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Thread: Backup/Restore/Retain Security Settings during Upgrade - Work for you?

  1. #1
    solardude Guest

    Default Backup/Restore/Retain Security Settings during Upgrade - Work for you?

    As a user of ZA for about 4 years I'm wondering if anyone has ever had any luck restoring security settings from a backup .xml file, or even managed to upgrade their installation without losing all the rules, customized site permissions
    etc. laboriously built up over a period of months.
    I sure haven't, not once. And needless to say, tech support has never shown any serious interest in the problem so now I just accept as a matter of course that I'm going to start over again from scratch.
    I'd be better off with a utility that would print out a summary of my settings without the overhead of the .xml packaging, so that I could enter them again manually.

    Just curious to know if I'm in the minority for whom this doesn't work, or whether Backup/Restore and Upgrade
    is collectively some kind of cruel hoax.

    Operating System:Windows XP Pro
    Software Version:7.0
    Product Name:ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite

  2. #2
    hammernu Guest

    Default Re: Backup/Restore/Retain Security Settings during Upgrade - Work for you?

    I've just starting doing it several months ago and it works just fine. The only time it's not recommended is when you're having unusual problems with ZoneAlarm (slow operation, missing buttons, etc.) .This indicates database corruption so you wouldn't want to restore your database settings in a new version.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Default Re: Backup/Restore/Retain Security Settings during Upgrade - Work for you?

    Works okay for me but.....
    I first install the ZA and do a few things and make a backup.... do a few more things and make another backup........ do a few more things and make another backup.... and so on.

    Eventually I get all the used/needed programs listed and have all the Expert rules set up in the Firewall. Expert in the Firewall includes allowed MACs, ports and IP for the dns and dhcp, allowed and blocked ICMP, and for the time server, and internet connections and of course blocked ports (troyans and weak points) and blocked protocols. And make another backup. But keep making backups as I work through the procedure.

    Then I start the Expert for the Applications. But instead of manually editing each one, I cheat. I create four seperate variations of the application expert, so I find four different applications with four different needs for internet/networking
    - one application/rules for just the localhost
    - one application/rule localhost and the local area network
    - one application/rules for just localhost and dns and internet access
    - one application/rules for the localhost, dhcp, dns, ping and the internet access
    all with a block rule in the final rank.
    Then I make a backup. Then edit the backup and copy and paste the various rule sets from the four different programs to other applications and save this edited backup as another backup.
    This is fast and is a lot easier than manually doing each and every application through the ZA itself.
    Then I restore the backup in the ZA and check over the newly added application expert rules in the ZA and do a few touch ups or removals of some rules. Then create another backup.

    Hey not finished yet...
    I then open the final backup and start adding block rules for the zones. It is still easier to create an xml format for the backup and just add things in big list of blocks then manually adding individual blocked sites and ranges to the ZA. I probably have over two thousand entries in the firewall as it stands now. Then you guessed it... save as another backup.

    Once the ground work is finished and everything is set up, I always then make a backup every couple weeks or so. If something does go wrong, I always have a correct and most recent backup for recovery from a database reset. It that one is found to be corrupt, then the one previous backup before that one usually is okay to use and my settings are never lost.

    ZA Pro 5.5
    Best regards.

  4. #4
    hammernu Guest

    Default Re: Backup/Restore/Retain Security Settings during Upgrade - Work for you?

    Wow !!!

  5. #5
    solardude Guest

    Default Re: Backup/Restore/Retain Security Settings during Upgrade - Work for you?

    Wow indeed.
    I repeat: it never works for me. Whenever I backup settings and attempt to restore them - even immediately as a test -
    ZASS claims the file must be corrupt. Gee, I wonder who corrupted it...
    I just chose the "upgrade" option while
    installing 7.0.438 this morning. Might just as well have
    a clean install, since
    all my previous settings are toast. Now that I have a clean slate (ahem) with just a few minor changes, I
    tried a backup and restore and it actually did work. Amazing. I suppose I could try backup/restore every day until it breaks, then maybe I could see where exactly the problem occurs... since the program itself doesn't provide any clue as to what it choked on, and ZA tech support expressed no interest in looking at my backup files either.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Default Re: Backup/Restore/Retain Security Settings during Upgrade - Work for you?

