A friend is having issues with a program that connects to the internet.

i am fairly certain that there is an issue with a 3rd party product that either

  • blocks outgoing connections
  • blocks incoming connections
  • inserts itself in a network connection
  • inserts itself in a file read
  • inserts itself in a file write

i have no idea what products she has installed, either does she. But i can imagine some:

  • PeerGuardian blocking outgoing connections
  • AVG/NAV blocking incoming/outgoing connections
  • AVG/NAV interfering with a file read
  • AVG/NAV interfering with a file write
  • any other "security" product

Is there a simple way (i.e. instructions for a beginner) that can disable all 3rd party anti-virus and firewall products on a computer?

Note: i define 3rd-party as not signed by Microsoft Windows (i.e. even Microsoft Corporation isn't good enough, as they're not part of the core OS).

The reason i ask is because i know some products dig their hooks in so deep: there's no way to remove them.

But maybe there's a simple fix somewhere: "Disable all anti-virus and firewall protection, and i mean pronto."

What is the issue that i happen to be wrestling with today?

i don't know how you people can stand security products.

  • What is the program and what is the internet connection scheme? Perhaps he is just missing port forwarding or similar issue? – Andrejs Cainikovs Nov 28 '10 at 16:05
  • It's the World of Warcraft downloader, and the best explanation is that it cannot establish an outgoing connection. A forum full of people, after bashing Blizzard, are then directed to disable their PeerGuardian. Oh yeah, forgot about that. Works now So i want a way to disable everything - i don't care who wrote it, and what perceived value it has. – Ian Boyd Nov 28 '10 at 16:10
  • And she claims she doesn't have Peerguardian, and the other anti-virus products are disabled. i know how poorly designed most AV products are - so i want to disable them. Disabling them is one step short of my next step: formatting the OS, and denying her an admin account. – Ian Boyd Nov 28 '10 at 16:13
  • Disable permanently or temporarily? Permanently, uninstall them, Temporarily, take them out of startup using MSconfig. – Moab Nov 28 '10 at 20:06

It sounds like it's been blocked by an outgoing firewall. What version of Windows is it and is there a firewall (Comodo for example) running?

You can find out if there is a firewall (and which one it is) by opening. the windows security centre Control Panel > Security Center (on XP):

alt text

You should be able to open the firewall and see a list of blocked programs.

Find World of Warcraft on that list and change it to "allowed". This is the screen for Comodo as an example:

alt text

  • i don't know what outgoing firewall there is, if any. Which is why i'm looking for an option to "disable anything that is blocking network access". – Ian Boyd Nov 28 '10 at 16:23
  • @Ian - open the windows security centre (Control Panel > Security Center) that will tell you. – ChrisF Nov 28 '10 at 16:24

Consider the security implications of having a simple way to "disable all firewall and antivirus software on the computer pronto". All an attacker/virus-writer would have to do is run that command and they'd have the whole system to themselves. Even if there were such a thing, you can bet that some security software wouldn't use it anyways, and would just keep on running.

On a more practical note, it sounds like you don't have direct access to troubleshoot the computer, otherwise you could just look and see what she has. I would suggest the following:

  • See if she can get something like LogMeIn installed, so you can look for yourself and figure out the problem. TeamViewer has a QuickSupport version which allows a user to download and run an executable that runs TeamViewer on their computer without having to install anything, and then automatically connects it back to you, this makes remotely connecting to a support client's computer very simple.

  • Find out what she does have installed. The following command line (which you can put in a batch file for her to run) will export the registry key which has all installed software in it to a text file on the desktop. You can then look through the resulting file and deduce what she has installed:

    reg export "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall" "%userprofile%\desktop\software.txt"

Once you figure out what software she has on her computer, you may be able to better determine how to remove whatever is causing it not to work.

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