Since my previous post things went from bad to worse until my computer would freeze on bootup (XP pro) just as the desktop icons were about to be loaded. Absolutely dead in the water. (So removing Force Field was not the solution as I had hoped.)
In the hope that this may help someone avoid wasting a lot of time here's my experience:
1. My Environment:
Windows XP Pro with all updates
Firefox 3.5.5 (although I might have been running the beta version when the problems first started - I'm not sure because I reinstalled Firefox (3.5.5) hoping to fix the problem that way.
ZoneAlarm Security Suite current version ( and then updated with the "urgent" update - standard installation, not custom.
btw, I never purposely installed the ZA toolbar prior to yesterday, never saw it, didn't even know about it or force field - but there they were in my program directory after the "STANDARD" update!
Within a few minutes (5-10) of installing the ZA update I began experiencing the following problems (there may have been others but these are the ones I noticed):
Could not run multiple instances of Firefox which is normally no problem. If I closed FF it would not start again.
The search function (with the magnifying glass) in the upper right corner was totally unresponsive. I could type in it but pressing the enter key did nothing.
I could not load Yahoo or eBay pages which I suspect had something to do with the presence of Jave scripts on those pages - but I don't know for certain. (Most other web pages did load tho.)
I discovered that when FF would not restart, it was still resident and therefore had to be deleted via the task manager before it could be restarted. (And it would ask if I wanted to start a new session or restart the previous/"interrupted" one.......)
I suspected the ZA update so I shut done ZA which made absolutely no difference.
I googled a bit and learned about the Force Field problems with FireFox. So I deleted Forcefield from the task manager menu. This seemed to solve the problem although I can't remember why I thought that at the time (because it actually got worse after a short time.)
After fighting back and forth for a while and rebooting several times, the reboot process was no longer able to even load the desktop icons (which says to me that the problem goes deeper than a conflict with Firefox.)
Eventually, I rebooted in safe mode, found the ZA toolbar app in the Program list and "removed" it using the program manager. I rebooted and since then all the problems I have mentioned seem to be gone.
The ZA app itself is still running as it normally does (I hope). Forcefield is still deleted.
The toolbar app should not have been part of the standard dl especially because it was not (to the best of my knowledge) previously a default install. The update affected more than Firefox. I have disabled (I think) automatic ZA updates until they come clean about this.
Hopefully, this helps someone avoid the frustration of losing a day's work like I have.
Question: I have all the software - including downloads I have bought / used in the past 10 years stored by year in their original formats (not zipped,etc) on my computers. When I tried to find a previous version of ZA to roll back to, I was amazed that not a single one could be found anywhere...does anyone know if ZA removes previous copies when an update is installed??? Is this becoming a common practice with software vendors?
PS: Thanks to George V for your suggestion. Surely ZA has someone browsing these posts but if I don't hear from them in a day or 2, I'll call them directly.