Quick word of advice about ZoneAlarm

Just thought I’d make a quick mention about this issue to try and help someone else being bitten in the ass by it.

I have used a fully paid up version of AVG Anti-virus for a while, and I finally upgraded to their internet security suite. Now, my machine was running ZoneAlarm (even though I’ve been sat behind a NAT router and firewall for quite a while), so just in case my machine didn’t like the firewall in AVG, I decided I would be sensible and leave ZoneAlarm installed, just in case I needed to do a quick revert.

So, I removed ZA from the startup and promptly stopped the True Vector service and set its state to Disabled.

AVG was installed and appeared to be operating normally, with one exception… it said it wouldn’t do on-open scanning for spyware without the latest security patches, so off I go and bring my machine up to date… 68 patches (you can tell I’m not a huge fan of Microsoft’s update system).

Great I thought… updated security software… updated OS… everything is rosey :-D

How wrong was I!!! :-(

As soon as I’d rebooted, it became clear that something was very wrong… I could no longer synchronise my mobile phone… I could surf (for a while), I couldn’t resolve domain names… to put it mildly, my machine was right royally screwed.

I tried everything I could think of, and was getting so desperate that I actually uninstalled 58 of the 68 patches… I reinstalled ActiveSync… until I noticed something… during bootup, I was able to ping the machine, then it stopped responding… during shutdown, it suddenly became responsive until the card was stopped by the OS. Clearly I was dealing with something in the user domain, not the OS domain. The new AVG… I uninstalled that… no difference… ZoneAlarm

I uninstalled ZoneAlarm and suddenly everything sprang into life… domain resolution, ActiveSync… everything.

So, in conclusion, simply disabling ZoneAlarm isn’t enough to stop it completely cocking up your network stack somehow. You have been warned… if you no longer want it, uninstall it, because if you don’t it will screw you up big time.

Thanks a bunch ZoneLabs :-P

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