Launcher and LauncherHelper direct download for quarantined files

Ryan Douglas

Administrator
Staff member
Various antivirus (AV) software packages have been incorrectly flagging portions of our software as infected with a virus (read more about that here). It seems to mostly be affecting the DVD & Tower editions of RealFlight, not the Steam edition, so that's what this post addresses.

******
UPDATE: We believe we have a more permanent solution to this problem now which is currently available as a public beta update. But if you were affected, you may not be able to update at all until following the directions below.
******

The typical victims are not the main RealFlight application but a couple of side applications: the RealFlight Launcher and LauncherHelper. Sometimes one or the other is flagged, and sometimes both.

When that happens, the AV software usually quarantines the application(s) in question, meaning it removes it from its original location on your disk and shuffles it into a dark corner where it can't run or do any harm. That's supremely useful when it's right and is saving you from actual danger! When it's wrong, it can be frustrating or worse.

The thread referenced above contains some instructions for restoring applications after Windows Defender quarantines them, and suggests that other antivirus software should have some similar options. However, some users have reported that they don't have the option to restore the applications after quarantine. They're apparently just gone forever.

Unfortunately, users in that situation have no good way to recover. We are working on a better long-term solution to stop the false detection in the first place, but in the meantime, if you've tried the normal restore options to unquarantine your file(s), you can now download an installer package below that will replace them for you.

The Launcher and LauncherHelper that it contains have been digitally signed with a certificate that should help prevent them from being quarantined in the future.

Note that if you chose to install RealFlight 9 somewhere other than the default location, when you run the installer package below you will need to modify the installation path accordingly. Be sure to read the notes it presents after it starts up.


Version Compatibility
I've done a careful review of Launcher changes between recent versions and determined that the latest one from 9.50.024 should also be safe to use for 9.50.015 and 9.50.021. (This isn't always the case; sometimes it would be very bad to mix & match versions of the applications!)

However, if you're running 9.0 and not 9.5, stop here. You need more help, and these instructions do not apply to you. Similarly, if you're running a version later than 9.50.024, do not continue. (Hopefully versions after 9.50.024 will no longer experience this problem! If they do, I will update this post as needed.)

Downloading and Installing the Files
  1. Hopefully it will no longer be a problem, but you may want to tell your AV software to allow/ignore the Launcher and LauncherHelper to help reduce the risk of these files getting quarantined all over again.
    • The RealFlight Launcher lives here:
      C:\Program Files (x86)\RealFlight9\Launcher9.exe
    • The RealFlight LauncherHelper lives here:
      C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\KnifeEdge\LauncherHelper9.exe
  2. Right-click the link below and save the file (SignedLauncherFiles.exe) to your disk, then run it.
  3. Because Windows and some browsers are especially distrusting of executables downloaded from the Internet, you may get yet another warning when you try to run this installer. Unlike the original problem, it's not because it sees something it thinks is a virus. It just wants to caution you about running something you grabbed online, which can indeed be dangerous.
    • Browsers vary, but if Microsoft Defender SmartScreen complains, click "More info" and then "Run anyway" as shown in the attached images. (It may also suffice to simply run it a second time.)
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Ryan Douglas

Administrator
Staff member
I have updated the above post. Things to note:

The replacement Launcher and LauncherHelper are now contained in a friendlier standalone installer so you don't have to download them separately and manually place them into protected areas of your disk.

The replacement Launcher and LauncherHelper are still the versions from 9.50.024, but they are now digitally signed to help mitigate problems in the future.

A new public beta where all the applications are digitally signed will be released in a few minutes.

I understand a recent McAfee change has caused a couple Steam helper applications to be flagged now as well. A Steam public beta update will follow later today containing signed versions of those applications.
 

SPQR33

Member
Ryan: It tried doing the download from your link. seems that I and perhaps many others who have these issues are coming from MS Edge or Google Chrome browsers. Neither of which have any manual security settings. I still kept internet Explorer active on my machine, and all went as planned. thank you for helping us get these critical RF9 updates. I hope it all now works.
 

