How to Solve “Invalid Update Control CTF File” Errors on AVG

AVG Antivirus

AVG Antivirus

I’ve been getting “Invalid Update Control CTF File” errors for quite some time whenever I try to update my local copy of AVG Free, the virus protection I use on my Windows boxes.ย  I finally dug around and found the solution to the problem.

Some of the downloaded files are corrupt. (I actually assumed that from the error I received.ย  Is nice to know I was correct.) You have to go into your Windows Explorer and delete the *.ctf temp files in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Avg8\update\download\ย  Don’t delete the *.bin files as those are the ones that were compiled on previous updates. (It would be nice to see them all made into one file though.)

I hope this helps someone.

Update: I know I wrote this post for WinXP users but Doug notes in the comments below that Vista users can find AVG’s saved files in the C:\ProgramData\avg8\update\download subdirectory.

144 thoughts on “How to Solve “Invalid Update Control CTF File” Errors on AVG

  1. That is EXACTLY what is done to have the error go away. You my friend are a genius!! Thanks for the posting, saved me and 100s of others I am sure!

  2. Thank you very much for the information. Your information made it possible for me to repair a few “infected” computers quickly and correctly. Any idea of why this happens? Sincerely, Jeff

  3. Thanks for the comments, folks. I still think we all received a corrupted file from AVG. The link I gave along with the few others I found show that this problem has been around for a bit and appears to be random. I think it was just a fluke.

  4. Thank You, I hadn’t logged onto the internet in a while, i thought that was the problem, cause it could’t run a scan. Turns out it ran a virus check anyway and there were three mp3 songs that were trojans and most likely the culprit. I probably got them from myspace. For those who can’t find how to get to applications, just copy and paste the whole url into your explorer browser and it will go right to it.
    Good luck and thanks who ever wrote this for the rest of us.

  5. Zillion thanks, man. This really helped me and my study group to solve the problem. Peace… junior student from IT college in Malaysia.

  6. Thanks. Could not find the .ctf files by normal windows search, but copied in the directory path and found the .ctf files. Deleting them enabled the download. Many thanks!

  7. This worked great for me too, so thanks. The only thing I would like to add is that the files are located in another directory on Vista Home Prem :

  8. You my friend are a life saver. Thank you very much for helping me solve this problem. I have a fully paid for version of AVG 8 and this method also worked. Once again, thank you greatly ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Thanks for the comment. I hadn’t thought of a virus going after AVG directly like that. Have to admit that it would explain the corrupted *.ctf files. Good suggestion.

  10. hi there. im also having the same problem but when i get as far as C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\ ” i cant seem to find Application Data\Avg8\update\download\ . can anyone help??

  11. That makes a lot of sense. One of the first things I do with a new Windows install is unhide everything. That’s probably why I didn’t notice that. I’ll add a note to that effect (Once I remember how to unhide directories) to the Post.
    Very good catch. Thanks.

  12. Well My wife has the same prob on her computer but I get to All users and Application data and thats where it stops.
    I see AVG8, but nothing there to where it says Update/Download.
    Any ideas where I should look.

  13. Well I found the prob with my wifes computer, there were folders that hidden and when I clicked on show hidden folers there was the infamous file I was looking for.
    Thanks Mike for having this blog to find problems.

  14. Thanks so very much, IT worked! Just like that! I dont usually add comment to random sites, but really wanted to thank you, Ive been trying for hours to work it out. Thanks again from little old NZ

  15. Jim, the problem probably is that the directory is hidden. As noted up above, you;re going to have to tell your OS to unhide files and directories. A quick google search should find you instructions on how to do so.

  16. I went to all the diretories but the problem is. Even if I access the folder as an Admin and changed the hidden/show folder settings I can’t find the ctf files.
    Its seems files are missing. >.>

  17. THANK YOU!!! i’ve been getting this darn message for about a week and it was driving me crazy. I’m a girl, and the instructions were so simple I was able to do it myself.
    THANK YOU again!

  18. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!
    I reloded AVG 3 times trying to get rid of this problem
    It was so easy to fix, now all works great!!!!!
    Thank you

  19. thank you sooooooo very much mike it took me a while to figure out what to do but i got it and it worked u r a genius. thanks once again!

  20. I have Windows XP.I have followed the path C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Avg8\update\download\. Alright, so I get there, and there is nothing inside. Hmm, maybe they are hidden, so I go to Tools/folder options/view/ and the box “show hidden files and folders” is checked.
    Then I do a Search for .ctf as well as *.ctf, and nothing. Any ideas on how I can get this “invalid update control ctf file” error to quit?

