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Avira antivirus patched but still not fully Windows 8 ready

'Completely new architecture' causing BSOD struggles

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Avira has rolled out a patch that makes its popular freebie anti-virus software more compatible with Windows 8.

Earlier this month the German firm admitted its products were not yet compatible with Windows 8 after users complained that attempting to run Avira's software on Microsoft's latest operating system results in the infamous Blue Screen of Death.

Avira said its security technology didn't play well with Windows Server 2012 because of a radical redesign in Microsoft's underlying operating system technology.

Travis Witteveen, chief operating officer of Avira, told El Reg that Avira hoped to have compatible products within weeks. He admitted that it was possible that Avira would lose market share to freebie anti-virus competitors, such as AVG, in the meantime.

Software patches released by Avira on Tuesday ought to resolve the BSOD (stability) problems but users might still be confronted with a pop-up that warns that the software is not officially supported by the security firm. Sorin Mustaca, product manager at Avira, said that the security firm plans to release further software updates to iron out remaining problems. "We are working very hard to get our products Windows 8 compatible as soon as possible," he said.

A blog post by Mustaca goes some why to explaining why achieving compatibility between security products and Windows 8 is a challenge without providing much insight into why the German firm didn't see this problem coming months ago. There have been three preview/beta builds of Windows 8 since September 2011, but Avira's failure to get products ready in time suggests it didn't put enough resources into developing and testing its technology against the operating system until much too late.

"The Windows 8 operating system, and its equivalent in the server area called Windows Server 2012, have a completely new architecture," Mustaca explains. "Their architecture forces the software which runs on them to make significant changes in the frameworks and the APIs (Application Programming Interface) used to write the software. Old frameworks (eg, Layered Service Providers, Transport Driver Interface, etc) will no longer be supported on the long term.

"As with any new computer operating system, it is possible that at the beginning some existing software is not compatible with it. Currently, the Avira products are not yet certified for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 and there were some problems reported by our users who have upgraded to this operating system."

Independent testing lab AV-Test.org reports that the vast majority of anti-virus vendors in the market already offer Windows 8-compatible products to consumers. But Reg reader feedback from our previous story on Avira's Win 8 woes suggests that it's not always plain sailing even with products listed as compatible with Windows 8. Nonetheless the absence of Avira from the list remains noticeable. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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