SPQR33

Member
Quick follow-up. Using Internet Explorer allowed the download. The new RF main screen showed the available update. The online registration worked fine, and the new 9.5.024 install went well. Ran the sim; it all works just as it should. My thanks for all of your help.
 

Standouglas

New member
Various antivirus (AV) software packages have been incorrectly flagging portions of our software as infected with a virus (read more about that here). It seems to mostly be affecting the DVD & Tower editions of RealFlight, not the Steam edition, so that's what this post addresses.

******
UPDATE: We believe we have a more permanent solution to this problem now which is currently available as a public beta update. But if you were affected, you may not be able to update at all until following the directions below.
******

The typical victims are not the main RealFlight application but a couple of side applications: the RealFlight Launcher and LauncherHelper. Sometimes one or the other is flagged, and sometimes both.

When that happens, the AV software usually quarantines the application(s) in question, meaning it removes it from its original location on your disk and shuffles it into a dark corner where it can't run or do any harm. That's supremely useful when it's right and is saving you from actual danger! When it's wrong, it can be frustrating or worse.

The thread referenced above contains some instructions for restoring applications after Windows Defender quarantines them, and suggests that other antivirus software should have some similar options. However, some users have reported that they don't have the option to restore the applications after quarantine. They're apparently just gone forever.

Unfortunately, users in that situation have no good way to recover. We are working on a better long-term solution to stop the false detection in the first place, but in the meantime, if you've tried the normal restore options to unquarantine your file(s), you can now download an installer package below that will replace them for you.

The Launcher and LauncherHelper that it contains have been digitally signed with a certificate that should help prevent them from being quarantined in the future.

Note that if you chose to install RealFlight 9 somewhere other than the default location, when you run the installer package below you will need to modify the installation path accordingly. Be sure to read the notes it presents after it starts up.


Version Compatibility
I've done a careful review of Launcher changes between recent versions and determined that the latest one from 9.50.024 should also be safe to use for 9.50.015 and 9.50.021. (This isn't always the case; sometimes it would be very bad to mix & match versions of the applications!)

However, if you're running 9.0 and not 9.5, stop here. You need more help, and these instructions do not apply to you. Similarly, if you're running a version later than 9.50.024, do not continue. (Hopefully versions after 9.50.024 will no longer experience this problem! If they do, I will update this post as needed.)

Downloading and Installing the Files
  1. Hopefully it will no longer be a problem, but you may want to tell your AV software to allow/ignore the Launcher and LauncherHelper to help reduce the risk of these files getting quarantined all over again.
    • The RealFlight Launcher lives here:
      C:\Program Files (x86)\RealFlight9\Launcher9.exe
    • The RealFlight LauncherHelper lives here:
      C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\KnifeEdge\LauncherHelper9.exe
  2. Right-click the link below and save the file (SignedLauncherFiles.exe) to your disk, then run it.
  3. Because Windows and some browsers are especially distrusting of executables downloaded from the Internet, you may get yet another warning when you try to run this installer. Unlike the original problem, it's not because it sees something it thinks is a virus. It just wants to caution you about running something you grabbed online, which can indeed be dangerous.
    • Browsers vary, but if Microsoft Defender SmartScreen complains, click "More info" and then "Run anyway" as shown in the attached images. (It may also suffice to simply run it a second time.)
I screwed around for 2 days with this. After updating from 9.00.013 to 9.50.024 with my virus (McAfee) disabled the installation is trashed and won't load. I have to reinstall from the CD.
 

