Oops… AVG accidentally kills Windows

UPDATE: Although we did note this in AVG’s technote quoted in the bottom of this article AVG has asked us to stress that this does not affect Australian users at all — only Dutch French Italian Portuguese and Spanish users.

There’s a long held belief that Anti-Virus companies are somehow responsible for most of the world’s viruses in order to keep them in business Mafioso style. We won’t state that here as fact at APCMag.com — for a start we don’t want a visit from some heavy “lawyer”-types — but it’s undeniable that while they perform a task that’s vital for most modern computing purposes they’re about as popular as radical invasive dental surgery performed by a drunken dentist with halitosis and Tourette’s syndrome. Possibly even less so.

Of course the purpose of an AV tool is to keep your system safe… as long as nothing goes wrong. And that’s the boat that popular AV suite AVG has found itself in as an error in a database update issued recently falsely identified the user32.dll file in Windows XP as being Trojan-laden. The solution according to AVG 7.5 and 8.0 (and this apparently affected the free and paid versions)? Delete the file.

Deleting user32.dll is we hasten to add a very bad idea indeed unless your idea of an optimally working Windows XP system is one that constantly reboots itself or stops working altogether.

Before any AVG users begin panicking and running around the room screaming “I’m a teapot!” Tim Brooke-Taylor style apparently the problem only affects users running XP in Dutch French Italian Portuguese or Spanish. Chances are unless you’re reading this via BabelFish your system is safe if AVG’s official release is to be believed. Oh and Hallo Bonjour Buon giorno Ola and Hola respectively.

The official statement notes that:

“AVG is actively working to remedy the problem some users are experiencing related to the most recent update to commercial and free versions of AVG 7.5 and AVG 8.0 in some languages. A number of users who installed the update mistakenly received a warning that the Windows system file user32.dll product version 5.1.2600.3099 was infected with a Trojan virus and were prompted to delete a file essential to the operation of Windows XP.

The problem only affects users of the Dutch French Italian Portuguese and Spanish language versions of Windows XP.

AVG is taking these steps to assist users in remedying the problem:

— Immediate release of a new update to correct the problem.
— Creation of a specific informational section on the AVG website that
       enables users to resolve the problem.

Affected users should follow the weblinks below for further information
and to download the fix tool:

(1) http://www.avg.com/support/HotTopics1574 FalsePositiveuser32.dll
(2) http://www.avg.com/support/HotTopics1574 FalsePositiveuser32.dll – fix tool

Affected users unable to use their PCs should contact their AVG reseller or ask a friend to download the information and fix tool for them. After running the fix tool users should run the AVG update program to download and install the correct AVG update.

AVG sincerely regrets the inconvenience users have experienced. We are working to remedy the problem and ensure that any other potential vulnerabilities are identified and eliminated before they can impact users.”