I could not reply to my thread titled "Hard freeze up / HP Deskjet890C printer /ZAP 8.0.015" so wanted to post a resolution in case it might help anyone else.
I have finally identified what the problem is. I used a recommendation by someone on the Zone Alarm User Forum, to use the Windows XP Process Explorer as it gives more information than Task Manager. (It's a free program available from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/s.../bb896653.aspx)
After printing to the printer, the Process Explorer showed that "hardware interrupts" were taking about 70% of the CPU and that "winlogonin.exe" was taking about 30% and the PC was frozen hard.
When I used Task Manager only, it showed that winlogin was taking 100% after I printed to my HP Deskjet 890C printer. What made me think it was Zone Alarm Pro was that when I printed to that printer with only Zone Alarm Pro loaded, the printer froze. After I printed anything to that printer, I tried to load Zone Alarm and it also froze. Turns out, that if I did nothing at all after printing and just waited, the computer also froze hard and had to be turned off via the power button, which can do damage in more ways than one to the computer.
That hardware information in the Process Explorer was very helpful to me because seeing that there were hardware interrupts involved, I decided to go back step-by-step to re-check every single change or patch that had been made on my computer since the time when I knew that the printer worked correctly, which was 8/23/2008. I also had a problem with Zone Alarm Pro that day (TrueVector service kept crashing) that caused me to look at the Windows Update site where I downloaded a couple things - thinking that maybe they would solve the crash with Zone Alarm Pro. (My first mistake!!!)
It turns out there was a driver update to the MOS Chip PCI parallel port drivers that I downloaded on 8/26/2008 from the Windows Update process. The drivers were dated 4/4/2008 version 184.108.40.206 (digitally signed). The update as listed on the Windows Update site is:
"MosChip Semiconductor Technology Ltd - Bus Controllers and Ports - PCI Parallel Port
MosChip Semiconductor Technology Ltd Bus Controllers and Ports software update released in April, 2008"
I rolled back the drivers listed under Control Panel / System / Device Manager in 2 different places as follows:
Under "Ports/Parallel Port (LPT3)": rolled back the 4/4/2008 driver to previous version, which was 2/22/2002 version 5.0.2183.1.
Under "Multifunction / PCI Multi-IO Controller": rolled back the 4/4/2008 driver to previous version, which was 8/31/2002 version 5.0.2183.1.
Now, all is well again with my printer. I have also sent a message to Tech Support at Zone Alarm and at HP, who were both trying to help me. I've also notified Microsoft and the vendor of the chip drivers.
Operating System:Windows XP Home Edition
Product Name:ZoneAlarm Pro