.
- Added option of deleting the Resident Shield and Email Scanner history.
- Improved stability and design of GUI.
- Improved GUI accessibility (using keyboard).
- Fixed problem of GUI compatibility with some screereaders, e.g. JAWS.

See also: AVG 8.0.130??? - Wilders Security Forums

My advice here is if you are still using AVG Free version 7.5, stick with it a bit longer until this new AVG Free version 8.0 “SP1” build comes out and has been reviewed at large. If things look good after that point, make the jump to upgrade.  If not, stick with AVG Free 7.5 for a bit longer or until AVG Free version 8.0 “SP 3" comes out or you find another freeware A/V solution.

Special thanks to DougCuk and Ron Schenone for their ongoing work giving me tips pointing to these AVG Free 8.0 nuggets.

AVG’s LinkScanner Continues to Frustrate and Morph

As reported in this post - AVG disguises fake traffic as IE6 | The Register – AVG Technologies continues to tweak its beloved/despised LinkScanner component.

To refresh, this “feature” pre-checks links as you browse to them in your web-browser for malware and other web-ilk. Great idea in theory.  Seeing as IE, Firefox 3.0, and Opera 9.5 already have a similar feature embedded in them to varying degrees, makes perfect sense for AVG to load-down your pc with even more web-security protection.  I can think of several good images but let’s keep the discussion family-friendly.

As AVG Free has hereto-with been a very popular anti-virus solution and loaded on bazillons of pc’s, and seeing how many of these users have already upgraded to version 8.0 and not done the fancy-pantsy CLI “stripped” version install, the Interwebs are now full of AVG’s additional LinkScanner traffic.

The first versions of LinkScanner registered their “pre-visit” click-through event scans as the unique user agent "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1;1813)."

Clever folks like the guy over at OSBlues figured out quickly how to filter out that cosmic-noise from web-master logs.  Goodness knows it was giving them fits up to that point.

Now it appears that AVG has jiggered LinkScanner to now also report clicks under the following additional user agents:

Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1)

User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1)

User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1;1813)

According to OSBlues, this actually is the same agent profile used by LinkScanner products before they were bought out by AVG Technologies (Grisoft).

Yikes! Sort some of those out between “real” and “AVG bot” clicks.  Good luck.

That Register article’s Comments on ‘AVG disguises fake traffic as IE6’ are filled with quite a few good perspectives.

OSBlues has also confirmed that AVG says that LinkScanner does at least NOT click Google AdWords. Not clear that other such pay-per-click providers are also spared this noise.

Bonus AVG Links

Here is a quick link to an AVG 8.0 HOT TOPICS FAQ with some useful product information including (currently) the following topics:

  • Updating your AVG to the latest version
  • How to install AVG 8.0 over AVG 7.x or AVG Free
  • LinkScanner - what is it?
  • AVG uses too much memory and slows down computer
  • AVG Security Toolbar - what is it?
  • Slow opening of websites on Windows Vista
  • AVG Toolbar error in Mozilla Firefox

And this AVG 8.0 NEWS FAQ link repeats those and currently provides other new ones:

  • Gaming mode
  • How to migrate AVG Admin 7.5 to AVG 8.0 Remote Administration
  • AVG Security Toolbar - how to delete history
  • How to disable AVG temporarily
  • AVG 7.x to AVG 8.0 reinstallation process was aborted. What to do now?

Finally, in one of those this an answer to my speculation as to maybe not wanting to do a clean-install/upgrade of AVG 7.5 to AVG 8.0 in order to preserve some preferences was found.

It is not possible to automatically transfer your settings from AVG 7.5 to AVG 8.0, due to major changes in the program function. In case you are using AVG Firewall, only basic rules will be copied to the new AVG 8.0 Firewall configuration.

So armed with that information, I still personally recommend first uninstalling AVG Free 7.5 first, rebooting, then installing the AVG Free 8.0 version next.  But an “in-place” upgrade should work without issue.



DougCuk said...

The long awaited SP1 update appears to have arrived for AVG 8 Free. A new build was just posted on the AVG Free update servers - 8.0.135
Download here:

Claus Valca said...

@ DougCuk - Good news! I'll be taking a close look at it tonight.

Thanks for the tip-off!


Claus Valca said...

@ DougCuk - Yes. Confirmed! AVG 8.0 FREE EDITION (8.0.135 - SP1) - AFG Free Forums notice post.

DougCuk said...

You wait a month for one program update and then two come along - just like buses.

Program update AVG Free 8.0.138
Fixed Bugs:
Fixed problem with link scanning if "base" tag is presented in a web page. Also it should reduce traffic when LinkScanner is active.,122423

Claus Valca said...

@ DougCuk - Yeah. I know. It's a bit anti-climatic.

On the other hand, I'm glad they are continuing to make refinements.

I've got at least one or two posts on AVG Free v8 left.

Then I think I might take an AVG Free vacation for a few weeks.


I have decided that despite all this unneeded drama from AVG that I'm keeping it. The reason why?

Coming soon in one of those posts....