ZoneAlarm Problems

I’ve been a big Zone Alarm fan since you first introduced me to it. That is until a simple upgrade turned into two weeks of "unable to access the Internet Hell".

After replacing my DSL modem (no Help) and finally reformatting & reinstalling Win 98 SE, I discovered the little gem below on Microsofts help site under "unable to access the internet". Check out what you have to go through to make sure that ZoneAlarm and its underlying TrueVector service are not running

1. What do I need to know before uninstalling or upgrading ZoneAlarm or ZoneAlarm Pro?

To upgrade ZoneAlarm or ZoneAlarm Pro, it is not necessary to uninstall your current version of ZoneAlarm or ZoneAlarm Pro.

– Step 1. The most important step in uninstalling or upgrading is to make sure that ZoneAlarm and its underlying TrueVector service are not running. If TrueVector is left running, certain files may not be removed or replaced. Note that shutting down ZoneAlarm from the system tray icon only shuts down the user interface.

To unload the TrueVector Service, go to the Configure panel and uncheck the box labeled "Load ZoneAlarm at Windows startup" or "Load ZoneAlarm Pro at startup." If this box is grayed out, open the Internet Logs directory (in 95/98/ME this will be "cwindowsinternet logs", in NT and 2000 it will be cwinntinternet logs), where you will find a file called "iamdb.rdb" and a file named after your computer with the ".ldb" extension. Delete both of these files.

If you are unable to delete these files, you’ll need to boot into Safe Mode in complete the task at hand. —- Don Nelson

Thanks, Don. As ZoneAlarm has gotten more complicated, it’s had more problems. Oddly, the people at ZoneLabs don’t seem to be aware of many of these issues.

I don’t think it’s a smoke screen: The people there I deal with seem genuine and concerned. But their tech-support problem-reporting tool is both hard to find on their site and hard to use, and so I think many people who run into trouble never tell ZoneLabs, leaving them in the dark.

I asked the ZoneLabs people for a special "LangaLIst-only" mailbox so that readers who have had trouble with ZoneAlarm could more easily communicate with the company, but ZA declined, stating that, "I’m afraid we can’t set up another support route as it wouldn’t enter the support queue as quickly and that is ultimately, where the questions need to go. However, we are very interested to see the reports for more detail."

I still think ZoneAlarm is an excellent tool overall; I run both the free and the Pro versions here in my office, and I still recommend it: For most people and most setups, it works fine.

But it clearly can be made better: If you have trouble with ZA, I suggest you use the web-based problem reporting tool so ZA will know about the problem.

To save you the hassle of trying to find the reporting tool on their site, here’s the direct link:

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Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.