Chromium - Avira Scout browser tips and tricks

UPDATE: Avira Scout/Chromium: Tips and Tricks

Sometimes you can run into issues when using Chromium or Avira Scout, which is based on Chromium. Read on to learn about some solutions to several of these issues.

1. Avira Scout/Chromium and the Adobe Flash plug-in

As Chromium and Avira Scout have a different plug-in interface to other browsers such as Firefox and Internet Explorer, the Flash plug-in which works with Firefox and other browsers does not work here. That said, Adobe offers a plug-in for Chrome/Chromium and Opera which supports the Chromium/Scout/Opera plug-in interface (the PPAPI interface).

Windows users can download the plug-in from https://get.adobe.com/en/flashplayer/. The first thing you need to do here is to click on “Need Flash player for a different computer?”. You then select the operating system in step 1, then the version for Opera and Chromium – PPAPI in step 2. You then just need to download the file and install it. In Windows, Chromium and Avira Scout detect that the appropriate Flash plug-in is available and they load it automatically.

If you have installed the suitable PPAPI flash plugin and want to test it in Scout or Chromium, just visit this page: www.adobe.com/en/software/flash/about. If your browser does load the flash plugin correctly, it will show you a small flash animation as well as the plugin version.

Scout and Chromium might not display flash content automatically in the future anymore. In case this should come to pass you can go to “chrome://plugins” and can check the checkbox “Always allowed to run” for the flash plugin. You then won’t be asked again if you want to display flash – it will be done automatically once more.

Because flash is a security risk that really should not be underestimated we advise you to not check the checkbox “Always allowed to run” without being really sure. If you do not need flash at all you can always increase your safety by uninstalling flash completely from your PC.

 

For an overview of Chromium/Scout plug-ins, enter “chrome://plugins” in the address bar (Omnibox) and hit the enter key.

2. Avira Scout/ Chromium video and audio codecs

By default, Chromium from Chromium.org and Avira Scout only support free codecs such as OGG or V8. Chargeable codecs such as MP3 and h.264 are not supported. This means that you can’t currently use Chromium and Avira Scout to view a number of video portals like Netflix as the aforementioned h.264 codec is required on this portal as well as many others.

Avira is working on a plan that allows us to offer h.264 and MP3 support with Avira Scout; there are still a few hurdles to overcome first, though. This means you can’t currently use Chromium or Avira Scout to enjoy MP3 or h.264 streams.

For an overview of several codecs and to see if your particular browser supports them, visit: www.youtube.com/html5

3. Avira Scout/Chromium display issues

A number of graphics cards/graphics drivers may cause display issues when using Chromium or Avira Scout. These issues can manifest themselves in different ways:

  • Some website elements are displayed incorrectly
  • Everything is displayed in white

As you might know, a white font on a white background isn’t all that legible. 😉 What’s more, the problem occurs more frequently with virtual machines (VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation, etc.).

One potential workaround is to deactivate hardware acceleration in Avira Scout/Chromium. You can do this as follows:

  • Enter chrome://settings in the address bar and hit the enter key
  • Enter hardware acceleration in the Search settings box on the top right
  • Uncheck the box Use hardware acceleration when available

If you can’t do this as you can only see a white font on a white background, another command line option will help you out:

  • Start Avira Scout/Chromium using the command line (Terminal)
    • In Windows, enter  “C:\Program Files (x86)\Avira\Scout\Application\scout.exe”  –disable-gpu” in your terminal and hit enter.
    • If your Windows is a 32 bit system, use  ” “C:\Program Files\Avira\Scout\Application\scout.exe”  –disable-gpu” instead.
    • Don’t forget the inverted commas, they are needed.

Once you have done that, you can uncheck the “Use hardware acceleration” checkbox in “chrome://settings/search#hardware“.

4. Security and privacy protection extensions/add-ons

Among its many extensions, Avira Scout includes Privacy Badger and Avira Browser Safety (ABS) to protect your privacy. This means you’re already well protected as a regular user. If you want to beef up your protection even further, add an ad blocker. Personally, I recommend uBlock Origin or Adguard. One day, Avira Scout may come equipped with an ad blocker, but for the moment you need to install one yourself.

Personally, I always recommend installing an ad blocker – and on every browser. Advertising is a key gateway for malware, trojans, and spyware, so you should definitely defend yourself against ads using an appropriate browser extension (such as uBlock Origin or Adguard). I always install uBlock Origin and Avira Browser Safety whenever I’m starting up a fresh Chromium installation.

And if you’re using public hotspots etc., you should also install HTTPS Everywhere – something Avira Scout also comes with by default. HTTPS Everywhere uses an SSL encrypted connection whenever possible. SSL encryption prevents others from spying on your Web activities when using public hotspots.

If you are interested in what Avira Autopilot can do for you, stay tuned: We will soon release a dedicated article and link it here as soon as it is available.

5. Other useful info

For a list of the many Chromium/Scout command line options, click here. Further settings can be accessed by entering “chrome://flags” in the Avira Scout/Chromium address bar and hitting return. That said, you should change these settings if you know what you’re doing.

If you want to delete your current browser profile to create a blank default profile the next time you start the browser, you’ll find the needed directory at “C:\Users\<USERNAME>\AppData\Local\Avira-Scout” or “C:\Users\<USERNAME>\AppData\Local\Chromium”. In Windows, you can only delete these directories when the particular browser is quit completely.

Deleting the profile directories deletes all user-installed browser extensions and saved passwords, etc. As such, you shouldn’t delete them hastily. Avira Scout reinstalls the Avira extensions, Autopilot, Privacy badger, and HTTPS Everywhere the next time you start the browser after deleting the Scout profile.

Scout installs Privacy Badger by default but does not enable it because Badger can potentially break websites. You can activate Privacy Badger via the autopilot. A link to a more information concerning autopilot can be found here soon.

 

Updated: Feb. 2017

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