6 CommentsZoneAlarm Nightmare

by Caty at 10:30 am Posted in News & Update, Reviews

I have encountered a bad experience with the update of ZoneAlarm on 21st Jan, this was a total disaster and thought of sharing with all here in case anyone has run into this situation.

As usual the ZoneAlarm has informed me about the latest update of build 70_462_000, I have in fact having trouble to update it since the build of 70_362_000. Every time it hung my system after the installation and I have to boot up to safe mode to uninstall it. I had to revert back to the older version every time this happen. Therefore after build number 70_362_000, I have decided to give this a halt and wait for next new update. And there it was, the latest 70_462_000. That was the day where my nightmare has begun.

I installed the latest build and the same old scenario happened all over again, installed and system hung, restart several times and system still unstable, finally after the 4th attempts, I went into safe mode again to uninstall it and re-installed the older version again. To my horror, the next day when I tried to open my Photoshop, an error window popped up and said: Your Adobe Photoshop® user name, organization, or serial number is missing or invalid. The application cannot continue and must now exit.

I was panic and not sure what to do(I didn’t suspect ZoneAlarm at that time), search the web to find out if anyone has the same issue, the arrow all pointed at Adobe. So I decided to uninstall my whole Creative Suite and start afresh. I was even more panic this time to find out under the Add/remove program, there weren’t any “Remove/Change” buttons for most of my installed softwares, this included all Adobe softwares. Well the first thought was to call Adobe support. I called up the the tech support 4 times, each time they direct me to tried out different things to try to resolve the problem. Well, all efforts had no avails. I was desperate and helpless. Can anyone imagine a day without Photoshop in a web designer life? A total disaster to me!

I continue searching on the web again, and this time, trying to find out more about the missing “Remove/Change” button of the Add/remove program. To my surprise, I was not the first one who had such problem, I searched further and found out that someone has encountered the exact same situation after a bad installation of ZoneAlarm. Aha, the culprit found! So it was none of Adobe’s fault. But how can I resolve this problem? I was pulling my hair at the time. 🙁 I could not find any good solution from the web then I come to a conclusion that I have to bite the bullet and re-install my Windows XP, the worst case, reformat my computer.

On day 3 when I started to put in my system XP installation disc, there came another problem, lol, the installation could not proceed and it said that my CD drive was not found. My gosh! I landed up in calling the Dell support this time. The Dell support staff Raymond was very supportive and patience(thank you Raymond), he suggested I should do a clean reformat of my hard disk instead of just reinstall my OS(where my motive was to reduce the process of the system installation to minimal), while he was guiding me along and waiting for the computer start and restart, I was grumbling about the whole process of re-formating the drive/reinstall the OS and all other devices drivers etc, then this brilliant guy stop me for a new suggestion. He recalled that my system does come with the Symantec snap shot of the factory setting which can restore my computer to the default factory setting state. He said this would only take about 15 mins and of course I was extremely happy and accepted his advice. And while doing the steps, well, in fact there was only 1 key to press:Ctrl+F11 when the computer startup, lol and it took only about 5 mins or so, the whole system restarted and default back to the brand new setting as when I first received the computer. Of course all my data were gone but I had already make a backup before doing all this. This save me a great amount of time to re-install the OS and all other drivers. What a relief, the Add/remove program problem was of course resolved. Most important, the installation of Adobe products went through like a breeze. 🙂

Well, no more nightmare and sleepless night and this also means that I will avoid ZoneAlarm from now, at least for a long long time…

Hope this help to provide some info for anyone who has the similar problem. You are welcome to post your thoughts here.


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#6 Caty

wrote on Sat December 27th, 2008 at 11:26 am

I do understand your pain. I have since then switched to Norton 360, guess there will be no more ZA for me.

#5 John Butkans

wrote on Fri December 26th, 2008 at 7:00 pm

The newest free ZA release is an unmitigated nightmare and disaster that has caused me untold horror and frustration over days. It blocked my internet access. But I didn’t know this at 1st. If only I had read this blog 1st!
I did from soup to nuts, and nuts to soup, to regain access. Repair reinstalls of XP Pro, and the extremely time consuming and frustrating problems I encountered each time updating Windows. I fought hurdle after frustrating hurdle here.
But that’s another story/issue to do with Microsoft’s incredibly buggy, bloated, overpriced OS’s. Someday the full truth will come out as to what Bill Gates really sold to the world. I digress… and yet Windows updating extreme difficulties were an integral complicating part of my ZA caused difficulties, as it turned out.
RevoUninstaller would freeze repeatedly as ZA refused to uninstall the many times I was wrong enough to try it again, in the process of troubleshooting. Again, I wrongly tho’t the problem had to lay elsewhere. That was my underlying error thro’ this whole long, sorry process of getting my ‘puter back to normal.
Again, if I’d only read this blog, or similar 1st!
Anyway, ZA that I’ve used for yrs, and promoted, stays off my ‘puter till further notice.

#4 Caty

wrote on Tue April 1st, 2008 at 9:32 am

I think the easiest way to do away with any system reinstall is to first use a disk imaging utility(search in Google and you will find plenty of them) to make an exact image of a hard disk and restore the image back to its healthy state. What I am aware is that Dell computers are preloaded with Factory-created Recovery Image just as in my case where I can restore my system with a Ctrl+F11. I am not sure with other computer brands but I guess those newer computers should have this feature pre-installed now.

I have also tried out with the Backup and Restore utility from Windows XP but it did not work out as intended in my case, despite after setting several restore points successfully but I failed to restore any when disaster struck. However I haven’t have the chance to try out the XP advanced backup utility where you can backup the entire system but be prepare to spend more than an hour depending on the disk capacity of your computer.

Another info is that Windows Vista Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise come with Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore that allows you to create an image-based backup of your computer that can be used to restore your entire PC environment, including the operating system, installed programs, user settings and data files.

#3 Tomaz

wrote on Mon March 31st, 2008 at 3:20 pm

Perhaps I have phrased my question incorrectly. I was wondering if you had found any solution that would NOT involve reformat and reinstall of the system?

#2 Caty

wrote on Mon March 31st, 2008 at 10:34 am

I have bookmarked this site: cyberwalker.com/topic/36#ref-rein-win95, where there are details of reformat and reinstall the Windows system. Hope this help.

#1 Tomaz

wrote on Mon March 31st, 2008 at 2:06 am

I was just wondering, have you actually come across any alternative solution to a system reinstall ? I poked around ZoneLabs forums and Google, but didn’t find any relevant pages.

Best regards

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