First, I’ve been kind of hard on AVG 8. I think my criticisms have been justified, and I have recommended people keep using AVG 7.5. However, Grisoft no longer offers the older version on their website, so you have to go out and find AVG 7.5 on your own.
AVG 7.5 is still being updated, at least the anti-virus database, current installs get daily updates just fine. Up until a week or so ago, you could install AVG 7.5, but you’ll get a message about an expired install package, and it takes a while to get all the updates. But at the end of it all you have a small, lite, clean, Anti-virus.
Starting a week or so ago, if you install AVG 7.5 from scratch, the updates for AVG are no longer working. On a new installs you will get the message “The server name cannot be converted to the IP address” when you try to update the first time.
I think the difference between current installs and new install is that AVG gets program updates from one source and virus database updates from another, or the program updates themselves have changed the location that AVG 7.5 goes to get to get updates. What I know is that new installs are failing while current installs seem to be getting virus updates just fine.
It turns out that the pool of addresses AVG 7.5 goes to get it’s updates are no longer resolving. I don’t know if this is a temporary error, or in Grisoft has decided to drop the domains altogether. The addresses that AVG 7.5 tries to go to are:
I suspect that the error will continue, because the “.cz” zone is that of Czech Republic, and I think Grisoft may be trying to get away from country specific domains in favor of more international ones. “grisoft.cz” is still registered to Michal Jukl in the Czech Republic, but a dump of the domain data seems to indicate that guru1, guru2, and guru3 are not in the database. Oddly guru4 and guru5 are there in the records, but go to machines that ether do not have webservers (guru4) or are off line completely (guru5).
You will need to update your windows host file so that guru1, guru2, and guru3, point to a current Grisoft server. The windows host file is the part of windows that a computer refers to first before asking DNS for the numerical address of a website. From here you can “override” a DNS lookup by taking an alpha address, like “guru1.grisoft.com” and manually pointing it to a working numerical address.
The lists of servers can be found in Grisoft FAQ 1334. Of course 3 of those 6 servers are not working. The top one, guru.avg.com does seem to be up. (ironically if you “ping” guru.avg.com, it reports back via reverse look up as “guru1.grisoft.cz”). So guru.avg.com is to address we need to go to get updates. However guru1.grissoft.com is hard coded into the software (or at least I could not find a Program Setting, Windows Registry Key, or Configuration INI file that would let me change it). So we will have to hijack the DNS lookup with the Windows Host file as described above.
Using WordPad or other Text editor open the file c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
The First three lines should be:
# Copyright (c) 1993-1999 Microsoft Corp.
# This is a sample HOSTS file used by Microsoft TCP/IP for Windows.
And the last line should read:
Now edit the file and add the following information starting on the line bellow 127.0.0.1. PLEASE LEAVE THE 127.0.0.1 AS IS.
Save the File, Exit the Editor, Restart the Computer. (OK a restart may not be needed, but it’s a good ideal anyway)
Once the computer is back up. AVG should update normally.
I do not have a feel for how long this fix will work. However, I will keep using AVG 7.5 for as long as I can, so if there is some change, I’ll be sure to keep my findings updated.
We here at TCG manage our own Domain Name Servers, and I have implemented a fix/workaround on that server which hard maps the addresses. So if you are a client of mine, you most likely use one of our DNSes, therefore this fix should be automatic.
I’d like to know if AVG 7.5 and AVG 8.0 use the same Virus Database files. If so then at least the AVG 7.5 might keep rocking a little longer, even if the software engine is no longer being developed.