Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SOFTWARE: Here Today, Comodo Gone Forever

I prefer ZoneAlarm to Comodo purely for familiarity of use reasons. I've tried both and Comodo, which is rated by a LOT of people I respect as being better, just isn't as easy to use for me as ZoneAlarm. So, when I ran the trial of Comodo back on Nuklon last year, I wasn't compelled to make the switch permanent. I went back to ZA.

Didn't think much about it until Popeye came along and, all of a sudden, I wanted to talk TO Nuklon from Popeye and do the reverse. The reverse wasn't an issue. Talking TO Nuklon was. I changed routers twice and then went to a switch, figuring it was a hardware problem. ALL software guys think ALL computer problems are hardware. What do the hardware guys think? Do you really think it matters to me?

Finally, Patrick was the one that noticed Nuklon was claiming to be running TWO firewalls. Okay, so I must have re-activated Windows Firewall during an update somewhere along the line. Stupid, but I've done worse. Nope. It wasn't WF and ZA teaming up to make Nuklon an orphan. It was my old buddy Comodo Firewall Pro doing it. And NOTHING I could do could exorcise this demon. Nothing!

I eventually emailed Comodo support. Well, THAT was just plain useless, a waste of electrons. No reply. Thinking back, it was Scot Finnie who convinced me to, at least, test Comodo. It was HIS fault. See how easy it is for software writers to create blame flowcharts? So, off to his site I went. Scot's not much into Windows these days. He's a mainly a Mac guy now with a sideline interest in fuel-efficient cars. He's still a good read at his blog, and despite the Comodo hiccup, I basically trust anything he writes. It's usually the result of some in-depth research. And besides, he has a forum that is just FILLED with smart people willing to help out chumps like me.

I registered and gained the right to post entries in the forum. Toughest part was picking out which section to detail my plight. I went for Security & Networking. Good guess. Within a day, I had help from a handful of people, including a detailed message from Striker. He or she (shouldn't be sexist now) spent two of her or his hours researching my problem. He or she went further into the Comodo help forums than I did. The first link I checked wasn't the solution, although it DID affirm what I found out earlier in the day. You CAN delete LEGACY keys in the registry by right clicking on the key, choosing PERMISSIONS and changing them there, before trying to delete them. NOTE: You have to have Admininstrator rights to do this.

Although I had already gotten rid of any OTHER key containing Comodo, I was able to find a CFPLog entry to deep six too. Doing it, and then rebooting, STILL didn't leave me Comodo-free.

Fortunately, Striker had NOT just stopped there. Another link to an entry by pandlouk in the Comodo forum was the solution to the nightmare.

This is a problem of Xp and not of the Comodo Firewall.
For resolving it:
  1. At the command line of windows XP "Start" ->"Run" enter the command "CMD.EXE" and press Enter.
  2. At the new window (Command Prompt window), type "NET STOP WINMGMT /Y" and press Enter. Then type "exit" end press Enter again.
  3. Then go at the folder C:\windows\system32\wbem and delete the folder "Repository".
  4. Reboot windows. The folder will be recreated by the Security Center and will display the correct information.
Comodo is now no longer a factor on my computer. References to it still exist in an interesting bunch of places. But as for the residual ghostly presence in my firewall defence ... not so much.

It's really wonderful when a perfect stranger like Striker reaches out to help a befuddled old coot like me. Makes me believe there's some worth in this internet thingie.

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