Question: ZA Pro sees notepad . exe as malicious program ?

Howdy all,
I am a noobie here and was wondering IF anyone has seen this before ?
I have searched with five or six different titles trying to find any reference to this and found nothing so ..... I am putting this thread up to see if there is any experience with this and whether or not I need to put this poor machine out of its misery.

I Have Win XP Home running as my OS and Zone Alarm Pro as my firewall.
The other day [day before yesterday Jan 14 08] I tried to open notepad to save a note for myself and Blink I get a warning from ZAPro that notepad is a malicious program and has been prevented from opening.

I am pretty sure that notepad isn't a malicious program or I would have noticed something in the last few years of using it.
My guess is that I have become infected with some kind of malware and was wondering IF anyone has ever heard of anything like this before ?

I have been surfing the web for several years and haven't heard of anything like it.
I will do the HJT thing and ask for help from any and all over there as well.

Thanks for your attention,

On another board I asked this same question and they wanted to know if my antivirus and or antispyware had caught anything.
here is my response to their questions.

Antivirus = AVG Free no probs ....
AVG Anti-spyware = no probs ....
Spybot S&D = no probs ....
ZAP Anti-Spyware = no probs ....

I don't use windoze updates so .... no updates lately 3 months +/-
I do update my firewall and security programs weekly.[see list below]

Link pointed correctly? = yep at least the shortcut on my quick launch is or I THINK it is.
[see below]
No. I don't use the run command to open it.
I use a shortcut I put on my quick launch bar and I have a desktop shortcut as well.
I will try to run it from "Run - Command" and see if I get the same error message.
YEP same message =
"Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item."
AND ZA Pro puts up a warning that "Notepad is a malicious program and has been prevented from running on your machine." {I swear I can hear it snickering too ....}
When I go to the program permissions page on ZAPro notepad is there alright but listed as a trusted program with all its access open and accepted. This is blowing my single brain cell....
On the properties for the desktop notepad shortcut it says .....
" Target = %SystemRoot%\system32\notepad . exe

I don't remember IF I ever read the path info before I started having problems with my notepad program. Might be the shortcuts are flummoxed ?
Nope. If I go to the program folder and click on the .exe I. still get the "No You Can't" message.

Now IF I TURN OFF ZAPro notepad works like normal.
It is ONLY when ZAPro is on I have this problem.
Is that weird or what ?

List of Security Programs I use and update weekly;
Zone Alarm Pro
Zone Alarm Anti-Spyware
AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
AVG Anti-Spyware
AVG Anti-RootKit
Spybot S&D
Spyware Blaster

See anything in there that I have missed ?

Thanks for the interest BTW


Operating System:Windows XP Home Edition
Software Version:
Product Name:ZoneAlarm Pro