Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 13, 2010
I’ve always liked Zone Alarm a lot. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this, it’s a firewall program, free or paid, that blocks signals from activating nasty things on your computer, as well as hides your ports. It also prevents programs that get onto your computer that you don’t know about from loading without your knowledge. I mentioned it in my post on Best Free Software almost a full year ago, along with Comodo, another free firewall program.
I hadn’t been able to use it ever since I got this computer last December because the computer was 64-bit, and Zone Alarm hadn’t decided if they were going to go that route. Lo and behold Windows 7 came out, was 64-bit, and Zone Alarm, knowing it was coming, saw the writing on the wall and came along into the future. Still, I didn’t immediately load it. I decided to add it two weeks ago when, for whatever reason, Comodo, which I’d been using, stopped updating itself. I went to the forums, and it seems the only thing I could do was unload it and load the updated version. I decided if I had to unload it I might as well pop Zone Alarm on.
I loaded Zone Alarm and it was a snap. I saw that they had added some goofy toolbar, and I’m not one of those people who likes adding all those stupid toolbars from all these programs so I told it I didn’t want it. Unfortunately, it seems that if you tell the program you don’t want it that it loads it anyway, just doesn’t show it. I didn’t know that at the time, and only learned about it this week.
Why did I learn about it this week? For whatever reason my Palm suddenly wouldn’t sync with the computer. Also, Firefox started acting really goofy as well. At times it would suddenly stop working, and when I closed it, seems it wouldn’t fully close. Then I would try to reboot the computer and that wasn’t happening either. I was getting this message saying “forcefield.exe” was preventing the shutdown.
Forcefield? You know I started wondering which alien force had invaded my computer, or whether there were some superheroes battling bad guys. I finally looked it up and it seems that’s the program Zone Alarm loads onto your computer as the toolbar. And, for whatever reason, it messes things up drastically. I went into “msconfig” and told it not to load anymore, yet when I rebooted, there it was again. I finally thought to check my Programs area in control panel, and there it was, all the way at the bottom. I uninstalled that, and things have been great ever since. My main concern was that Zone Alarm would still work, and it seems to be working just fine.
Since I’ve recommended the program I figure it’s time to remind you of the underline. If you see a blue underline, that means it’s a link to a product. Zone Alarm is free as a firewall, but you can also purchase the product as it also has an antivirus and anti-spyware program that’s part of the paid product. And, of course, there are some other products; gotta take advantage of those special words here and there, right?