    Next time make the backup and immediately restore. See if it works.
    Then zip folder the backup for safe keeping and make sure windows does not compress the file. This will do two things - if windows experiences a mini crash or some issue, then windows will always corrupt certain files (this includes all .xml files on the drive) and this includes the ZA .xml files plus it maybe the windows compression of the file is corrupting the file. (Actually I turned off compression of files as I have two drives on the desktop running plus a usb backup drive and have tons of space left over.)
    If the ZA .xml file gets corrupted from the mini crashed or windows hiccups, windows will be able to re-write it's files, but the ZA cannot do this for the backup file. Sometimes the ZA can't even do it for it's own running/installed .xml files (leads to a database reset or a re-install).

    Make sure all of the Microsoft XML Parser and or the Microsoft XML Core Services updates are applied to your windows. It could be a windows improperly handling the .xml files causing the problem.

    It could even be a third party scanner corrupting the file when it does the resident or on demand scan.

    Do not have any other opened .xml or notepad or wordpad or word or text editor open when either backing up or restoring. Or have any networking programs open such as IM or browsers at that time.

    If it is windows doing strange things then do a system file check and get all the windows updates installed. And do a complete disk check (boot time check) as this too is indication of corrupted data files and programs issues. And of course a defrag.
    You may want to check the RAM as a bad mem is also indication of corrupted files and program issues. Sometimes even overheating of the internal hardware does strange things.

    Now try it and see what happens.

    I have made mistakes in the manual editing of the backups, usually something misspaced or some syntax error or a typo. But I can usually find it and fix it or jump back to the previous backup and keep going.


    Message Edited by Oldsod on 07-23-2008 03:00 PM
    Best regards.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Default Re: Backup/Restore/Retain Security Settings during Upgrade and another trick

    This advice works for the ZA free users as they have no built in backup and restore options in the ZA GUI. But it will definitely work also for any ZA paid versions.
    I am actually very surpised that the Technical Support never told you this trick as this is one of the oldest tricks around for ZA users and is fairly well known among the ZA community.
    Here goes:

    Open the windows in the safe mode or the safe boot.
    Open the WINDOWS\Internet Logs folder.
    Copy the iamdb.rdb and the backup.rdb files (you could include the *user name* - *numbered* .ldb file but it is not really needed, just those two .rdb files are what is important).
    Then move the files to a place for safe keeping and rename them or after renaming move back to the Internet Logs folder for finding them quickly when needed in the future.
    Just adding the .bak file extension after to the end of the usual file extension of .rdb is enough to make the files silent (like iamdb.rdb.bak). Some people will add the date when the files were copied (like 07_23_08.iamdb.rdb.bak). Some will add the .txt file extension instead (like iamdb.rdb.txt).
    These files are what the ZA uses when it is running for references of all it's functions and setting. So this is basically an image of the settings and rules and configurations of the ZA.

    Okay now you got the copies of the files saved. This is good and do this process often as needed or wanted.
    The next time you have to do the database reset of the ZA and start over, just start windows in the safe mode or safe boot.
    Open the WINDOWS\Internet Logs folder and delete the ZA/s iamdb.rdb and backup.rdb files and clean the recycle bin. Now move the saved iamdb.rdb and backup.rdb files over to the Internet Logs folder and remove the previously added file extensions and/or dates.
    Or if the renamed files are already saved in the Internet Logs folder, then change the files to the original names after deleting the corrupted files and cleaning the recycle bin.

    Now after the reboot into the normal boot, the ZA will assume the settings and configuartions of the just restored files. No loss of settings or un-neccessary starting completely fresh if you keep making copies of the those two files for safe keeping.
    You will always have a good useable ZA setting available.
    There are lots of ZA free users making backup this way every month or two (well the free has less settings and configurations to bother with). So if I was a paid user using this method, I would definitely be making the backups with shorter time periods such as every month or ever three weeks.


