AVG update crashes PC, how to restart Windows after avgidseh.sys error

avg-error-startup-problem-windows-not-booting

Manifesting as an avgidseh.sys error, one of the AVG updates has proven to be a problem for several PC setups recently. It seems more prevalent on Windows 7 64 bit setups but also affects many other Windows systems.  Symptoms are PCs that will not boot after an AVG update, offering a Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD) on restart.
The problem is down to an AVG  system file that is loaded at boot time - most notably Windows\System32\Drivers\avgidseh.sys

The avgidseh.sys hang fix

The technical fix is to rename all files in the \Windows\System32\Drivers folder that begin with "avg" to something else. We do this by running off a boot CD/DVD/USB. Basically, any boot disk that allows file management access can do this.  Note: Safe mode will not help here.

Use a free rescue CD to rename the AVG  files

AVG offer a rescue CD that can do this as it includes Midnight Commander as a file management tool. Download it from here

Here is a video that should help you to fix your PC using AVG's solution and a spare USB pen drive or recordable CD.  You will need to do this from a working PC initially (eg. a friend's or a work computer).

Once done, restart the PC and AVG will no longer start. Now you can use your control panel's Add/Remove programs feature to completely remove AVG and reinstall it. The new updates do not appear to be affected so it should work as normal.

On many PCs, the AVG boot CD will automatically restart, even after the error has been fixed.  This is simply because you have settings that default to booting from a CD in preference to your hard drive.  In this case, you will need to remove the CD from the drive, otherwise you'll get stuck in a loop of starting up from the CD every time.  The CD is best removed by pressing the button when your PC has shut down, just before it restarts.  If you have used a USB pen drive then remove this just before restart as detailed above.

Next, do yourself a big favour, download, install and run the MalwareBytes' Antimalware program from here. This is a big one.  This will satisfy yourself that there is nothing malicious on the PC that may cause AVG to misbehave or crash. It runs quite happily alongside AVG and makes your antivirus/antispyware setup much stronger, catching things that AVG misses. I have linked to the paid version of MalwareBytes because it tracks your system in real time, keeping spyware and malicious websites away.  It is singlehandedly the best tool I recommend to run alongside AVG and is very cheap for the performance it has.

UPDATE
Since I wrote this article, there have been faults other than the update fault listed above. Although the method used above remains acceptable, AVG have modified their boot CD. See my revised avgidseh.sys boot error article  for further information and possible cures.

29 Responses to “AVG update crashes PC, how to restart Windows after avgidseh.sys error”

  1. Milo

    Top advice thanks. Had looked everywhere for a solution but yours is the best by far (and the only working one!!)

    Donation on its way

  2. RuntOfThePack

    Saved my bacon – nice one. Donated to your caffeine fund.

  3. fido456

    Wow, so many of us having the same fault, thanks for doing the article.

    Malwarebytes is very good, picked up spyware that AVG missed. Do I need to keep AVG if this is installed?

  4. PCRepairMan

    Yes, I always recommend a good antivirus and an antimalware program that happily runs alongside it. AVG and MalwareBytes complement each other.

    AVG is great at detecting viruses but MalwareBytes is streets ahead in the spyware detection stakes. For removal of an infection from a PC, nothing comes close to MalwareBytes.

  5. kelly

    I am currently having this issue with my Inspiron 1545 Vista. My laptop crashed just two days ago so apparently this issue is not fixed with AVG updates. I am so mad though, I would be 110% apprehensive of dl’ing that program again. Unfortunately.

  6. kelly

    One question though, how is one supposed to load/extract this rescue zip if the desktop is inaccessible?
    Thanks

  7. Dan

    Just one word.. amazing. I thought there would be no fix. Thanks a lot man, this worked PERFECTLY. Thank you!

  8. mark

    Boot hangs at Windows\System32\Drivers\avgidseh.sys
    use midnight commander to browse to that directory and no such file is listed? The only avg files I find are in \program files\avg\avg 10 and even then no avgidseh.sys

    any thoughts?

  9. PCRepairMan

    Well I guess it could be sitting on a corrupt sector of the hard drive but more than likely it’s in a different place. I would suggest you look here for the file as I have seen it in this location too:

    C:\Windows\SysWoW64\Drivers\

    This folder contains all the 32 bit binary files for compatibility on 64 bit systems.

    From memory, pressing Alt and ? will invoke a search in Midnight Commander so you should find that file regardless. Let me know if you find it.

