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

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.

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.

Avgidseh.sys error when starting Windows

avgidsehSince I wrote the original avgidseh.sys fix article, there have been lots of other affected PCs that have passed through our workshop. This is not a rogue update fault now as it was back in late 2010, rather an issue that is, as yet, untrackable to a single problem. AVG are getting the blame for many bad startup errors as the users only see the last driver to load which is often AVGIDSEH.SYS. I have, however, noted that applying an AVG-specific fix works in many cases.

To resolve issues that are AVG related, follow the steps below.

Boot your PC with a boot CD. I recommend UBCD4WIN which is an excellent tool to have in your armoury for PC repair. Download the program and install onto your computer. Build an image from your Windows XP CD (required). If you don’t have a Windows XP disc then you can download the AVG boot disc from here. Please make reference to my original avgidseh.sys fix article for creation and method. Use my updated folder renaming fix listed below in both cases.

What we shall be doing is renaming the AVG folders so they are not loaded on startup. For UBCD4Win, start the computer with the disc inserted and boot from it. This may involve changing the boot order that your PC or laptop uses. Once we have a new ‘environment’ – that is the computer is running from the CD – then we can start a file explorer such as A43, Agent Ransack, Xplorer2 or Free Commander. This will give us access to the files on the hard drive. Folders to rename are as follows:

Windows XP and 2000 (Note: Later AVG versions do not run on Windows 2000 so forget a reinstall afterwards!)

  1. C:\Program Files\AVG  –  This is also named C:\Program files(x86)\AVG  when you have a 64bit operating system
  2. C:\Documents and settings\All users\Application data\AVG8
  3. C:\Documents and settings\All users\Application data\AVG9
  4. C:\Documents and settings\All users\Application data\AVG10

Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10

  1. C:\Program Files\AVG  –  This is also named C:\Program files(x86)\AVG  when you have a 64bit operating system
  2. C:\ProgramData\AVG8
  3. C:\ProgramData\AVG9
  4. C:\ProgramData\AVG10
  5. C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\AVG8
  6. C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\AVG9
  7. C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\AVG10


rename C:\Program Files\AVG to C:\Program Files\OLDAVG

Once renamed, they will no longer load on startup.

Avgidseh.sys is not the only possible cause…

Now I like to run a CHKDSK while still in this ‘running from cd’ environment as it fixes any errors on the hard drive. These are often caused by the PC being shut down while writing to the drive and can also be the main reason the computer failed to start, don’t always blame AVG because the avgidseh.sys driver was the last thing to load! In UBCD4Win we would run Disk Check which does a full scan and repair of the sectors on the hard drive. Just fire it up, tell it your target drive (usually c:) and let it run. Have a cuppa as this takes a while.

The professional method

If you want to do a complete scan and repair of your disk using a professional repair tool that we use in our workshop and lab, you should investigate HDD Regenerator. We have carried out a full review of HDD Regenerator here. It has fixed the majority of the faulty drives we see that cause constant ‘looping’ of the Windows boot procedure and it’s in daily use in our workshop. It’s not too expensive and is a better solution than the free methods we list above for many people as it is much easier to use. It also blows CHKDSK into the weeds for being able to recover data and salvage your hard drive. Where CHKDSK marks the sector as bad, HDDRegenerator actually recovers the data from it and moves it to a new, good sector. As mentioned, this tool isn’t free (it does give you a free trial) but you can buy it once and fix as many drives as you want with it. It also creates a simple to use bootable USB drive or CD/DVD disk for you. Any self-respecting PC geek or computer repair shop shouldn’t be without it in the toolkit.

Check out HDDRegen here

As mentioned in other articles, despite AVG being a capable free antivirus, I heartily recommend the brilliant Kaspersky Pure as a set and forget internet security solution. Here is my method to get the cheapest Kaspersky Total Security and be fully protected against viruses and malware.

Finally, let me know by commenting below if this avgidseh.sys fix works for you and please leave any other information you can share with the community.

Kaspersky Internet Security licence renewal instructions

These are the instructions to follow when renewing the licence on Kaspersky Internet Security. I’ll presume that you have a new licence key to hand from a recent version and that the product is the same (eg not Kaspersky Pure etc). If you don’t have a new licence yet, you’ll find them for sale at discounted prices here [Hint: search for ‘kaspersky internet security 3 user’ or however many computers you need to protect]

You can buy the new licence in advance of your current product expiring, but you don’t need to wait until the existing licence has expired to install it any more. Kaspersky now seems to add on the remaining days from your current licence to your new licence, providing the product is the same.

