An important part of Avast security is its ability to check your email for malicious attachments and links through its Mail Shield module.
What’s even more convenient is that even if you don’t have the standalone version of the software, there is a plugin called Avast Add-in that interfaces directly with the Outlook software to ensure you and your recipients are kept safe at all times.
However, the overbearing nature of Avast (and most antivirus software) means that it can sometimes cause problems with Outlook, regardless of whether you are using it within a mail client or directly via a web browser.
In this article, we will explain both why this happens and how you can go about fixing the problems.
Why is Avast causing problems with Outlook?
There is a lot of potential for an email to cause harm to a computer, from attachments carrying viruses to malicious URLs. Avast needs to be on the lookout for anything untoward in order to keep you safe.
There are number of processes that are involved in this, from Mail Shield, Antivirus, and Firewall, all the way to bugs and glitches, so it’s not uncommon to see Avast causing problems with Outlook.
Avast Mail Shield
If you are not using Avast Add-in, which integrates directly with Outlook, then Avast Mail Shield is protecting you. This will scan all incoming and outgoing email messages for viruses and links to malicious websites.
However, it’s common for this Mail Shield process to interfere with Outlook due to thinking something is malicious when it isn’t. Fortunately, within the Avast Shield settings, we have a few options that can help to address this.
Some users who have reported their Outlook software not opening or operating strangely have been able to fix the issue by repairing Avast.
Often, when Avast intercepts something, whether that’s data transfer via the Firewall or quarantining something to the Avast Chest, it can lead to corrupt files or bad Windows registry entries.
The repair feature within Avast will help to scan both Avast and all associated Shield modules and automatically repair them, which can usually eliminate common bugs and glitches.
Avast is out of date
Although it might seem like an obvious thing, due to virus definitions and software bugs being updated frequently, ensuring your Avast suite is up to date is vital to having Avast work smoothly with Outlook.
Fortunately, updating is very easily done within the Avast GUI.
Mail server and POP settings
Some users have reported that after Avast releases certain updates, their software will suddenly block access to POP and IMAP email accounts.
To solve this issue, we need to change some of the redirect settings, which we will detail how to do in the next section.
Firewall blocking data transfer
If you are downloading an email attachment that is deemed malicious or trying to open a suspicious URL within an email, Avast’s Firewall may try to intercept the data transfer and prevent it from working.
In this scenario, we need to create a rule within Avast’s Firewall that will allow the connection to proceed uninterrupted.
Antivirus Quarantine Chest
If a file attachment is flagged by Avast Antivirus as you are trying to download it, it may place it in the Quarantine Chest automatically. This can be a source of confusion for users, as they won’t always get the notification and are unable to locate the file they just downloaded.
To fix this, we need to check the file within the Avast Quarantine Chest to ascertain whether it’s safe or not. If we deem it safe, we can simply tell Avast to ignore the file so we can use it without issue.
Outlook Add-in plugin
If you have both Avast and the Outlook client installed on your computer, Avast Antivirus will automatically implement an Add-in plugin that will scan each incoming and outgoing message for suspicious attachments or URLs.
This is slightly different from Mail Shield, as it works within the Outlook client as opposed to within the Avast software.
If this plugin is causing issues, there are a couple of options we can adjust to get it working again.
How to stop Avast from causing problems to Outlook
As you can see, there are a number of different processes and potential culprits that will cause Avast to cause problems with Outlook.
Fortunately, they are all pretty easy to solve, so now we will walk you through how to eliminate these issues until Avast and Outlook are working together correctly.
Adjust Mail Shield settings
If you have both the Outlook client and Avast installed on your computer, the scanning process should be checked by the integrated Add-in plugin.
However, many users still use their mail through either a third-party local client or simply inside a web browser. In this scenario, all the scanning of attachments and URLs contained within an email are handled by Avast Mail Shield.
These settings can be adjusted, or the module can be completely disabled if it’s causing too many problems with your email by following these steps:
- Open the Avast software and navigate to the main menu.
