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I'm running Win 7. I use TorGuard VPN. I'm connected through a wired LAN. My connection is High Speed cable and works fine. My VPN connection is normally good - maybe a second or two slower than non-VPn but good speeds.

It was all running fine until yesterday when I uninstalled Avast antivirus to install Avira. My VPN connection then came to a halt. My non-VPN connection was still fine. With VPN connected, pages that would load took anywhere form 30 seconds to a minute or longer. I got timeouts where most pages wouldn't load. I got error messages trying to load pages, like:

www.speedtest.net’s server DNS address could not be found. Search Google for speed test net. ERR_NAME_NOT_RESOLVED

or:

ww.google.ca unexpectedly closed the connection. Try: Reloading the page Checking the connection Checking the proxy and the firewall

The VPN provider suggested manually setting the IPv4 DNS to a private address they gave me. That resolved it for a short time, but the DNS kept resetting back to Obtain Automatically. I kept manually inputting it and it kept resetting. I then tried the Google DNS address and it still reset back to Obtain Automatically.

I have seen posts related to this problem but the reverse of mine, where Obtain Automatically DNS settings were directed to a specific DNS, as happens with some viruses or attacks. I scanned and came up clean using Malwarebytes, Hitman Pro, Adwcleaner, Hijack This, Avira and SUPERAntispyware.

I decided to uninstall Avira and see if that changed things. It didn't. My non-VPN connection remained fine but the VPN was at a crawl or dead stop. Inputted DNS addresses would revert to Obtain Automatically.

I decided to re-install AVASt and see what happened. And the problem was fixed. My VPN connection was back to working normally with pages loading fast and fine. Somehow Avast is related to this problems as it correlates to the problem occurring and resolving. Avast scan also showed clean. What is Avast doing to my IPv4 DNS settings that would cause them to fail on the VPN, when Avast is uninstalled? It's like Avast has hijacked my settings,a dn the VPN now only works when AVAST is re-installed.

  • Avira and Avast are both nortorious for enabling their spying feature by default, this feature that breaks SSL connections, which Google search uses by default and what TOR and VPN connections are based on. The only malicious on your computer was Avast and Avira . The feature they claim is used so they can "protect" you from malicious files served over a SSl connection. There are better ways to protect yourself from a threat like that though, breaking secure HTTP connections, is one of them. – Ramhound May 4 '16 at 14:14
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It's a very common issue when Avast is uninstalled to have your PC left in shatters. In many cases (google this), people are left with systems that won't boot at all. The best thing I can suggest is to use a tool like Revo Uninstaller to uninstall it. It's very good at finding the files and settings left behind after an installation.

With Revo Uninstaller, sometimes the best approach is to actually reinstall a program while Revo is watching it, and then let Revo remove it. It will 'record' all the changes made during the installation process, and undo them. Note - I have a paid copy of Revo - I'm not sure what limitations the free version has, but at first glance it should do everything you need.

After using Revo, I would then use Avast's own uninstaller - yes they have a seperate utility not included with the software - and it is their recommended method to uninstall Avast*. You can get it and instructions to use it here Avast 2016 Uninstaller. If you are using an earlier version of Avast the same uninstaller should work per their notes.

*From Avast's website:

This is the preferred uninstallation method as it is the most reliable and removes all program files, allowing you to make a clean installation of Avast. If for some reason you prefer not to use this method, in most cases you can remove Avast via the Windows Control Panel.

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