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Thread: How I (sort of) fixed the "ZA still initializing" problem

  1. #1
    ZA4me Guest

    Default How I (sort of) fixed the "ZA still initializing" problem

    I have XP home (with AVG free) and fought this issue for quite a while where ZA would sometimes never completely start up (it would just stay on "initializing"). The problem seemed to happen about every third startup, sometimes every other time. At times though, I could restart 4 or 5 times and it still would not work.

    I finally started doing this, and it is working. If I get the message that it is initialing, I open up my AVG User Interface (via the symbol on the taskbar), open up "tools" and "advanced settings," then click on the "Resident Shield." I disable that function.

    Then I restart, and Zone Alarm ALWAYS comes up okay. So then I immediately go in and reactivate the resident shield.

    Clearly ZA and AVG aren't playing together nicely sometimes. (And I did download the fix from here that was suppose to fix the issue, but it did not seem to work.)

    Anyhow, just thought I would post this here in case someone else is having the same problem. Maybe this will work for you. It's a bit of a hassle, but nothing compared to restarting the computer 5 times.

  2. #2
    keithhalonen Guest

    Default Re: How I ALSO "sort of" fixed the "ZA still initializing" problem

    I just loaded the freeware ZoneAlarm 9.2.102.000 and encountered this problem. I agree it seems to be a conflict between ZA and the antivirus app, in my case Avira Antivir Personal, the freeware version. I may have solved this in another way and I think other antivirus programs may offer an equivalent parallel to the screens I used. If time proves me wrong, I'll return here and admit my error.

    First I pressed the key combo CTRL\ALT\DEL to launch Windows Task Manager. Under PROCESSES I spotted zlclient.exe. I have seen this file inside the ZoneAlarm folder in Program Files. I checked there again to make sure and also saw zonealarm.exe. The latter is the program file that launches ZoneAlarm and I presume the former to be an active process since it is listed in the Task Manager PROCESSES window.

    Then I launched the user interface for Avira Antivir Personal and clicked CONFIGURATION to load the dialog screen for preference settings. Under GUARD I selected SCAN\EXCEPTIONS, where I can instruct Antivir GUARD to ignore certain processes and file objects. The screen offered one of those elipsis (...) browse buttons to locate the files I wanted to add to the EXCEPTIONS list. I browsed to C:\Program Files\Zone Labs\ZoneAlarm and selected zlclient.exe. Then I pressed ADD to add it to the Processes Exceptions list so that Antivir's realtime GUARD would ignore it. I did the same to add zonealarm.exe to the list in case that might be the offending culpriit.

    I repeated those two actions to add the same files to the File Objects Exceptions list. And finally, I clicked on APPLY (very important - or the revised settings won't "take") and then I clicked on OK. Hopefully, I would be able to restart the computer and Antivir's GUARD would ignore ZoneAlarm altogether. It worked and I've tried it again a few times successfully. So far, so good. Again, I am hoping there are EXCEPTIONS lists in AVG and other antivirus dialog screens where ZoneAlarm users can also add these files/processes to the ignore roster. As I said earlier, if it turns out I'm barking up the wrong tree, I'll be back to retract.
    Last edited by keithhalonen; February 12th, 2011 at 02:07 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: How I ALSO "sort of" fixed the "ZA still initializing" problem

    Quote Originally Posted by keithhalonen View Post
    I just loaded the freeware ZoneAlarm 9.2.102.000 and encountered this problem. I agree it seems to be a conflict between ZA and the antivirus app, in my case Avira Antivir Personal, the freeware version. I may have solved this in another way and I think other antivirus programs may offer an equivalent parallel to the screens I used. If time proves me wrong, I'll return here and admit my error.

    Finally, I repeated those two actions to add the same files to the File Objects Exceptions list. Hopefully, I would be able to restart the computer and Antivir's GUARD would ignore ZoneAlarm altogether. It worked and I've tried it again a few times successfully. So far, so good. Again, I am hoping there are EXCEPTIONS lists in AVG and other antivirus dialog screens where ZoneAlarm users can also add these files/processes to the ignore roster. As I said earlier, if it turns out I'm barking up the wrong tree, I'll be back to retract.
    Thank you for your Feedback..