- Click the settings icon as indicated by the gear icon.
- From the settings menu, click on Components, and then find the Mail Shield component.
- From here, you will be given various options to configure Mail Shield. Try disabling certain functions, such as SSL scanning, or alternatively, you can disable the module entirely.
While this is not a great long-term solution, as you will still want to have some kind of antivirus checking your emails for anything suspicious, it can help you get back to using your email trouble-free in a pinch.
Run the repair tool
The repair tool helpfully scans and updates any file inconsistencies or corruption, ensuring the software operates as smoothly as possible. Users have reported that running the repair tool has fixed their problem of Avast blocking the email client.
To do this, type in “add or remove programs” into the Windows search bar. This will bring up a menu of all currently installed software on your system. Locate Avast on this list, and highlight it.
Next to the Uninstall button on the top bar should also be a repair option. Click it and give it some time to scan the files and repair the software.
Once it’s complete, reset your PC before testing it out to see if it has worked.
Update Avast to the latest version
When Avast issues out a software update, there can be residual bugs or potential glitches caused by an incorrect install. Avast will usually issue out a hotfix to address any glaring issues that have been brought up on the Avast forum relatively quickly.
Therefore, updating Avast to the latest version may very well solve your issue. Here’s how to do it:
- Open the Avast software and open the settings menu.
- Click the “General’ tab at the top.
- You will be given two options: one is to update the virus definitions and one is to update the software itself. Ideally, you want both up to date, but for this fix, we need to specifically update the software.
- Click “Check for updates,” and if it detects there is an update available, it will automatically download and install it.
Once the update has been applied, restart your PC before checking if it fixes the issue.
Adjust server settings
When Avast is blocking access to POP and IMAP accounts, resetting the port redirect settings has been known to restore email functionality.
To do this, find the settings within the Avast software, and then click Troubleshooting followed by Redirect Settings.
Within this menu, clear all the port numbers from each field. Then, check the “Ignore Local Communication” box.
Once this is complete, click Ok and close Avast.
Add firewall rule within Avast
If the Avast Firewall is intercepting the transfer of data between your local machine and the mail server, we need to add an exception within the Firewall rule so that it doesn’t do this.
- In the Avast software, navigate to Protection and then Firewall.
- Click the settings button as indicated by the small gear icon.
- Click “View firewall rules” and then the “Application rules” tab.
From here, you can add a new filter rule. You should select the Microsoft Outlook client you are using and tell Avast to ignore it so it will no longer intercept data transfer associated with your email client.
Add an antivirus exclusion
Much in the same way as the Firewall, if Avast Antivirus decides to flag a false positive on an email attachment, it will heavily impair your ability to use Outlook. This also applies if you are using Outlook through a web browser, as Web Shield will also monitor that.
Within the Avast software, select the General tab and navigate to Exceptions and then “Add advanced exception.”
Here you can enter the Outlook URL, or the Outlook executable (.exe) file depending on how you access your emails.
Now Avast Antivirus will no longer interrupt your mail use.
Outlook Add-in plugin
If you have both the local Outlook client and Avast Antivirus installed, it will automatically engage the Add-in plugin, which essentially allows Avast to run within the Outlook client directly.
This is definitely not as robust a choice, and many users have reported having issues with this add-in. You may want to consider uninstalling the Outlook local client and begin using it through the browser.
Alternatively, if you are adamant about continuing to use the Outlook client, you can also disable the Avast plugin within the Outlook menu by selecting “Add-ins” then “Manage” and clicking the “Remove” button by the Avast plugin.
If Avast has intercepted a file you may think is safe, by default it will automatically place it in the Avast Quarantine Chest. You can find this within the Avast menu and inspect the file further to see if you believe it to be safe.
If you deem the file to be fine, you can tell Avast to ignore the file. You may have to then redownload it from the Microsoft Outlook client, but it should download to the specified location correctly this time.