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Buggy AVG update makes Windows go into endless booting loop

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December 2, 2010

A virus update from AVG that went haywire last night made 64 bit Windows 7 computers and workstations extremely unstable and sent them in an endless "rebooting loop" mode after it was applied.

The affected machines became totally useless afterwards.

AVG has since confirmed that it has pulled the problem update No. 3292 off and published an advisory apologizing for the buggy security patch and provided various instructions on how to get affected systems back up and running again.

Recovering a 'Blue Screened PC' is more involved than simply rebooting in safe mode, as the security vendor explained. Both server and desktop versions of 64 bit Windows 7 are affected by the security hole.

It's still unclear whether or not other versions of Windows are vulnerable after applying the AVG updates, however.

Making matters even worse, both paid-for and free versions of the AVG software is affected by the bug.

Since last night, AVG users have furiously vented their frustration through AVG's online forum. It's perfectly understandable that those users were angry, after at least two of them have lost part of the word processor and spreadsheet files they were working on.

So far, AVG hasn't explained what caused the security issue, but normally such auto-immune problems occur when security software packages identify a vital Windows component as potentially malign. Such problems are far from unknown in the anti-virus industry and have affected multiple vendors in the past, including McAfee and Symantec.

Overall, specific testing procedures have been improved across the security industry, but not fast enough to deal with the increasingly growing volume of security updates AV vendors need to publish in response to increased virus and worm attacks coming from just anywhere.

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Source: AVG Anti-Virus Ltd.

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