  21. I too am getting the Corrupt CTF file error message. I have followed your directions, however I cant seem to find the .ctf files. The update folder is completely empty and I when I used the search function my computer found nothing. I have un-hidden all of my files, so that’s no the problem. How can a file that doesn’t exist be corrupt? And thank you in advance for any help you can offer.

  22. You may have to restart AVG to get it to pick up on the changes. Best bet would be to reboot the computer if you haven’t done so. AVG seems to have issues with being able to be turned off. At least I’ve had problems in the past when I has to disable it.
    Are there any files in that subdirectory? That’s also where the program stores updates to the virii database. If you’re not seeing any files in there, the un-hidden my not have taken correctly. I know I’ve got about 100 files in that subdirectory besides the *.ctf ones.

  23. If you;re not seeing anything in that subdirectory, then the un-hidden setting has not taken. Please check on that. That directory should also be full with the other files from completed upgrades of the virii database.

  24. Thank You, I would have never thought of looking at that location with a bad or corrupted file. Cleared out the CTF files, and AVG updated successfully.
    Thanks Again.

  25. Not a problem. Those error messages that don’t give any suggestions on how to fix themselves can be a pain, can’t they? Thanks for the comment and glad you got things working again.

  26. hi, seems i am the only unlucky guy here… i have followed the words of wisdom but unfortunately when i get to AVG/update/ i get absolutely empty folders BackUp, Download, Prepare… empty! not ctf to delete, anyone else has this problem?

  27. Ok, I thought I’d google the error and one of the top links on the 1’st page was urs.
    so, i thought i’d get the solution to the problem thought i had a doubt whether id b able 2 figure it out or not.
    but, i was surprised 2 c how simple it was. thanks man!

  28. Well if they’re completely empty, sounds like you’ve not taken the step to unhide your hidden files. At the very least, you should be seeing the previous updates in that subdirectory.

  29. Well if there’s no files in the folder, chances are you’ve not unhidden the files. At the very least, you should be seeing the files made from the previous updates of AVG.

  30. Not a problem. Thanks for the comment and I’m glad you got it working again.
    Hmmm, AVG should cut me a check or at least a free upgrade for all these hits. ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Thanks for the answer dmike, but as a matter of fact, after further investigations I found out that I was infested with nasties which were blocking me from downloading and searching, they were actually high jacking me on the net and redirecting me to where they wanted me to be… That was freaky!!! I couldn’t download any virus checker, I had to use my wife’s PC, download a few spywares on a stick and run them on my computer and OMG! Couldn’t believe the sh#@ that came out of it!! If this can help others: Start with Malwarebyte which you should run in safemode, then thrown in spybot search and destroy, and nail it with Window Defender!! You will be surprised!! Then you can download AVG and install and update it to your heart content!! Do not forget to restart after each session. I am delighted with the result, I hope you guys are too> all the best

  32. I’m getting the same error, but when i go to the folders in avg8, theres nothing in them to delete. I’ve gone thru and made sure none of the folders or files are hidden. I dunno what the problem is and its starting to piss me off a little. It’s just started to occur within the last few days. I
    ‘ve tried everything, even multiple installations. And since the general fix doesnt seem to apply to my situation i’m out of ideas. Anyone else got any? Email me.

  33. Thanks for the walkthru. When I first had this problem, I had thought that there was a virus on my laptop as well since there are those out there that target virii software.

  34. Remaming the files seems not to solve the problem, but deleting the 2 files hit the nail on the HEAD. I am proud to have you as my backbone. i have just added the site to my favorites. Thanks a million.

  35. Thanks for the comment as well as the information about Vista. Have to admit all of my boxes are still WinXP if not earlier than that. Heck, I still have a Win98 box to play games on. ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. Not a problem and thanks for the comment. Glad it worked for you.
    What’s funny about this is that I’m now seeing the error again. Have to fix it yet again on my computer. Would be nice to see the AVG folks nail this down.

  37. I saw the bit about renaming the files as well elsewhere but I would think that AVG would be monitoring those filenames as a security measure. I would think it would be easy for a virus to do the same to get around the protection.
    Not a problem. Thanks for the comment as well as the bookmark.

  38. Please help!! I can see now hidden folders but i can’t see .ctf files,, wat should I do?! All I see is .bin files.. Please Help!!

  39. HELP! I’m having this same problem, but for some reason the download folder is empty. no bin or ctf files. tried uninstalling and reinstalling a new one but still there are no files.

  40. I have that same problem as ABA and krohnkites. I have checked that Iยดm seeing hidden files and I have even checked the \download directory from the command prompt and it is all empty. Whatยดs even worse is that I cannot access the AVG 8.0 download from that computer, while it is easily accessible from my other computers. Virus???

