Panda Anti Virus + Firewall is no more, it has been removed from my PC and now ceases to live on my systems… why? well let me tell you….
Everything started well, pandasoftware had a trial version that lasts 30 days which i downloaded, and which installed easily and without a fuss. Up until now I’ve always used AVG, but lately it started to get very annoying with it’s constant false positives, telling me I had "Win32/Themida" and "Win32/Heur" in almost every file on my system (which for the record neither of them are a virus grisoft, so please STOP scaring people into believing they are!!)
Anyway, I decided to have a scope round, and read some reviews, and panda seemed to have a good following, so I thought I’d give it a try.
After install, it politley asked me if i wanted to restart, and i elected to click later, thinking I’ll just save my work first then restart, not an unreasonable thing to do, so i clicked "Later" and the installer disapeared, I switched to the project I had open in visual studio, and hit ‘save all’ just as I saw my desktop disapear along with said visual studio and the other apps I had open, It appears that Panda took it upon itself to Ignore completley what my choice was, thankfully the project was not an important one.
Now at this point I have to admit, that my main PC can sometimes go for weeks between reboots, so a reboot probably wasn’t going to be the end of the world…. WRONG…..
up popped the password box for XP proffessional X64, and the first casualty to complain was Daemon tools.
I use Daemon tools extensively for mounting virtual machine images and testing boot CD’s so this was somthing I couldn’t do without. The message produced was somthing to do with "SSI" not being installed, and after a bit of googling I found a similar issue with another package where it was determined that some methods of hooking the firewall would cause this problem, this confused me slightly beacuse when I installed panda I asked it NOT to install the firewall, and upon checking the configuration, found that the firewall was enabled. Strike 2, It appears that panda Ignored my wishes for a second time!!! grrrrr
After disabling the firewall, I retried running Daemon tools, still the same issue. So I did some more googling, and found some more sililarities, following up on some more information, and using the services manager I proceeded to disable each of Pandas services in turn to determine which if any would allow Daemon tools to run. I eventually tracked it down to the panda "Tpsrv" service, the only one listed which did NOT have a description, and so I had NO idea which feature I was disabling in the program.
I did however find out soon enough……
Panda has I’ts own self diagnostic mode, which depending on how it feels it seems to run either several thousand times a day, or not at all…. (One more negative point for not being consistant), it pretty quickly told me that the software had "A Major Software error, and was highly likley that my machine may have a virus which had caused panda to malfunction" (Great description of how to handle a disabled service guys…. one more negative point).
I eventually figured out, that the service I had disabled was tied to the "Protection from unknown threats module", so I went into the config, and disabled this option, and this then allowed me to run Daemon tools without having to disable the afore mention service, everytime i wanted to load a virtual disk image, so far things wern’t looking too good for Panda.
I went to run Daemon tools, and got the error message seen previously, and upon checking the Panda configuration?? Yup, you got it, it had ignored my request and left the option re-enabled, but (and here’s the really annoying bit) was STILL constantly displaying pop up boxes telling me I should re-enable it. Grrrrrrr!!!!! (-1 again)
I re-enabled, the option, saved it, went back in, disabled it, saved it…. and this time Panda AV did as it was told…. ok….
So now it was starting to behave Itself, and for a day or so it casued me no issues, it sat there got on with it’s work until….. I atempted to run a VB script, or mores the point the copy of IIS webserver runing on this machine tried to execute said script as part of a web application I had developed, and all hell broke loose… Once I cleared the pop-ups (Of which where substantially more than your standard malware!!) , and realised that Panda was blocking VB scripts, I went in found the option to stop it blocking scripts and turned it off….
YUP, It ignored me the so I had to switch it on, then back off… and so…. on came the "You should turn this back on otherwise very bad things will happen message", so these along with the "YOU Must have the firewall on too…. messages" where the thorn in my side for the next few hours, I DONT want script blocking on, it interfears with my projects, and I DONT want the fire wall on beacuse I’m sat behind two heavy metal properly configured cisco hardware firewalls!!! why on earth do i need a software one?
After poking about in the deepest recess of the config, I eventually found the option to turn the warning notices off…. and guess what???
YUP, it ignored me AGAIN!!! thats was it, i opened up add remove programs, uninstalled it and was glad to see the back of it….
That was 30 days ago. So why am I writing a blog post about this now i hear you ask? well erlier today I got some popups on my screen, requesting that I put in a username & password if I wanted to continue using online updates, and upon clicking the various buttons to say "I don’t have an ID" promptly had my browser open and push various advertising pages in my face from Pandasoftware to pay for a licence etc or to uninstall it as i was no longer in trial mode.
I had UN-INSTALLED this 30 days prior (Or so i thought) and it had apparently Ignored that request aswell…. so I calmly hunted out the original installer, RE-INSTALLED it, then imediately un-installed it again, this time i was asked to reboot, but before i clicked on anything i saved all my work and closed all my programs, then i clicked "Restart"…. guess what? The PC did NOT reboot…. I had to use the start button, to reboot… Grrrrrrr…. yet again….
The PC booted back up, I logged in only to find all my networking programs complaining I had not network connection, and on further investigation found that Panda had trashed my network configuration, so I spent an Hour fixing that and re-installing NIC drivers. Once I fixed that, I then cheked the Panda install directories, and lo-behold ALL of it’s files where still there. (By now I’d given the package so many negative points that sub-zero was more like a holiday in the sun)
So I manually removed everything by hand, and restarted just to make sure… Reboot… Log in…. anddddd……. NO NETWORK Connection……. that took me another hour and a half to fix.
I’m glad to say now however, that I have finally removed every trace from my system, and I can be sure, beacuse I went through the MSI installation logs with a fine tooth comb and removed everything by hand, my PC is now back to it’s former stability, and with AVG, which apart from it’s anoying false positives (Which if you continualy add software to the exeptions lists does eventually go away) I’ve NEVER had any bother with in the 10 years or so that I’ve used it.
I did a bit of googling, and the general attitude as to why the product doesn’t work as it should seems to be orientated around X64 systems, most of those having problems are running on 64Bit operating systems, yet there is no mention at all on Pandasoftwares site that this product is not suitable for 64Bit operating environments.