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Zone Alarm 6.0 update: beware!

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Zone Alarm 6.0 update: beware!

Old 08-04-05, 09:53 AM
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Zone Alarm 6.0 update: beware!

For those getting auto-notifications to upgrade to the new 6.0 version of Zone Alarm, beware, since it seems the ZA has rushed out what virtually seems like a beta to the public. This is a major upgrade from the very stable 5.5 which now incorporates spyware protection a'la Microsoft's AntiSpyware. However installing it will give you major headaches or maybe even an unusable machine. I installed it on my machine (XP Pro), and after the required reboot it would freeze at the blue Welcome screen. The only way to log back in was to go into safe mode and uninstall ZA 6.0, after which the computer started up fine.

Take a look over at the Zone Alarm forums to get a gist of the issues with this release.

I've tried the other firewall programs, but always ended up back with Zone Alarm Pro and I'm using 5.5.094 and it works great, though they dropped the ball on this 6.0 upgrade.
Old 08-04-05, 10:20 AM
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many thanks ... i'm actually on the phone with a friend of mine that is an IT director ... he hosed his machine.

Last edited by ChiTownAbs, Inc; 08-04-05 at 10:23 AM.
Old 08-04-05, 10:32 AM
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Thanks for the heads up.
Old 08-04-05, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ChiTownAbs, Inc
many thanks ... i'm actually on the phone with a friend of mine that is an IT director ... he hosed his machine.

Does he run McAfee Enterprise virus protection? It craps out on a fresh XP Pro install I just did. Software firewall and virus scan are the two first programs I put on a build and once McAfee Enterprise 8 went on, I get the logon lockup. Remove ZA via safe mode, it works fine. That was my particular issue, but it seems to be just the tip of the iceberg. ZA should leave the beta-testing in house.
Old 08-04-05, 11:42 AM
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Thanks for the head's up. I'm still convinced the last update slowed my machine a bit so I'm waiting to see how this new one does.
Old 08-04-05, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by zuffy
Thanks for the heads up.

Agreed. I'll be on the lookout.

What's it supposed to fix? Or is it just a general update?
Old 08-04-05, 12:21 PM
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It's supposedly a major upgrade (v5 to 6), mostly due to the addition of the active Anti-Spyware features and scanners as well system monitoring (registry/startup change notifications, etc.). Looks like they're trying to keep up with Microsoft AntiSpyware and Lavasoft's Adaware Pro, which already offered those features. ZA's web page currently seems to be a little f'ed up navigation wise but here's a direct link to the new features:

Zone Alarm Pro 6.0 upgrades
Old 08-04-05, 01:43 PM
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I'm using Zone Alarm 6 on all my machines - havent' had a problem. But I WILL go look to see the forums to see if I have any watchouts.
Old 08-04-05, 01:53 PM
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I would recommend not using ZoneAlarm in any case. I've never had a machine that ZoneAlarm would not break in some major way. No release has been bug free, and frankly, if you're behind a NAT and have virus/spyware protection on the PC anyway, ZoneAlarm is basically worthless.

Do yourself a favor, just dump it and switch to real protection instead of pretend protections.
Old 08-04-05, 02:30 PM
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I don't use it for protection in house as I'm behind a hardware firewall. I just want to be notified when something wants to get out to the internet and the previous versions all worked well in that capacity. It works fine as a firewall when the laptop is out in the open as well.
Old 08-04-05, 05:54 PM
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I never had good experiences with ZoneAlarm.
Old 08-04-05, 06:07 PM
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I've never had bad experiences with ZoneAlarm. I will be on the lookout for this update, though.
Old 08-04-05, 06:34 PM
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I have 5.5.094.000 and the "check for update" feature does not show an upgrade to 6.x. I've never had any problems with Zone Alarm and don't see a reason to change.... yet.

Thanks for the heads-up on the update bug. I'll make sure I don't let it update automatically.

Otto: You don't seem to care for Zone Alarm, yet you don't offer any alternatives for those (who are not behind a NAT) in your post. Please be helpful and share your personally tested suggestions as a replacement & why they are better. We would appreciate your advice!

Sonic

Last edited by Sonicflood; 08-04-05 at 06:37 PM.
Old 08-04-05, 06:49 PM
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I've never had a problem with ZA either, until last night when v6 installed. My machine seems generally stable, but no matter what I do I can't send and receive e-mail through a POP3 server unless I disable ZA. I'll be dropping back to 5.5 tonight.
Old 08-04-05, 07:27 PM
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I have ZA 5.5 something with Antivirus and it says nothing about 6.0 when I try to update. I did go to their web site and saw 6.0 was available to download. I guess something to look out for if it tries to install.
Old 08-04-05, 08:11 PM
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I got the notification yesterday, but just selected remind instead of install, since I didn't want to do a reboot. Glad I did. Looking at the Zone Alarm forums, you'd think armageddon was coming to pass. Don't the developers test these things out before releasing??? Even worse there seems to be no acknowldgement from ZA there. A shame, as I've never had any issues with their firewall before.
Old 08-04-05, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Sonicflood
Otto: You don't seem to care for Zone Alarm, yet you don't offer any alternatives for those (who are not behind a NAT) in your post. Please be helpful and share your personally tested suggestions as a replacement & why they are better. We would appreciate your advice!

Sonic
Well, I can't speak for Otto but I don't care for ZA either. I'll throw in some alternatives though.
1. Outpost - my personal favorite.
2. Lock n Stop.
3. Kerio.

And to heat up things, I don't believe a NAT/hardware firewall is enough. Protection should go both ways - in and out. Or at least to monitor how your applications work. For example, if I'm testing an unfamiliar software, I'd like to know how often it attempts to connect to the net. It might be do so for a good reason, or it might not.
Old 08-04-05, 09:36 PM
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I just use the Windows XP Service Pack 2 Firewall. It works fine for me.
Old 08-04-05, 11:00 PM
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I downloaded Zonealarm 6 independently and did an install (upgrade) rather than letting zonealarm do it for me.

I don't know if that's the difference, but ALL my machines installed 6 without a problem.

And I've only had a problem with zonealarm once - on one upgrade in early 5 when it interferred with bittorent downloads

other than that - it's been great.

i don't deny all the installation issues - just that I haven't had them --- THIS TIME.
Old 08-05-05, 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Sonicflood
Otto: You don't seem to care for Zone Alarm, yet you don't offer any alternatives for those (who are not behind a NAT) in your post. Please be helpful and share your personally tested suggestions as a replacement & why they are better. We would appreciate your advice!
Okay. My advice is get a NAT or a hardware firewall.

Seriously, if you have a PC directly connected to the real live internet with no filtering, you already messed up. You need a hardware firewall of some sort to filter out malicious packets in the first place. A NAT isn't a firewall, as such, but it does filter out a lot of worthless crap, so it's well worth it.

For most people, a NAT or a firewall with inbound blocking is good enough. If you tend to run lots of untrusted software, then you want something with outbound blocking/logging as well, and again, I recommend a hardware solution. Software like ZA which does that real-time notification stuff is nice as a toy, but it slows the system down too much and inserts itself into too many places in the network stack to be reliably stable. A hardware solution will cost a bit more, but it doesn't change the operation of the computer in any way. You'll have less overall problems with regards to stability by keeping network stuff on the network and not on the individual PC's.

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