Zone Alarm


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Rating: Needs some work


I believe this program to be quite effective in blocking unwanted access to my computer, however since installing it I have been unable to download the full Microsoft Update page, i.e. the right-hand section of the page which should tell me which updates are required for my computer remains blank. As I do think I need the Critical Updates, for security reasons, I uninstalled ZA and found then that I was totally unable to access the Internet, i.e. neither Outlook Express nor Internet Explorer functioned. I had to reinstall ZA and am now not in a position to get critical updates.

I have tried the following to remedy the ZA problem:

As soon as I realized that after installing ZA I was no longer able to download the MS Critical Updates page, I posted the problem on three forums, one of them Ask Me Com. I got some suggestions which did not solve the problem. One expert commented that he frequently hears about problems with ZA.

So, I uninstalled ZA as much as I was able to according to rather involved instructions posted on the ZA webpage. I then found myself unable to access the Internet. My ISP spent an hour with me trying to solve the problem, as I thought that I may have unwittingly changed some settings. The opinion was that ZA must have taken some part of a program with it when I did the uninstall.

After reinstalling ZA everything worked fine again, except the MS Critical Update Page. It seems to me that ZA is not permitting my computer to send data to MS. So I tried to uninstall again. Immediately after using the ZA Uninstaller that comes with the program (before doing the additional deletes which Zonelabs recommends) I was once again unable to access the Internet.

I then wrote to Zonelabs asking for help. I got a reply a week later which did not really address the stated problem e.g. that I am no longer able to access the full MS Critical Updates page, but it explained that MS Critical Updates Notification can make rather frequent requests and I can either delete it or allow it server rights. By saying “Yes” when ZA asks if I want Critical Updates Notification to access the Internet, I believe I am giving it server rights.

I wrote back to Zonelabs requesting further assistance and am waiting for a reply. In the meantime I reinstalled ZA and went to more forums, including PC911. I found more requests for help with much the same problem.

I have also checked my IE 5.5 security settings, i.e. set them to “Default”, just in case. I have also checked that I have in ZA the security settings low enough to allow Internet access to MS services.

I have downloaded the Zonelabs PDF file to see if I can find an answer to my problem – no luck. While waiting for further help from Zonelabs, I am trying to glean some info from the MS Support Knowledge Base.

As you can see, I have tried quite a lot, but as I am not a computer expert I may have missed something somewhere and at present it seems to me I may have to reformat and start from scratch again. I guess, I’ll give Tiny Personal Firewall a go.

In the meantime I have just solved the problem regarding accessing MS Updates. In ‘Configure’ – I unchecked ‘On Top During Internet Activity’ and voila! But the uninstalling problem remains!


I finally sorted out the uninstall troubles. The problem arose because I attempted to uninstall according to directions as posted at the Zonelabs site. I quote:

“Step 1. The most important step in uninstalling … is to make sure that ZA and its underlying TrueVector service are not running … To unload the TrueVector Service go to the Config Panel and uncheck the box labeled: “Load ZoneAlarm at Win startup …” etc. etc.

I did that, and after that I applied the uninstaller program that came with ZA, only to find that I could no longer access the Internet. Well, finally I omitted the infamous Step 1 and used just the uninstaller and presto everything is working OK. I think that ZoneAlarm would benefit from better Help Files.

Submitted by: Elisabeth Macho

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