Be Alarmed by ZoneAlarm *UPDATED*

Saturday, 24 June 2006 at 23:14 13 comments

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If anyone who reads this is a ZoneAlarm Firewall user, be warned about their last two three updates: 6.5.722.0, 6.5.731.0 and 6.5.737.0. I have seen this problem on their forums, so i know it’s not just my computer falling victim to a bug (I run McAfee Anti-Virus, Windows Defender, Spybot, Windows Malicious Software Remover, a Wireless router Firewall AND ZA Firewall and my laptop is also only 2 months old).

After installing the latest update, Windows XP Home Edition will not be able to turn-off or restart cleanly. It will hang at the blue screen with Windows XP logo, forcing you to cut the power manually and risk harming hardware. But to make things worse, when you go to uninstall the harmful program you may be greeted by a warning that some .dll files are missing and uninstalling is unavailable. So finally, you may turn to the trusty System Restore option. Nope. That’s fucked too. It may look like the restore has happened, but when you log onto your individual username you will be greeted by the restore window saying that the restore was unsuccessful.

After running the built in Dell Diagnostics program, punching a few walls (and maybe even a little cry), i ran XP in Safe Mode and did a system restore that way. Finally, success! Luckily, i have been so paranoid about my computer crashing after my last one died, i invested in an extra hard drive, on which i save all .exe files of software i use, including old versions! So i am back running the old STABLE version, and keeping a close eye on the ZoneAlarm forums in hope of a new update being released soon.

So, be warned. AVOID the newly released 6.5.731.0, 6.5.722.0 or 6.5.737.0 version. If you have already fallen victim, Safe Mode and System Restore should sort it.

*UPDATE* After following failed advice from senior contributors to the ZA Forums on how to get ZA running again, and stupidly trying their newest update (6.5.731.0), i have given up with Zone Alarm as a Firewall provider.

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I went over to that gem-of-a-website, MajorGeeks.com. Go to their Top Freeware Picks. I am currently using Sygate Personal Firewall, and apart from aesthetics i havn’t noticed any significant negative differences to ZA. So, as it stands, i would recommend this FREE alternative.

*UPDATE* No suprise, but version 6.5.737.0 gives exactly the same results. Break the cycle, find a new firewall!

*UPDATE* Please see my latest post, Bye Sygate, Hello Comodo, for a firewall alternative to ZA.

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13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Harry  |  Monday, 26 June 2006 at 8:27

    Bloody hell you had me worried. If they know the problem why hasn’t the update been taken off of the net? Thankfully I’m on dialup, and have no hop of downloading updates longer than 2 hours. Dial up sucks, but a useless PC sucks even more.

    P.S. I’m surprised system restore actually worked!

    Reply
  • 2. carol  |  Saturday, 29 July 2006 at 20:38

    I had the problem on my computer but on my bf’s computer and my 2 laptops is working fine.
    On mine though,it hangs,it raises the cpu to 100% and it also conflicts with Live messenger8.
    I did the Restore and now i am waiting for a better update.
    It really drove me insane.

    Reply
  • 3. It's A Free World Baby  |  Saturday, 29 July 2006 at 22:24

    Try Sygate, it is as easy to use as ZA and it’s free.

    Reply
  • 4. carol  |  Saturday, 29 July 2006 at 22:45

    Oh,i have few alternatives,but when it comes about firewalls,Zonealarm is the best in my opinion.
    Just its antivirus is kind of ..”poor”.
    The bad thing about ZA is that is very buggy.
    Thanks though.
    Keep us posted.

    Reply
  • 5. It's A Free World Baby  |  Saturday, 29 July 2006 at 22:49

    Oh right, i didn’t realise you used the anti-virus too. I was always loyal to ZA before this, but two bad updates and no real reasons or help to fix them… They’ve had their chance with me and i’m a Sygate user now.

    Reply
  • 6. carol  |  Sunday, 30 July 2006 at 11:18

    What i am using is the za security suite,whcih has them all in one.
    Not to mention that i love their anti-spam filter.It cathes almost 98% of the spam.
    The engine of the entivirus and antispyware is old and it needs some work.
    All in one,is a good product and it doesn’t use as much memory as others.
    I’ll just wait for a new and non-buggy update.
    Gonna have a look to Sygate now.

    Reply
  • 7. Chuck  |  Thursday, 3 August 2006 at 0:53

    Version 6.5.731 caused my system restore to hold only 2 days of restore points, essentially making it useless. It was creating literally hundreds of 2MB files every day, filling up the System Volume Information folder where the restore points are kept. Took me many hours to figure out the new Zonealrm update was the culprit. I had to uninstall and then reinstall a previous version. I won’t be updating again anytime soon.

    Reply
  • 8. Thomas  |  Thursday, 17 August 2006 at 20:00

    I am downloading the Sygate Firewall now. I was surprised by ZA. They seem like such a together company. Perhaps they believe that you get what you pay for… I would argue that people aren’t going to be willing to pay for something when the free version doesn’t work. There are also so many hacks and cracks available for the full version that I have to wonder how good their developers are. If you look at a company like Adobe, they offer trials to their software, which for most users are difficult to crack. If you like their product you have to pay for it – however it does work. Sorry to get off the point. I just believe that if ZA wants to be taken seriously they should make sure that their software, including the free software – runs smoothly since that is the business the appear to be in – keeping your system running smoothly. I’ll let you know what I think of Sygate.

    Reply
  • 9. Thomas  |  Thursday, 17 August 2006 at 20:05

    sorry, i never had a problem with ZA until now with version 6.5.731. I didn’t have the shut down problems that some have described i just couldn’t get out on the internet without shutting down ZA. the only thing I really like about ZA is that it lets me know when my programs are trying to access the internet. If the Sygate does the same and is stable then I will use it. Also I have been using McAfee site advisor (free) and I really like it. Also Spybot S&D (free) and AVG antivirus (free) is also great. I am also testing a free imaging program Driveimage XML to see how well it does as allowing me to back up my enviorment.

    Reply
  • 10. It's A Free World, Baby  |  Thursday, 17 August 2006 at 21:08

    Yes, Sygate tells you when programs are trying to access the internet. It appears stabel to me, no crashes or bugs so far.

    Reply
  • 11. Orhan Dengiz’s BlogSite » I stopped using ZoneAlarm  |  Friday, 22 September 2006 at 15:55

    […] It’s a free world baby […]

    Reply
  • 12. sealwatcher  |  Monday, 16 October 2006 at 4:48

    I’ve had exactly the same problem -only not quite as severe. My computer doesnt crash but the shutdown process is very buggy after installing the updates. Very dissapointed in ZA.

    No solutions sorry, I just thought I would share your pain.

    Reply
  • 13. dan  |  Sunday, 31 December 2006 at 0:50

    I loved the last mcafee internet security center but after updated subscrip the new version is so dumbed down you cannot get the details you want its the old “AOL interface” brand new box sitting unused, got zonealarm and found it is also very hard to find what program is using bandwidth and how much, more dumbing down. Lots of big dramatic screens that leave you out of the loop and give no details, meanwhile the internet gets worse by the second

    Reply

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