SPQR33

Member
Standouglas: Sir: Please review my previous post " (1) Plan R-F 9.5 Install soon. | Knife Edge Forums " , and my posts above for a solution to your issues. I always prep my machines for any big install. I have Norton360, the most invasive virus pkg ever. I believe that both Norton and MacAfee create viruses just so we become dependent on their expensive software. If you have either one, you have the option to disable the built-in Win-7 or Win-10 Windows Defender firewall. Running both will cause major issues. However, I have updated to MS Edge and Google Chrome browsers, as some banking accounts / web site don’t like Internet Explorer. Well, I got RF9.5 (on CD as 9.5.015) to install, and run, and it will fly. But no way to update to 9.5.024. I did all Launcher9.exe, Launcher9Helper.exe, and that initial Norton warning of HUER setup file as Exclusions manually in both of my Norton toolbox exceptions lists. Didn’t make any difference, even if I ran “ msconfig “ to turn everything off. Seems that both MS Edge and G-Chrome browsers have their own built-in Windows Defender sensitive firewalls, but they both don’t have a toolbox to turn their security stuff off. I suggest that you use only Internet Explorer, or find a machine with it, and do the above mentioned Signature download update, as " Signed Launcher and LauncherHelper for versions 9.50.015 - 9.50.024 (knifeedge.com) ", to a thumb drive, and install it over your current RF9.5 install if you got it running. I began my computer usage way back in 1967 with IBM’s new 360 punch-card machines. Since then, this computer stuff has been an uphill battle. But, I can fly my actual RC plane with all features and functions as the real thing. It is worth the effort. Good luck.
 

TomC

Active member
I found I needed to disable Malwarebytes Browser Guard (which I think is a very good ad blocker) on my Chrome browser before I could apply this launcher fix. This allowed me to update from .024 to .031 fine. I had updated to .024 fine before but this was before I installed Malwarebytes Browser Guard.
 

BK-COCO

New member
A new public beta where all the applications are digitally signed will be released in a few minutes.
I am attempting a new install of Real Flight 9.5 (purchased but not yet installed and activated). Is the latest announced RealFlight 9.50.031 with the signed executables available in a 9.5 installer download yet? The version I downloaded at end of last week does not appear to be any of these latest updates for the anti-virus blocking problems. Could you please tell me where I can get an updated installer package with the signed files and please post a SHA256 hash of the download file so I can validate (assuming the 3+ GB self-extracting wrapper is not already signed)?

It would be great for people's confidence in this situation to post hash values on a secured page for all the latest versions of the executables you distribute so people can check authenticity. Signing ALL of the executables, including the initial download installer, is certainly best strategy, but you already missed that boat and distributed unsigned files. Users have no way to check if those files were modified by someone after they were posted for distribution. The v9.5 installer download was (and currently is) from a non-secure (no TLS) server page, so it's hard to just trust. I'm currently holding off on installing this purchase until this get straightened out. I'm not going to turn off my anti-virus to install this software, would rather return for refund.
 

Met-How Flyer

New member
Ryan,
I purchsed a 2 disc DVD of RF 9.5 from Tower. I loaded the program and it crashed. I got notice to turn off the AV program. Against my better judgement, I turned it off (WIN10 Defender, all up-to-date) and then reloaded the progran and it did load and then I updated it thru RF to .031. All was good for a few days and then it started doing odd things..not loading certain planes, putting up screens not called for, etc. I uninstalled the progran, ran Defender scans and Malwarebites, both of which turned up TROGANS. The only online connection the progran had was with the update, .031.

I agree with BK-COCO and think that Knife Edge should not release anything unless it passes testing, is secure, signed and will run correctly.
I have RF5.5, 6.5, 7.5, 8, & X. All of these programs loaded, updated and run correctly and are BUG FREE.
I must say that I like the RF9.5, but I have requested a refund from Tower.
Knife Edge Software needs to get it right and not ask the customer to re-install, de-bug, and mostly... turn off AV!
Thank You Turn off AV???? Not good!
HTF
 

MXRIDERKTM

New member
I’ve just purchased 9.5 but now I’m nervous to try and install on my new system.
The bottom line - is the download the best way forward over the disks and is it safe.
I won’t disable AV.
 

TomC

Active member
I’ve just purchased 9.5 but now I’m nervous to try and install on my new system.
The bottom line - is the download the best way forward over the disks and is it safe.
I won’t disable AV.
Nothing wrong with either version. However, even with the disks you will need to use the internet to register and update software. Personally I did not have to disable Win10 defender/firewall. I just needed to disable an ad-blocker I was using (Malwarebytes Browser Guard). After installation/update of my RF9/9.5 download version I have had zero problems. I have done full defender and malwarebytes scans and I have not seen any problems.

Honestly, if you believed every negative comment on user forums you would not buy anything, lol!
 