  10. James

    Assuming this file is sitting on a corrupt sector of the hard drive and can not be located using Midnight Comm. what other options would be available?

    • PCRepairMan

      James, my preferred method would be to boot from a CD such as Ultimate Boot CD 4 Windows (UBCD4WIN). Once in there, run a check disk. It will go through the 5 stage test. Allow up to 2 hours for this although it could be quicker. You can then fire up one of UBCD4WIN’s included file explorers such as A43 and look for the avg files, renaming as mentioned above.

      The file explorers in UBCD4WIN are less overwhelming for non-techies than Midnight Commander although the end result is the same.

      If you want to go down the route of fixing a drive using the Microsoft CD ROM then take a look at this article:
      Fixing a corrupt hard drive using chkdsk from the recovery console

  11. Tom

    I followed every step. My results matched those in the video up until near the end of the video where it says “Press any key to fix the issue, and then press any key to restart the computer”…my computer didn’t dispaly any option to press a key etc. Instead I was presented with a blue screen titled “AVG Rescue CD” with a “Main Menu” in the middle of it. The menu that included options like Scan, Scan Result, Update, Database, Vault, Utilities, etc. I tried the Reboot menu option and it just re-booted the PC brought me back to this same menu.

    How do I get to where Windows opens up and I can remove AVG etc? Thanks.

    • PCRepairMan

      Hi Tom. In the latest iteration of the AVG boot CD, the computer will automatically restart after the error has been fixed. You will need to remove the CD from the CD drive on many PCs, otherwise you’ll get stuck in a loop of starting up from the CD every time. This is best removed by pressing the button when your PC has shut down, just before it restarts.

  12. hkarthi

    Hey,

    thanks a lot for your help. You blog post was a God send. One thing happened a bit differently. After my system got into the ‘loop’ of restarting and getting stuck on AVG.sys file, I renamed them as instructed in your blog. But even after a couple of restarts, it didn’t work. I then tried out the AVG rescue CD option. Again, no dice. The AVG rescue option didn’t turn on, but it it get me to Windows but now network was not working. Then when I went into my network settings I found AVG network filter driver. I don’t remember seeing this option before. So I unchecked it and tried again. Voila! the network works now. But now I am afraid to update AVG because I could get into a similar problem but this time I can get stuck on this. What should I do? Re-install AVG or just update it?

    Thanks again for this blog post.

    • PCRepairMan

      You are most welcome, glad it helped you. The network filter driver can be quite stubborn, well done for spotting that one.

      If you were happy with AVG then reinstalling is an option, although I have seen quite a few reinstalls trip over immediately afterwards. I would ensure that you create a restore point now while the PC works fine. That way you can more easily ‘roll back’ to this point in time.

      I personally use Kaspersky Internet Security, which works out inexpensive if you use my Cheap Kaspersky method here. The difference is that this is a full security product, not just an antivirus.

  13. Susan

    Hey I want to let you know that the video has that “press any key” stuff, and it wasn’t in my version of the cleanup file. It just sort of hung and froze 99% of the way through the clean-up.

    The good news it, after restarting my computer and selecting to “start windows normally”, it worked!

    Thank you for the help.

  14. Rob

    Please help. I’m so lucky to have found this site. I’m close to solving my problem but I have run into a snag.

    So I started following the process of downloading a rescue CD on a USB flash drive and the part I’m getting stuck at is around the 1:46 minute mark of the Youtube clip above.

    The Boot Menu on my PC does not have “Removable Device” as an option. My Boot Menu options are: Floppy, LS120, Hard Disk, CDROM, Zip, USB-FDD, USB-Zip, USB-CDROM, USB-HDD, Legacy Lan.

    I’ve tried choosing just about all of the USB devices listed and each time I hit Enter, the Windows XP splash screen appears and the little blue scroll bar scrolls across and then the screen goes black just as it did before from when I first encountered this problem 4 days ago. And so I never get to the Rescue CD Boot Menu as mentioned at 1:59 in the Youtube video. So close yet so far away.

    I also went into BIOS and changed the boot order to match the Boot Menu, but no luck. But upon further reading of my motherboard user’s manual this is not even necessary as that is the very purpose of the Boot Menu – to be able to skip BIOS and choose a first boot device without having to enter it in BIOS.

    Any ideas?
    Much appreciated.