First, open Kaspersky. The quickest way is to double click the icon in your system tray (bottom right of your desktop screen). If you can’t see it there, use the little arrow on the left to expand the icons and find it. It’s a red letter K like this one below:





Now, look in the bottom right of the Kaspersky window and click on ‘License: xx days remaining’ (where xx is your actual days remaining).





Now click on the ‘Enter activation code’ button.






Finally, type in your activation code, or copy and paste it if you received it by email. Be careful to get EXACTLY the right code as some letters do look similar! You can copy and paste the whole of the new licence key into the first entry field, it will separate them for you.






Press the ‘Save activation code’ button and you’re done. Give the PC a restart, open Kaspersky again and you should be able to see your licence has the correct amount of days remaining.

I sell full versions in my shop here at discounted prices that are often much cheaper than renewal. Grab the code from those and you won’t need to install anything, just follow the method above.


Lowest prices on Norton Antivirus renewals

cheap norton security discountBeing asked often about where to find the lowest priced Norton Antivirus renewal made me come up with this article. Symantec offer a renewal by credit card that is often too pricey for most people. With Norton Anti-virus being a capable product, it’s a shame to uninstall it so here are a few tips to get a new and fully licensed program at a much reduced price. And there’s nothing illegal about it!

You don’t have to uninstall your current product, simply buy another package (at much less than the price to renew your licence!) from our software shop which will open in a new window for you. When you open it up, use the serial number you find inside. Type this into your existing product and you’ll get another 12 months of updates (or more if you buy a 2 year package).

Remember to match the amount of user licences you have, eg if you have 3 PCs buy a 3-user licence.

Not got Norton Antivirus? Click here for the cheapest Norton Internet Security renewal or click here for the cheapest Norton 360 renewal

Don’t forget to ‘Tweet’ or Facebook ‘like’ this article if it saved you some cash! or tell your friends about our low-priced software shop

Cheapest Norton 360 renewal

cheap norton security discountI’m frequently asked by customers how to get the cheapest renewal price on Norton 360.  Symantec’s renewal price is really one of the highest for any Internet Security product.  It is a capable package though and worth keeping on your PC. The best way by far is to purchase a new fully licensed program at a reduced price and install that. Nothing underhand, just a new product at a price much lower than Norton currently quote for renewal.

The beauty of this is that you don’t have to uninstall your current product if it is the same ‘family’ as the one you are installing, simply match the product family. For example, if you have Norton Security, get a Norton Security package with any version number as they all qualify for Norton’s free upgrade to the latest version anyway! If you have the older Norton 360 then get Norton Security and uninstall Norton 360 first.

Do Norton really offer a free upgrade?

Yes, most versions of Norton qualify for a free upgrade to the latest version in that product family. If you download the latest installation program, Norton will auto-detect and remove your older version and then install the newer one too, making it even simpler to install.

Please note

You can change to another security software at this point. From doing lots of virus clean-up work and labs testing, I would recommend uninstalling the Norton product and installing my preferred security suite and consistent labs test winner Kaspersky Total Security. Norton is quite capable but Kaspersky definitely has the edge on speed and low resource usage.

A word of warning. Norton products such as Norton 360, Norton Internet Security and Norton Antivirus are now retired in favour of “Norton Security” and “Norton Security with Backup”. Confused? This article explains more: New Norton product family (opens in a new window).

So to recap, if your Norton 360 has expired, then take a look in my software shop (opens in a new tab) and buy either a Norton or Kaspersky product at prices cheaper than Symantec’s renewal rates. If you want to upgrade to another software product (such as Kaspersky) then simply uninstall the existing Norton software, restart the computer and then install the Kaspersky product.

Don’t forget to ‘Tweet’ or Facebook ‘like’ this article if it saved you some cash!

Shop for Norton products now

Kaspersky Pure replaced by Total Security

Since I am getting a lot of questions on where Kaspersky Pure has gone and how to upgrade, I’ll try to clarify a few things. Yes, the main Kaspersky.com website has now dropped Pure as a product, seemingly without notification. The localized websites (such as .co.uk etc) have followed too. It seems that Kaspersky Pure has been phased out in favour of ‘Total Security’. There are a lot of Pure installation CDs out there so what to do?

OK, so here comes the terminology first:

  • KTS stands for Kaspersky Total Security
  • KIS stands for Kaspersky Internet Security
  • KAV stands for Kaspersky Anti-Virus
  • Changing from one installed product to another is called ‘migrating’

If you have an active or expired Kaspersky PURE 2.0 or 3.0 license, you have special options of migrating to Kaspersky Total Security. You can also migrate to Kaspersky Total Security from Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Anti-Virus or vice-versa.

Who can’t upgrade to Kaspersky Total Security?

