AVG8 deleted all my e-mail

365-223 TUE MAY 29
Creative Commons License photo: Nils Geylen

Grr… I allowed AVG 8 to run a computer scan for viruses earlier. When it came back, it said it had detected 96 threats and automatically removed them all; I didn’t think anything of it because they were just attachments in e-mails in my inbox. Unfortunately, Mozilla Thunderbird stores all of it’s e-mail in one file and some of my spam e-mails had contained viruses inside them. So AVG decided to the entire Inbox file meaning I’ve now essentially lost 4 years of e-mail. Included in those e-mails were all kinds of things including invoices, essays, important e-mails, website login details, letters and university administrative documents. Deleted by AVG, not moved to the Virus Vault.

I’m really annoyed with AVG at the moment. I am very lucky in the fact that I use Google Mail and it archives all e-mail which has been downloaded via POP3 rather than throwing them away as most e-mail services would. So I’ve probably still got copies of most of those e-mails lying around somewhere.

There’s probably a month worth of e-mail in several accounts I need to trawl through to find the ones which I’ve not yet attended to or had previously marked as “to be read”. I have several e-mail accounts for different purposes and Thunderbird downloaded e-mail from them all to compile a big inbox of all new e-mail.

It’s not a catastrophic data loss. I can only thank Google for having a backup. But it could easily have been one. It’s very frustrating: trawling through backups is really the last thing I really want to do right now with exams coming up.

Says Mozillazine:

Some antivirus software unfortunately isn’t familiar with Thunderbird, so when it detects a virus in your Inbox, it takes action on the whole file (your entire Inbox) instead of taking action on just one e-mail. For instance, if your antivirus software is set to automatically delete infected messages, it might delete your entire Inbox! This problem is due to a design flaw in certain AV programs, not in Thunderbird, and it is known to occur with Outlook Express and other e-mail programs too.

Apparently AVG7 worked fine with Thunderbird too: it’s AVG8 which introduces the problem where the entire inbox is deleted. I’ve disabled “Automatically heal/remove infections” so in the future hopefully AVG will ask before deleting my inbox. Well, now you know. Safeguard your inbox from AVG8 before you upgrade.

4 thoughts on “AVG8 deleted all my e-mail

  1. True, I’ve disabled the phishing protection extension in AVG (icons on Google were annoying me) too. The reason why I upgraded to AVG8 was just the nag screens in 7.5 telling me to update.

    It’s also frustrating it takes 2 hours to scan ~70GB of files in AVG and my hard drive is freshly defragged.

  2. Yep, here’s another case. After running the first scan on version 8 which I installed a couple of days ago after enduring the nagging screen, AVG just unceremoniously deleted the Inbox file. I thought: oh, well at least I can get my mails up to April, since I had a full backup of the C: drive on another internal disk. Well, AVG scanned that disk too and trashed my backup as well. Thousands of mails over 9+years. At least I had filters to subfolders, so some of the important stuff has been preserved, but gone is account information to websites and some hard to categorize messages. So far no luck trying recovery utilities, the versions of Inbox it can find are 0 bytes in size. I’ve had AVG for years and trusted this software. So much for that. And the kicker is that AVG has been aware of the problem for weeks, as I found out researching this, yet the copy that I dowloaded and updated on Monday still has that fatal bug.

  3. seems to be bugs in avg8, slows up my browser considerably with various other anomolies , i hpe they resolve it as av7 last version was great

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