UPDATE: This problem appears to be fixed in Build 9879, albeit not in the way one might expect. That build
blows cripples AVG – and, presumably, all other 3rd party AV apps – away and replaces them with Windows Defender. AVG is still installed, but all its shortcuts have been removed. Given the issues I’ve had with 3rd party AV and Windows 8+ build updates, this may be the new normal for Windows. If that’s the case, hopefully that means MS is going back to making Windows Defender a best-in-class security solution.
I updated to Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9860 Action Center earlier and immediately ran into Windows Action Center telling me that my PC wasn’t protected and that I should turn antivirus and spyware protection on. Since I run AVG Antivirus FREE 2015 on it, I shouldn’t have seen that message.
Clicking Action Center’s own enabling options didn’t help.* AVG Antivirus FREE 2015 was showing that its Computer and Identity shields were down, which invoking its UI’s proffered single click solution did nothing to change.
Figuring this might be another case of a service failing to start in Windows 10 TP, I opened Services and found that AVGIDAgent wasn’t running. Trying to start it manually produced a long error. At my wits end, I decided that perhaps AVG and Windows 10 TP were incompatible and so I’d be better off just running Windows Defender. I tried uninstalling AVG, but the uninstall failed due to “insufficient privileges” despite me being on an admin account. Services showed no option for manually stopping AVG WatchDog either.
If you run into this situation, here’s how to fix it:
- Download the AVG Remover that matches your OS (e.g. 64-bit for x64) here.
- Run AVG Remover, which along with removing AVG dumps 2 extensive log files – avgremover.log and avgremover_msilog.txt – in the folder from which it was launched. Your PC will reboot.**
- Download AVG.
- Reinstall AVG.
The above steps should clear Action Center’s warnings.
I think a couple things are at work here. The first is that 3rd party antivirus and Windows OS updates don’t work perfectly well with each other. This is disappointing but not surprising, considering that the former has the deepest hooks possible into the latter for a client application but both are separately developed. The second is I suspect a significant under the hood change between Windows 10 TP and previous Windows versions in how client applications invoke services. I base this suspicion on the above complications with along with EMET 5.0 – a Microsoft security product!!! – being unable to start the service necessary to complete its installation without manual user intervention.
The above method also works if Identity protection suddenly stops working and refuses to be enabled.
*This happens occasionally with avast! on Windows 8.1, so it’s not shocking.
**Upon rebooting, you’ll see the same Action Center warnings again. You can try auto-enabling Windows Defender via them, but that didn’t work for me. Neither did trying to manually start Windows Defender’s UI, as the Windows apparently still thought 3rd party antivirus was installed. If this is the case for you too, just proceed to Steps 3 and 4.