Note that free migration to Kaspersky Total Security is not possible for the oldest versions of Pure. These were the original ‘version 1’ programs but are called:

Kaspersky PURE
Kaspersky PURE R2 (note that this is NOT the same as Kaspersky Pure 2.0)

They can’t be upgraded because their activation codes are incompatible with Kaspersky Total Security.

Now we know what versions can’t be upgraded, let’s upgrade those that can…

Free upgrades to Total Security

Successful upgrading depends on the current status of your license:

  • If you have an active licence for Kaspersky PURE 2.0 or Kaspersky PURE 3.0, you can simply use your current activation code for migration (upgrading) to Kaspersky Total Security.
  • If your license for Kaspersky PURE 2.0 or Kaspersky PURE 3.0 has expired, you can visit my shop here to buy Total Security at a cheaper price than renewal, then install it which migrates the licence for you automatically.

Migrating the Pure licence key to Total security

If you have Kaspersky PURE 2.0 or Kaspersky PURE 3.0 installed on your computer, do the following to upgrade to Kaspersky Total Security:

Download the Total Security package here (opens in a new window for you). This is what you should see:

kaspersky download total security

Grab the top one in my screenshot above, Total Security, and download it. Now we have 2 options, either installing over the top of Pure or removing Pure and installing your downloaded KTS. I have listed both below:

Option 1 – Install Kaspersky Total Security without removing Kaspersky PURE

When you install Kaspersky Total Security on top of Kaspersky PURE 2.0 or Kaspersky PURE 3.0, the following data is preserved:

  • License information
  • Quarantined objects
  • Product settings (config settings including Backup tasks)
  • Encrypted containers (including all data)
  • Password Manager databases for all user accounts. All data that was available when working with Password Manager, such as passwords to programs and accounts, identities, notes, etc.
  • Anti-Spam databases (if the Anti-Spam component was previously used)
  • Backup stores

This makes it the easier option for most users. If you are not experiencing any issues with Pure then do this. If you have slowdown issues, configuration problems or just want a fresh install (which is always nicer) then jump to Option 2 below.

Screenshots of the installation process when installing over Kaspersky Pure:




This took about 3 minutes for us to complete including the restart, just accept the defaults.

Option 2 – Install Kaspersky Total Security, removing Kaspersky PURE first

CAVEAT – You must have your licence key available which can be found on the card inside the product case.

CAVEAT 2 – You will lose any saved passwords in the Kaspersky Password Manager. Not everyone uses this and it won’t affect other password managers such as LastPass, Roboform, Keepass etc.

CAVEAT 3 – You will lose any quarantined files, backup stores, encrypted containers and spam databases (if used) which are again specific to Kaspersky Pure

  • Fully uninstall Kaspersky Pure via your control panel.
  • Reboot your PC
  • Install Total Internet Security from the file you downloaded earlier or from a packaged CD

If you have never installed a program before, here is some help how to do it:


I hope that this helps answer your questions on installation, upgrading and compatibility. Kaspersky remains the most effective of all the antivirus and Internet security suites that we have tested in our workshop and Total Security is a worthy replacement for Pure.

Norton 360 family retires with a confusing rebranding exercise

norton security rebrandThe owners of the Norton software brand, Symantec, have embarked on a strange rebranding exercise. Let’s face it, the antivirus company that doesn’t move with the times is going to get left behind. So what is this replacement for the products “Norton 360”, “Norton Internet Security” and “Norton Antivirus” going to be called? Something cute like “Poppy” or brutal like “JackHammer” perhaps? Maybe a more purposeful name like “Virus Obliterator”? Err no… meet… wait for it…

Norton Security

There’s a new Sheriff in town (and his name sounds very much like the old one).  For me, Norton needed to move away from that name. The early versions were absolute resource hogs (I’m going back to pre 2009 or thereabouts) but they tidied their act up and started to present versions that were slick, had low CPU/RAM usage and made use of a pretty decent user interface. All in, it became a well rounded product. It was then that they should have rebranded in my eyes. Ask most people who used the old security suites if they recommend Norton now and they’ll say “Nah, bloated rubbish”. Bad reputations are harder to shake if you keep the same name. Shit sticks it seems…

Do users of the old Norton products still get updates?

Well let’s see what the new business model is then. According to Symantec:

As a current customer of a Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security or Norton 360 product, you can continue to renew your subscription at this time, receive protection updates, and support for the product you have been using. If you are currently enrolled in Automatic Renewal Service, renewal of your enrolled product will be processed until further notice. During the renewal process, you may also have the option to upgrade to a different product. Choose the renewal or new product with the features that best meet your needs and you will continue to receive the latest in security updates during your subscription.