    • PCRepairMan

      Hi Rob. Firstly, select USB-HDD as an option, this should be the correct one to start the boot sequence on your PC. If this doesn’t work then I would suggest that your USB pen drive is not bootable (eg something has gone wrong with the writing of the USB). By default it then tries the next bootable device which is your hard drive, hence the Windows startup you can see.

      In your case I would recommend using a CD to boot from instead. Change the boot order to “CDROM”, then “Hard disk”. You can use the AVG CD or my personal favourite is UBCD4Win which allows full access to many features such as a graphical file explorer. If you boot with your USB key in you can also format it and copy files over to it as a backup.

  15. Rob

    Ok, quick update. PCRepairman, I simply can’t boot from my USB device. So as I was burning an ISO of the UBCD on my laptop, I also decided to try to re-boot my PC into Safe Mode. I attempted this the last few days, but only got to the list of files when it hung up on the last file we know as Windows\System32\Drivers\avgidseh.sys

    However, after reading another thread today here: hxxp://forums.cnet.com/7723-19703_102-508463-1.html?tag=contentMain;posts

    I decided to just keep my PC on to see if anything would happen and sure enough after 10 minutes the screen went blue with the Windows XP splash logo shown and it also said Windows is Restarting (I’m pretty sure that’s what it said).

    Anyway, after another 10 minutes on that screen I was finally prompted to load XP into Safe Mode. I clicked on my user name and now I’ve been waiting for about 10 minutes. The screen is black with the words “Safe Mode” in all four corners and at the top center of the screen it says “Microsoft (R) Windows XP (R) (Build 2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.101209-1647….

    Okay, I’m in Safe Mode! Now what!!???

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  16. Rob

    Ok, second update. After getting all excited about getting into Safe Mode, it is painstakingly slow and literally taking between 4-8 minutes between each individual click of the mouse.

    From the run menu, I entered “msconfig” as was done by Brainphreak from the thread I listed above (Brainphreak’s post is on the second page of the thread about 3/4 of the way down)

    Anyway, I now have the System Configuration Utilty window open but have no idea where to go here. There’s a bunch of tabs at the top: General, System.INI, Win.INI, Boot.INI, Services, Startup, and Tools. On the General tab where I’m at now there are two button on the bottom – one that says Launch System Restore and the other one says Expand File.

    I have no idea what to do from here. And, I hadn’t planned on troubleshooting this until tomorrow as I am dead tired from being up last night. But, I’m at least pleased to know that I can get into Safe Mode, although it took quite some time.

    One last thing – I don’t know that I’m in Safe Mode specifically. When I hit F8 upon initial boot up and was given my choices, I selected Safe Mode with networking or something like that.

  17. Rob

    Morning update.

    So, from the System Configuration Utility window in Safe Mode I unchecked 3 AVG files under the Services tabe and 1 AVG file under the Startup tab, applied the changes, and when I rebooted I got the same damn thing as I originally started with – that is, Windows XP appears to be loading correctly and the little blue scroll bar scrolls by for about 15 seconds and then the screen just goes black and nothing else.

    I’m very confused here and frustrated to say the least. I rebooted into Safe Mode just to make sure I could get there and I can. So, I’m really baffled here.

    I did burn a UBCD but haven’t used it yet as I was really optimistic that I was about to solve this thing from doing the above.

    Again, any suggestions would be most helpful.

  18. PCRepairMan

    Rob, as in the article above, safe mode really doesn’t help much as AVG still has ‘hooks’ into the system. What you need to do is run the PC from a CD and delete or rename the AVG installation folders.
    I have done a new avgidseh.sys article that will help you here. Choose the UBCD option and run the Disk Check I advise.

  19. Rob

    Thanks PCR. I posted up on the new article. I have UBCD running but am not sure where/how to find one of the file managers to start renaming those pesky AVG files. Thanks.

  20. Von

    I had an ATA error count. What does that mean? Also, after rebooting, I still cant get to windows. :(

    • PCRepairMan

      It means that there are errors on your hard disk drive. If HDD regenerator can’t repair them it will tell you. In this case your only course of action is to backup your data and install a new hard drive.

  21. Von

    I meant, the USB I used for the AVG Rescue CD encountered that error. Also, I tried to rename all AVG folders in the program files and the .sys files in the system32 drivers but it then encountered a hang on the Mup.sys file. Any suggestions?

    • PCRepairMan

      @Von – Same thing really. You need to look at the new article here:
      Updated – how to repair avgidseh.sys and do a complete hard drive sector scan.

      I’ll close the comments on this thread as the new one has more up-to-date information.