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Windows Updates vs. ZoneAlarm

I installed the Windows Updates for July yesterday like you told us to and now I’m having trouble getting connected to the Internet. It seems as if the Updates changed something on my computer and I can’t get it to work right. Do you know anything about this? If you do, please help!

I was going to talk about this today anyway, so I’m glad you asked! And from the looks of all the e-mails I’ve received, you’re definitely not the only one having trouble. As you all know, in yesterday’s newsletter, I told you about the Windows Updates for July 2008. Like I always do, I urged you to install them as soon as possible, because they’re a guaranteed way to keep your computer safe. Well, due to the content of some of the changes this month, a few issues came up, but don’t worry, we’re going to take care of them today. Let’s go!

First of all, I’m willing to bet that if you had trouble with the Windows Updates, you’re also using the ZoneAlarm firewall program. Am I right? Soon after the Updates were released, it was found that they caused a conflict with ZoneAlarm. It caused so much havoc that many users were unable to connect to the Internet. What a nightmare!

One of the Updates included changing the way your computer handles DNS requests. After your computer adjusted to the update, ZoneAlarm was left out in the dark, because it couldn’t recognize the change. Therefore, the only thing ZoneAlarm knew to do was block traffic. And that obviously caused all kinds of problems for many people. It seems as if Microsoft didn’t notify firewall manufacturers about the DNS update, so they didn’t have time to prepare for it. Yes, it’s unfortunate, but there are a couple things you can do in the meantime.

To begin, you should never disable your firewall completely. So, even if you’re having trouble with ZoneAlarm, do not turn it off. Instead, it’s a good idea to change your Internet Zone Security setting from High to Medium. Doing that should allow you to get back on the Internet for the time being. Then once Microsoft and ZoneAlarm come up with a patch, you can change the setting back to High.

If you simply want to wait until a patch is released, you can disable ZoneAlarm, but make sure you have another firewall to use in its place. You can either download a new one, get one from another vendor (such as Norton or McAffee) or you can use the Windows Firewall by going to Start, Control Panel, Security Center, Windows Firewall. Just make sure you have some type of firewall set up on your computer. Otherwise, you’re putting yourself at risk for even more trouble.

That’s pretty much all the information I have for you right now, but it does sound like both Microsoft and ZoneAlarm are working on a fix for this issue. I will continue to keep you updated as any more news comes through. Hang in there, my friends. Everything will be back to normal soon!

~ Erin