MXRIDERKTM

New member
Nothing wrong with either version. However, even with the disks you will need to use the internet to register and update software. Personally I did not have to disable Win10 defender/firewall. I just needed to disable an ad-blocker I was using (Malwarebytes Browser Guard). After installation/update of my RF9/9.5 download version I have had zero problems. I have done full defender and malwarebytes scans and I have not seen any problems.

Honestly, if you believed every negative comment on user forums you would not buy anything, lol!
Thanks, for the reply. Yes I agree about forums!
 

BK-COCO

New member
I’ve just purchased 9.5 but now I’m nervous to try and install on my new system.
The bottom line - is the download the best way forward over the disks and is it safe.
I won’t disable AV.
The software downloaded installer might be safe, might not. Without either KE signing the installer or publishing file hashes of the installer on a secure website, there is no way to verify that the software installer you have is the same as everyone else and has not been tampered with after it left the original developer's hands. The downloaded software installer file is still hosted on a non-secure (no TLS) server connection. Hard to trust anything downloaded off the internet with zero authentication these days.

I received my requested refund of my online purchase, and will wait for KE to properly digitally sign the installer, sign all the executables that are installed, and host the download over TLS. Then, I'll consider purchasing again.
 

marcushh777

Well-known member
I’ve just purchased 9.5 but now I’m nervous to try and install on my new system.
The bottom line - is the download the best way forward over the disks and is it safe.
I won’t disable AV.
You have another option; dedicate a gaming laptop ( I recommend the Dell G5 15 5500 ) to your Rf9.5 flight simulator, and don't worry about it.
I have more money invested in my real airplanes and controllers, than I do in this gaming notebook. I decided to dedicate a computer to the simulator ( also netflix, amazon prime, and some Win32 api work ) but primarily this system is not used for anything "important," if you will (no finances, banking, NSA, stuff like that).
I also removed all third party AV from this system (only Win10 defender and firewall) and I removed Cortana!
So, this machine is my flight simulator 98%, the only Windows machine I own, and if it gets hit with a trojan or worm or something, I'll scratch it and reload (no problema).
The other thing you can do for yourself (and your system) is stay off the porn sites; that's where 97% of all malware comes from... not some bloke intercepting the Rf9.5 exe.

marcus
 

marcushh777

Well-known member
i wish i could do this. I only have my work PC and can not control the virus software.
There are way cheaper ways to do this than my route... used notebooks on ebay for instance... make sure it has at least two cores, and NO amd ATI Radeon GPU. Windows 7 or 8 will be fine too... and then, only use it to fly on... this is what my dad did... and his machine cost himself cents on the old dollar. Get a local Geek (like me) to help you build it.

marcus
 

cubmanky

New member
There are way cheaper ways to do this than my route... used notebooks on ebay for instance... make sure it has at least two cores, and NO amd ATI Radeon GPU. Windows 7 or 8 will be fine too... and then, only use it to fly on... this is what my dad did... and his machine cost himself cents on the old dollar. Get a local Geek (like me) to help you build it.

marcus
im an IT guy, I just don't have access into the virus software.
 

marcushh777

Well-known member
im an IT guy, I just don't have access into the virus software.
I think you misunderstood me... I mean, build your own machine! Well, start from a limited mach running Win7; use an NVidia card, and dedicate the thing to RealFlight. DONT put AV software on it... only put it on the Internet to update or import, and just fly it off-line, worry free, and AV free... my dad did this, and he has a ball with his.

PS edit: get the base machine on-line from ebay... I wouldn't spend more than $200 for it...


marcus
 

cubmanky

New member
I think you misunderstood me... I mean, build your own machine! Well, start from a limited mach running Win7; use an NVidia card, and dedicate the thing to RealFlight. DONT put AV software on it... only put it on the Internet to update or import, and just fly it off-line, worry free, and AV free... my dad did this, and he has a ball with his.

PS edit: get the base machine on-line from ebay... I wouldn't spend more than $200 for it...


marcus
I have an old desktop unit that would run it, but trying to get it on my laptop lucky i have connection with the person over the virus software
 
Top