Sunday, July 20, 2008

SOFTWARE: ZoneAlarm Gets Broken

If you are reading this, you are NOT having a problem with Microsoft Windows XP/2000 and ZoneAlarm. Otherwise, you might not have any connection to the internet whatsoever. But somebody you KNOW might be asking questions.

It all started with a phone call from my father on my birthday. "The internet isn't working. Mail too." I told him to wait awhile. Outages on Bell Sympatico are an accepted risk of using the telco's as your ISP. I remember when the telephone company demanded 99.9999 percent of up-time. Now I get the feeling they'd be happy at 94 percent pure. But I digress. About a half-hour later, Mrs. Slack from across the street called to tell me she was without internet and email too. I wasn't shocked. I told her to wait and give a try after supper. But then Bell should surely have the problem addressed. (By the way, Dad and Mrs. Slack had tried to get tech support and had given up, Dad after 17 minutes, Mrs. Slack after 30 minutes).

Dad tried at supper and failed. It was a short conversation since I had company (who were giving me gifts, the best kind of company!). Okay. It was time to go over and confirm the issue on Mrs. Slack's computer after the company left.

Turns out she wasn't on Bell. She was on Rogers cable internet. She had a modem that appeared dysfunctional. I unplugged it a couple of times, got the green powered lights, and then it slipped into standby amber mode. I called Rogers support. They told me to push the STANDBY button on the modem (It was a different model than MY Rogers modem). Oddly pushing the STANDBY button worked. I slunk back to my house, my computer expert status in tatters.

Dad called a while later and announced he'd fixed the problem. "Turned off Zone Alarm," he said accusingly. I, afterall, was the person who installed and insisted he use the product.

Which led to the investigation and discovery that the latest Windows update patches for July did Zone Alarm in. You can read about in the bulletin issued by Microsoft. Basically, if you are using Windows XP or Windows 2000, PLUS Zone Alarm, you need the latest ZA upgrade to fix the screw-up foisted on it by Microsoft. Disable ZA to get to the internet and download the file. It's a 46M download, so it'll take awhile. But running it directly upgrades ZA to be free of the latest Microsoft foulup.

I repeat. I KNOW YOU aren't plagued by this issue. But be best buddies with the uninitiated and help them get over their unconnectivity problem.

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