Avast fixes bug blocking programs from starting in Windows 10

A bug has been fixed in AVG and Avast security applications that set registry keys that blocked applications from running in Windows 10.

This past week, Windows 10 users began to complain [12345] that they were unable to launch Microsoft Office and other applications in Windows 10.

When attempting to do so, they were shown a message similar to “Windows cannot find ‘C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficerootOffice16WORD.EXE’. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again,” as shown below.

Word blocked

While initially thought to be either an Avast or Windows 10 cumulative update issue, it was confirmed that the issue was caused by Avast and AVG programs installed on a computer.

A component of the AVG/Avast security software causes Image File Execution Options registry entries to be created for various applications that would launch applications through a filter that points to C:Program Files (x86)AVAST SoftwareAvast Cleanupautoreactivator.exe.

A recent update broke something in this filter that was causing the programs to not launch.

This problem is not the first time it has happened with Avast’s software. People have reported this same bug with the Autoreactivator.exe since 2017.

According to a post to the Avast forums, an automatic update was released that resolves the issue. Avast has also provided an URL to download this fix now.

Hello everyone,
 
I am sorry that it took so long but the fixed version is finally here!
 
If you don’t want to wait for the automatic update, please download the installation package here: https://honzik.avcdn.net/setup/avast-tu/release/avast_cleanup_online_setup.exe and reinstall the product manually to get the latest available version including the fix.
 
We’ve tested all the affected scenarios and everything shall get back to the original state after the update/reinstall to the latest version.
 
We sincerely apologize for all the inconveniences.
Please let us know how it works for you.
 
Best regards,
Avast team.

This issue was also added to the Windows 10 2004 health dashboard, where Microsoft states it affected Windows 10 2004, Windows 10 1909, Windows 10 1903,  Windows Server 2004, Windows Server 1909, and Windows Server 1903.

In the status update, Microsoft also mentions the Windows 10 2004 KB4557959 cumulative update, but it is not known if this update caused a conflict with Avast’s software.

Error when attempting to open any Microsoft Office application

We have received reports that some users are unable to open apps after installing KB4557957, especially Microsoft Office apps. Affected users might also receive an error, such as, ‘Windows cannot find “c:program filesmicrosoft officerootoffice16winword.exe” Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again.’

Affected platforms:

  • Client: Windows 10, version 2004; Windows 10, version 1909; Windows 10, version 1903
  • Server: Windows Server, version 2004; Windows Server, version 1909; Windows Server, version 1903

Resolution: This issue has been resolved by Avast. This issue only affected devices with certain versions of Avast or AVG applications and was addressed with an update to their respective products. For more information on this, please see Avast’s forum post hereNote No update is needed for Windows or Microsoft Office to address this issue.

If you are still unable to launch Microsoft Office applications and other apps after installing the Avast/AVG fix, you can read our Recent Windows 10 updates block programs from running article to learn how to manually remove the problematic registry entries.

Kent

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