Avast! Business Protection [Plus] – exclamation mark on client Avast and console, when shields are disabled

Avast Business Protection [Plus] has recently been released – a way overdue update to Avast’s business targeted line, which has previously been left on the 4.8 code base since the beginning of 2010 (when Avast 5.0 came out for home users). I’ve had various problems with this update, mostly to do with licensing, but I’ll save that for another blog….

In the new admin console I have created different groups for different servers / workstations, dependent on their shield (module) need, and dropped the PCs discovered on the network in to the correct groups. For example, our general file servers do not need the SharePoint or the Exchange shield scanning plug-in to be enabled; it’s an unnecesary overhead, and at best just pointless to be on.

Disabling the unneeded shields was nice and easy – can all be done under the group settings for a collection of computers (under the sensibly named ‘Shields‘). But whilst this worked, the end result was not good; on the client side (the server or workstation running the pushed out copy of Avast Business Protection client), I got an exclamation mark on the taskbar like this:

And in the Avast! Administration Console, for the given computers:

It would seem there are no easy tick boxes to stop this problem; you have to find the solution by clicking a big scary button…

To start, go to edit the settings for your given group that you want to modify shield monitoring. In the window that appears, click on the bottom left hand option ‘Expert settings’.

Next, click the big scary button that reads “I’ll take the risk, show the expert settings”

No doubt, you could seriously mess-up some installs if you alter some settings – I don’t know what most the functions do. I played with a test setup first, and was delighted to find what I needed to correct these problems.  Let’s assume we just wanted to disable monitoring of the Exchange module, on systems that don’t have Exchange. Scroll down in the list, and find:

avastcfg://avast5/Common/PropertyPowerbarExchange

You’ll notice it has a value of ‘1‘ set to the right of it. Double click on this value, and change it to ‘0‘.

Left click save at the bottom of the window, and within one minute, your client system’s exclamation mark should have gone, and your admin console for the system should look more like this:

You’ll notice there are lots of other ‘PropertyPowerbar‘ options in the same area of expert settings. Zero-ing out any of these will stop the Avast client monitoring that shield, and the fault of bringing up the explanation mark. Be careful – you don’t want to zero out a shield you are actually running, as if this shield is at anytime disabled by some rogue virus or the like, it won’t show up on the console.

This seems a silly error that Avast will no doubt fix at some point in the future – if nothing else, disabling a given shield should zero the value for you. At the start of August 2011, this is yet to be seen – early days! :)