So, basically yes, they will offer support and updates for old products but will be pushing users to upgrade to the new family of products.

Norton security with Backup

This is the alternative to the plain Internet Security version. Cloud backup is something they have offered since Norton 360 came along, but now there is a move towards the ever-increasing synchronising of mobile and tablet data, Norton are unsurprisingly jumping on this.

If I was to be totally cynical, I’d say that it is a great business plan to offer cloud backup, even at cost price. Why? Well if the Internet Security software subscription is due and the user doesn’t renew, then they lose their online data. Who would want this? Guaranteed renewals makes sense for vendors and reduces the risk of jumping ship to sail with another vendor like Kaspersky, AVG or McAfee to name but a few.

We shall be reviewing the new software suites and doing comparative real-world tests but, until then, rest assured that the old Symantec Norton products are supported and will continue to receive updates.


Cheap Norton Internet Security anyone?

Norton Internet Security

When Norton’s internet Security product is about to expire, people often renew automatically. Norton offers a ‘nag’ screen to pester the user into submission. Well there is a cheaper way. A MUCH cheaper way that is totally legitimate. Read on….

Norton Internet Security has a well kept secret. If you are running the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 or 2015 versions you qualify for a free upgrade to the latest product.

The old product can be upgraded or uninstalled and the new version installed. We would always recommend a clean uninstall, a reboot and then a fresh install of the new product, although installing a later version of Norton usually detects and removes older ones for you.

There are some incredible deals for Norton Internet Security at the moment, you can pay a price that is up to 90% cheaper than the renewal – and you get the latest version thrown in! My method is to buy a cheap 2009 or later version and use the product key from that.   Don’t install this though, instead simply install the latest trial version from Norton’s website, Cnet or Softpedia. Use your 2009 (or later) product key to register the current version when prompted, no need to install the earlier product!

Just remember, if you need more than one licence then make sure you get a “3-user” copy. They are often as cheap as the single user licence.

Before you do this though, please note that I do sell discounted antivirus packages in my software store so you might get the latest version much cheaper anyway. Worth checking as they are currently very good value:

Check prices in the software store

Don’t want to keep Norton Internet Security? Then click here for the cheapest Norton 360 renewalcheapest Norton Antivirus renewal cheapest McAfee renewal cheapest Kaspersky Internet Security renewal Cheapest Kaspersky Pure renewal

Of these I would say that Kaspersky Pure is currently my favourite and best performing package.

Don’t forget to ‘Tweet’ or Facebook ‘like’ this article if it saved you some cash! Here are some more great deals on Norton:

What is the least expensive internet security package?

Cheapest antivirus

If you are asking “What is the least expensive internet security package?” then you are obviously on a tight budget. However, we all like to save a bit of money and even though this is one area we certainly don’t want to scrimp on, bargains can be had if you know where to look. Free antivirus packages are really not worth the extra effort with their more limited features and they often have poorer performance, nag screens, paid upgrades and adverts.

Internet security packages are often very expensive to renew but they can be purchased at keen prices online. Let’s take Symantec’s best security product, Norton 360. The manufacturer’s renewal price is currently £64.99 (105 US Dollars and about 78 Euro) for this. So let’s see if I can get this price down a bit….

Now all products from Norton come with a free upgrade to the current version, so buying an older version that someone thinks is out of date will be a good ploy as they will be much cheaper. I have successfully registered hundreds of products with older product keys so this is a great option. Just be sure that if you already have a security package on your PC, you match the number of users you will be having, eg if you have 3 PCs then you need a 3 user licence. Download the latest trial version of the same program from the Symantec website, then activate it with your licence key. Don’t install the program from the CD as this will usually need uninstalling to upgrade to a later version. Here are a few being sold online now:

If you just want a new version that installs straight out of the box with no messing about upgrading, then simply uninstall any package you have on your PC and install one from my internet security shop here:

Internet security shop

Packages can be as much as 80% discounted from the retail price!


Norton 360 backup at risk display error

This problem often occurs when none of the files in your backup have been modified since Norton 360’s last backup. Norton then reports an error with a red cross, even though all is well. You will probably see a historical backup in the . We can get round this by adding a new file to, say, My Documents and running the backup again.

Open your Documents folder
Select ‘New’ then ‘Text document’
Rename it ‘test.txt’

In Norton 360 select ‘Run backup now’

This should resolve the problem. I have also seen cases where there were 2 or more backup sets and one was set to ‘Manual’. If the user has not run this backup then it will report an ‘at risk’ fault.

If your Norton renewal is due soon then take a look at this Norton loophole that will save you some serious money