    Message Edited by Oldsod on 07-23-2008 03:26 PM
    Best regards.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    The 3rd Coast - South Central Texas

    Default Re: Backup/Restore/Retain Security Settings during Upgrade - Work for you?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><HR>solardude wrote:
    Wow indeed.I repeat: it never works for me. Whenever I backup settings and attempt to restore them - even immediately as a test -ZASS claims the file must be corrupt. Gee, I wonder who corrupted it...
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Wow! Indeed, Sorry, I agree with Guru OldSod, The ZA Backup Function has always worked for me..and I have Installed dozens for Types and Versions of ZoneAlarm, Free, Pro and Security Suite on my 4 Computers..for both WinXP and Vista..The Only exception is with the ZAFree version, that does not include the Backup of Settings, so you must improvise, and Use Windows backup or another Brand of HD Backup.. :-)The Usuall Suspect that corrupted your Computer is the one with Access to your Keyboard..
    My XP SP3 :
    ZoneAlarm Security Suite version:7.0.483.000
    TrueVector version:7.0.483.000
    Driver version:7.0.483.000
    Anti-virus engine version:3
    Anti-virus SDK version:
    Anti-virus signature DAT file version:955730962
    Anti-spyware engine version:
    Anti-spyware signature DAT file version:01.200807.4245 &lt;== Not Updating Yet
    AntiSpam version:

    Message Edited by GeorgeV on 07-23-2008 04:24 PM
    ZoneAlarm® Extreme Security

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  9. #9
    solardude Guest

    Default Re: Backup/Restore/Retain Security Settings during Upgrade - Work for you?

    Backup and immediately try restore has always been my routine.
    To be fair, I have now backed up and restored successfully on this machine twice - albeit having started recently with a clean slate thanks to ZA's inability to hang onto my settings when I updated to 7.0.483.
    With regards the Microsoft XML stuff, I'm running XP SP3 with all critical updates installed, and Windows update has nothing for me in the way of optional software updates that appears remotely related.

    I genuinely appreciate your time and your attempt to help. But FWIW let me
    provide a little perspective. My first PC was a 10MHz &quot;Turbo&quot; XT clone that I built from spare parts out of the back of the computer store where I worked parttime after graduating from an electronics program at college. The
    keyboard I'm bashing on now is connected to my production machine. I work on the thing typically 40 to 50 hours / week -- when it isn't busy -- and THEN I do personal stuff. The nature of my work is such that I
    often generate bazillions of files. I use automatic background defragging, and I maintain two complete clones of my drive at all times, 'cos I tend to wear them out in a couple years.
    None of this is meant to impress anybody - I still wouldn't claim to be an expert by any stretch, nor
    would I ever be dumb enough to swear that there's nothing wrong with my system -
    but if
    files were being corrupted, I would generally find out pretty
    I just booted my wife's machine to see if I could do a backup/restore there, since I've yet to update her to 7.0.483 and I want to capture settings before ZA smokes them. She uses her machine for a few hours, a couple times a week. There's practically nothing on it.
    has, like,
    sites in her
    list. Settings backed up, and.... restore failed. Nothing else happening on the machine (apart from the usual background tasks of course).
    I don't have
    background defragging on her machine (it ain't justified) and I just built the machine for her four months ago. So tell me, what have I done to deserve this?
    I had a peek at
    her XML file and it seems like a monster to me considering the nature of
    her usage. All I want to do is restore
    her basic configuration and the customized sites -- which I will likely do by taking screenshots and typing it back in, since it'll
    be less hassle that way.
    Strangely enough the project that I'm working on right now involves editing XML. Thank gawd it's a whole lot smaller file...
    BTW, I notice when ZA backs up settings, the timestamp is 5 hours earlier than my system time. Do they use GMT or something?

  10. #10
    solardude Guest

    Default Re: Backup/Restore/Retain Security Settings during Upgrade and another trick

    That post is worthy of preservation on mashed fibre of tree. Thanks.

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