  41. hey i cant find the file to delete helppp guess i am not with it but i go to documents settings and all users but i cant find the rest please help

  42. Thank you for the help. I tried a suggest from another blog first and that didn’t work. That one suggested downloading Malwarebytes and then running the prog. Tried that and it didn’t help that problem. I have Vista and was frustrated when I couldn’t get to the correct files because all I could find were instructions for XP. Then I found your little Update at the bottom. Worked perfectly! Thank you so much.

  43. Thanks a lot, Dr. Mike! You’ve been a great help, my laptop is very much protected because my AVG is now updated!!! God bless & More Power!

  44. Well then I’m very happy that Doug left the comment for you as I haven’t installed Vista on any of my computers. They’re too old. Glad you got it working and thanks for the comment.

  45. Have you tried to unhide the files as mentioned up above? That’s probably why you;re not seeing them. What are you seeing when you look at that subdirectory?

  46. Thank you so much! I couldn’t find the “application data”, until I read it could’ve been a hidden file, after which I searched for hidden items and I found it. Thanks! =)

  47. just stumbled across this site. had the same problem, went to this site Link, went to ”AVG update issue – Invalid update control CTF file”, downloaded the utility, ran it. problem solved. this is a avg site so i felt better doing it this way. [Link fixed – drmike]

  48. Thanks for the comment. I fixed the link so folks could just click on it if they wanted to.
    To be honest though, I took a look at the website in question and it does the exact same thing that our fix here does. It deletes the *.ctf files that are causing problems, in this case it’s just a program that does so. Now, I don’t know about the rest of the folks here but it’s gotten to the point that I see that error a couple times a month. ITo solve it, I just pop open the directory and delete the files. If you use a program, you have to keep track of that program and where it is on your drive.
    Kind of a hassle if you think about it.
    What really needs to happen is that AVG needs to fix the issue so folks don’t have to deal with it over and over again. That’s the real fix to this issue.

  49. I’m not finding any .cfg files in the folder you mention. I have lots of .bin files. I have the folder set to make hidden files visible. Any other ideas?
    Bob Runyan

  50. Thanks for the comment. Check to see if you have any files without file extensions. That’s probably them. You can also use that program from the AVG site mentioned up above as well. In your case, that may work better than doing it manually.
    Hope this helps,

  51. I’m having the same problem as a few other people, I definitely have show hidden files and folders enabled but when I open the download folder it is completely empty.
    Please help.

  52. This works for everyone, even if you don’t have ctf files in your ~/update/download folder
    Anyone who is still getting this problem open the AVG GUI and click tools, advanced settings, go to the update section and click manage followed by Delete temporary update files. I didn’t have any ctf files in the directory specified so this is a more general solution, it seems to have deleted all the bin files from ~/update/download so that might work too as I think they are only temp files but I do not recommend that when the ever so slightly longer option is definitely safe.

  53. hello
    seems like my case quite difficult to solve.
    i had done the steps like you were mention above but still my avg can’t update automatically.
    i tried to update manually by downloading the update files through my friend’s notebook and transfer it into my laptop.
    but the avg still says “invalid update control CTF file”.
    plus,i was unable to go to any antivirus or antimalware sites.
    i do uninstalled and reinstall the avg back and then try to update.but it doesn’t get work.
    really appreciate if you have any suggestions.

  54. Comment #600 And Then Some

    Comment #600 goes to Magerine2 on the 50 Things NOT to do at Hogwarts post.  I missed Comment #500 in there somewhere but it;s been awhile since we hit #400.  We already have comment #601 with my follow up…

  55. Hi My problem is that i have downloaded and installed AVG ver 9.0 and not the old 8.0 version. The problem is same as above. It gives invalid control CTF error. Unfortunately i have followed your instructions however the download folder where the two .CTF files should be located is empty.
    I have un-hidden the folders, files and all of them are showing, yet the download folder is empty no files in them. I am not sure what to do but they dont show at all. I am not sure because i have Ver 9.0 maybe that why there is a problem. please advise. Thanks

  56. Hi Harry
    I have the same problem with AVG ver 9.0, i see you posted your note in June 2009. any suggestion did you manage to work it out. please email me.

  57. Hi there, as per some of the above comments, I have tried all the above options including showing hidden files. I’ve the searched for the specific file C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Avg8\update\download\ without success. When I search for this the result is a folder titled ‘ads’. The folder is empty. As a precautionary measure I re click ‘show all files’ as instructed, but the result is the same unfortunately. I have even tried downloading and running a zip search script for the .ctf files without success as well. Any further suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am running AVG 8. You also mentioned that the ‘show all files’ option may not be taking..i.e working. I suspect it is, because I am able to do random searches for other folders and files, which previously were not visible, but now are, so I am confident that the ‘show all’ has worked.. Thanks again.

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