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Author Topic: Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons  (Read 3427 times)

dr_andus

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Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons
« on: November 17, 2014, 04:09:28 AM »
After having read this,

Latest Avast reportedly deleting Firefox add-ons - gHacks Tech News

I was determined to make a note of what FF extensions I use, so I booted my PC (Win7, 64) and sure enough, Avast had deleted pretty much all of them. Bummer... I can't even remember the names of most of them.

Is there a tool out there to back up FF add-ons, to make restoring less painful? Unfortunately I haven't created a FF account, so everything was local to this PC... Would that have helped?

---

P.S. Oh, I see, one answer was in the article: MozBackup Updated, Backup Firefox - gHacks Tech News. Unfortunately Avast was quicker than me...

40hz

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Re: Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2014, 06:41:02 AM »
There also the FEBE (Firefox Environment Backup Extension) add-on. It's what I use.

dr_andus

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Re: Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2014, 07:47:33 AM »
There also the FEBE (Firefox Environment Backup Extension) add-on. It's what I use.

Thanks. Also saw it afterwards mentioned in the above article's comments, will give it a try.

As for Avast!, this was a firing offence in my book... Uninstalled it, and installing AVG Free as we speak.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2014, 01:43:33 PM »
I stopped using/endorsing Avast a few years back when it decided to just up and (FP) delete all of an accounting firms tax software one fine morning in April..

dr_andus

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Re: Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2014, 10:25:38 PM »
It looks like Avast only removed the extensions but not the actual settings of each extension (maybe FF was the clever one to keep that data somewhere safe?), so thank goodness I didn't have to reconfigure the extensions individually after I reinstalled them (the ones that I remembered that is...).

dr_andus

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Re: Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2014, 08:07:50 AM »
I stopped using/endorsing Avast a few years back when it decided to just up and (FP) delete all of an accounting firms tax software one fine morning in April..

I don't know if it was last week's MS update, or uninstalling Avast, or installing AVG, but things got royally messed up in my system.

Why I'm suspecting the MS update is because when I first went to "Programs and Features" in the control panel, I couldn't find Avast to uninstall from there or from anywhere else, and the list of programs there looked suspiciously short. But I didn't take much notice of that because I was focused on removing Avast. Eventually the only way to do it was to download their Avast Uninstall Utility and use it in Safe Mode. Then I installed AVG Free. I restarted the system a few times during the process.

The problems began when I tried to use MS Word and it started an installer for it, rather than the app. Nonetheless it ran fine eventually.

However, today I wanted to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12.5, but the installer for v. 12 launched instead and gave me an error message, not finding bits of v. 12 to install (even though I already upgraded to v. 12.5 a while ago). Then I noticed that all the Dragon shortcuts have been renamed to v. 12, and v. 12.5 has effectively disappeared from my system, while v. 12 refuses to run or install.

Then I went back to "Programs and Features" in the control panel and now I can see that a vast number of programs (which otherwise still seem to be installed on my system) do not show up there (e.g. Scrivener, or, indeed, Dragon).

Potentially there could be other programs whose updates may have been uninstalled. It's almost like the Avast uninstall (or the MS update) have reset my system to an earlier state.

Anyway, it looks like I have to reinstall Dragon 12 from scratch, and then update to 12.5 again, if Nuance lets me... What a drag... Does anyone understand what may have just happened here?

dr_andus

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Re: Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2014, 08:20:42 AM »
However, today I wanted to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12.5, but the installer for v. 12 launched instead and gave me an error message, not finding bits of v. 12 to install (even though I already upgraded to v. 12.5 a while ago). Then I noticed that all the Dragon shortcuts have been renamed to v. 12, and v. 12.5 has effectively disappeared from my system, while v. 12 refuses to run or install.

OK, correction: it looks like DNS12.5 is still installed on my system, however all the shortcuts to it have been removed and replaced with shortcuts to the no longer existing DNS12 on my system, hence triggering the installation process.

I'm suspecting that Avast's removal tool may have had something to do with this?

Anyway, this particular problem with DNS has now been solved.

tomos

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Re: Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2014, 08:24:58 AM »
Wrote this below, but you seem to have solved the problem (?)

Personally didnt have any problems with the recent MS updates (Win7), but probably worth doing a search about it.
Maybe doing a system restore would be easier than all this reinstalling?
And installing the MS updates one by one (oh the joy!).

Re uninstalling anti-virus, it's probably always best that one use their dedicated uninstall utility. I guess the idea is that they dont want anyone e.g. a virus, to be easily able to uninstall/remove their software.
Tom

dr_andus

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Re: Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2014, 08:52:47 AM »
Wrote this below, but you seem to have solved the problem (?)

Thanks. I did solve the DNS problem, which was the most pressing one at the moment.

