Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

How do I fix crashing whenever I try to download something?


Whenever I try to download or update software, I immediately get the
“ has encountered a problem and must close. We are
sorry for the inconvenience,” error message. For example, I tried to
update Ad-Aware; I tried to download a program that would convert iTunes files
to a different format. I tried to open a PDF file, etc. – no luck. I use
Windows XP Home edition on a Dell desktop. Same problem whether I use Firefox
or IE. I see a lot of stuff on Microsoft message boards, but no solution to my
problem. Hope you can help. I’m desperate.

In this excerpt from
Answercast #25
, I look at a computer that is having problems downloading
and suggest ways to check that system for malware.


Download and update problems

I believe that what you are looking at is malware. sounds like malware of some sort: something that has basically taken over the downloading portion of what your applications are attempting to do.

It could be a download accelerator, which in general I tend not to like anyway because they do interfere and they don’t necessarily give you a lot of bang for the buck.

Clean your system

In a case like this, be it malicious or otherwise, clearly something has inserted itself into the downloading process and is causing trouble. I would start by running what Microsoft used to call the System Standalone Sweeper, now called Windows Defender Offline.

What that is, is a downloadable disk image that you can burn to a CD and boot from. It will run Microsoft Security Essentials, or the equivalent, from the CD without your system having to have been booted from the hard disk. That allows it to potentially clean up portions of the system that are infected but are otherwise inaccessible while the system is running. That’s where I’d start.

I’d also run Malwarebytes on that system.

Virus and malware scan

Normally, I would say you should be running an up-to-date anti-malware scan, but clearly this tool is interfering with your ability to download updates to Ad-Aware. That’s part of what makes me think that this is malware of some sort.

  • I would approach it as malware.

Try running the Windows Defender Offline, then Malwarebytes. Once you have your system fixed up enough that it will successfully do a download, then update your anti-malware tools and run up-to-date scans.

Next from Answercast #25 – Can Hotmail let me switch between accounts?

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

1 thought on “How do I fix crashing whenever I try to download something?”

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.