Dell Dimension 8300, 3.0 GHz P4, 2 GB RAM, 220 GB hard disk in Raid 0 format, Freecom 320 GB external USB Hard drive.

Last year I installed a Freecom external USB 320 GB hard drive, formatted and partitioned it and have been using it steadily ever since. I only turn it on when I need it, (perhaps once a week), and I use XP's "Safely Remove Hardware" icon in the System Tray to close it down before I turn it off.

Yesterday when I turned it on my ZA and network icons in the System Tray froze, although my internet access continued working, (I was listening to internet radio at the time and that continued to work). When I right clicked the ZA icon the pop up window was white and blank. When I double clicked the icon to open the ZA program window all I got was a white, blank window.

I was able to access the external hard drive and copy files across to it, but access and copying was slower. When I checked the Task Manager > Performance tab, I saw the CPU maxing out at 100% and in the Processes tab, vsmon and zlclient were each taking 40% to 50% of CPU time.

I couldn't close either of the blank windows, and when I tried to stop the USB drive through Safely Remove Hardware, it told me the process had failed.

All I could do was to turn off the USB drive, (something I was very nervous of doing), and reboot the system. When I did, the ZA Program window opened up fully.

I have started the USB drive twice since and got the same results.

Is this something anyone has heard of? If so, any advice what is happening and what I can do to resolve it?

I only use ZA Pro as a firewall. Both the anti-virus and anti-spyware are disabled. I have separate anti-virus, (AVG Pro), and anti-spyware, (Windows Defender, AVG Anti-Spyware and Spybot S&D), and have scanned with all with no infections found.

Hope someone here can help.

Many thanks,


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