But I still don't know why some of my programs are missing from the "Programs and Features" in the control panel, and what the consequences of that (if any) are. Should I be worried about that? Scrivener and Dragon seem to run as they should, so does it matter that they are no longer listed in P&F?

tomos

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Re: Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2014, 09:00:23 AM »
But I still don't know why some of my programs are missing from the "Programs and Features" in the control panel, and what the consequences of that (if any) are. Should I be worried about that? Scrivener and Dragon seem to run as they should, so does it matter that they are no longer listed in P&F?

I'm no expert there (anyone else got an idea/opinion?)

  • Does the problem persist after rebooting?
  • Do they show up in an alternative uninstaller? (e.g. Revo, or MyUninstaller from nirsoft)
Tom

dr_andus

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Re: Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2014, 10:06:29 AM »
  • Does the problem persist after rebooting?
  • Do they show up in an alternative uninstaller? (e.g. Revo, or MyUninstaller from nirsoft)

I can't reboot just now but MyUninstaller is not showing the missing apps (Scrivener, Dragon, PDF-Xchange Viewer) either, even though they are installed and functioning. Maybe it's not a massive number of apps missing, but it's hard to tell how many. I will probably discover as I go along.

What may be common to those 3 apps is that they have all been upgraded at one point or a related product was added, e.g. Dragon from 12 to 12.5 or Xchange Viewer to Editor. Just speculating...

Mike.S

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Re: Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2014, 12:10:20 PM »
Unfortunatly many programs have episodes of complete failure causing the user major grief and heartache, Avast, MS, even AVG has done this. Many moons ago I was a happy AVG user, had it setup to only list files it deemed suspicious, leave everything alone, simply present me with a list, this worked great for a long time until that one fateful update. I was complacent, didn't pay attention and failed to notice that the most recent update AVG applied had reset my settings to default which was to simply delete files it deemed were malicious.

I'd spent years creating my own self-extracting exes, archives with all sorts of important data, AVG swept thru my drive deleting every one of them without word one. I didn't even notice for a few days. I have a habit of creating a .sha1 file for each archive, it was a day or 2 later I noticed I had folders with nothing but a .sha1 checksum - where's the associated archive - gone. I really wanted to cry when I opened the AVG log and saw the long list of suspicious files deleted.

I'm the only one to blame I suppose, I guess I could have tried to retrieve the files with software, I didn't. I'm kinda of the opinion I need one computer that has internet access, and one that never leaves the house - no firewall turned on, no Avast, no AVG, no modem, no wireless, only those needed OS updates manually installed, all files installed are fully vetted from the source PC before they're moved. I had a WinXP multimedia workstation I built solely for digital recording, ripping audio/video from CD/DVD, etc. This box lasted about 89000 hours, about 9 1/2 yrs actually - virtually no issues, never a virus, blue screen, mostly at times I pushed it beyond the ability of the very modest AMD processor.

I'm building a modest (for our modern times) mATX box now for a similiar purpose, my new laptop will be the only PC connecting to the outside world. I do realize this isn't ideal for many folks, especially for online gamers and so on, but it can work for some people, it does for me. Oh, I don't share, there is only one(1) PC that everyone in my family can use, and they each have their own, my workstation and my laptop are just that - mine :P

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2014, 04:33:23 PM »

I might be wrong because this is so long since then, but I wonder if the old Norton GoBack could have fixed this. I vaguely remember it could be set "hard" to recover darn near everything, certainly files. I had that on a Win2000 comp back in the day.

Then I think I recall that when I tried to put it on WinXP, MS's own "restore" function fought Norton, leaving the "grass of the comp" basically hosed when the elephants were done fighting. I think it almost failed to boot at all except I think I weaseled around it in safe mode.

I thought Anti-Virus programs were supposed to "quarantine" programs and you could restore them later. I don't recall ever using one that randomly deleted important stuff I had without issuing a report of "The following X files were tagged to take action. Do A, B, or C."


dr_andus

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Re: Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2014, 05:38:40 PM »
Here's what the Avast folks had to say for themselves in a comment at gHacks Tech News

Quote
lukor (Avast team):
Hi guys,
thanks to all for the information posted. We have been able to identify the problem now. Browser Cleanup is responsible for this issue. A bug in the component calculating hashes of the extension packages cause (only in some rare cases) deletion of the wrong file - the original instead the packed one.

Sorry for that and thanks again for your help obtaining the repro steps for us.

The Browser Cleanup team is now working on a fix, which will be delivered via a VPS update shortly (tomorrow).

Sadly that's a bit too late for me.

hamradio

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Re: Latest Avast deleting Firefox add-ons
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2014, 06:39:08 PM »
That was one of the first tools I made sure didn't exist as soon as it came out.  So that's why I didn't have the issue...
Carroll - HamRadioUSA.net