    So far it looks like you did good..

    Here is one Precaution I would recomend..

    I would also recommend that you NOT run ever more than ONE (1) antivirus and (1) firewall at the same time.

    There are no known conflicts between AVG and Avira products and the latest ZAfree on default XP sp3 installations.

    However, Running multiple security tools on the same computer will eat system resources and have application fighting each other for resources, cause conflicts at each update of application and finally blocking each other at the time of malware infection and cleaning.

    Thanks..
    GeorgeV
    Last edited by GeorgeV; February 13th, 2011 at 05:19 AM. Reason: typo

  4. #4
    keithhalonen Guest

    Default Re: How I ALSO "sort of" fixed the "ZA still initializing" problem

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeV View Post

    ...would also recommend that you NOT run ever more than ONE (1) antivirus and (1) firewall at the same time.

    Running multiple security tools will eat system resources and have application fighting each other for resources, cause conflicts at each update of application and finally blocking each other at the time of malware infection and cleaning.
    Sage advice, GeorgeV, thanks. I run ZoneAlarm as my only firewall - always have. I disable the Windows Firewall in Services. Also, I do not use ZA's antivirus features. My only AV is the Avira Antivir Personal freeware program. I like freeware programs and applaud CheckPoint for keeping the freeware ZA available. It is a bit more hands-on, of course, than the retail version. This is true of most freeware apps but I feel they keep alive some of the original spirit of sharing that characterized the Internet in its earliest incarnations.

    Incidentally, I have restarted my machine a couple times since posting without having the "ZA still initializing" issue reappear. Also, I edited my post to add an admonition to finish off the changes to the Avira Configuration GUARD Exceptions screens by clicking on APPLY (a must to make the changes "take") and only then to click on OK.

    Thanks again for posting that advice. As you point out, running multiple firewalls and/or multiple antivirus apps can cause multiple conflict problems.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Re: How I (sort of) fixed the "ZA still initializing" problem

    Your Welcome...

  6. #6
    keithhalonen Guest

    Default If time proves me wrong (ignominious last words)

    I guess I have to be good to my word if I can't actually be correct. My attempts to adjust the Avira Antivir Personal Configuration settings as described in my first reply above have proven that I may indeed be barking up the wrong tree. The illusion of success was suggested when I restarted my computer 8 or 9 times in succession and then started ZoneAlarm successfully as well. I've never had ZoneAlarm launch successfully so many times consecutively since the problem first appeared when I installed ZA 9.2.102.000 yesterday.

    I've read elsewhere that the problem is intermittent and it was so for me until the run of 8-9 repeated successes. Embarrassed to say it is back again, misbehaving 3 out of 4 tries. The only thing that happened after the successful run was that I shut down everything for a couple hours.

    For the record: This is happening on two DELL computers, an Inspiron 1100 and an Inspiron 1200. Both run WindowsXP SP3 fully up to date. Both are protected by current versions of freeware ZoneAlarm and freeware Avira Antivir Personal. I have Spybot Search & Destroy on board but none of its functions are automated. All Windows updates are current as well. All updating is done manually on a mindful schedule so as not to have automated updates interfere with my intentional Internet activity. Microsoft support for XP does not terminate until April 2014 so its protections should all be valid and robust.

    Sorry to anyone who implemented these attempts in their own way only to meet with the same fickle behavior I have. I've had personal computers since 1983 and troubleshoot them doggedly rather than rebrick them to factory settings. That seems to be the current favorite fix of most "repair" services.

    This problem is more of an annoyance than an actual threat, as ZoneAlarm appears to be otherwise functional. But obviously, being deprived of access to the user interface cannot be construed as acceptable.

    I may bark up this particular tree a bit further, since the processes vsmon.exe and zatray.exe also belong to ZoneAlarm and live in C:\Windows\System32\ZoneLabs. Maybe they should be "ignored" as well in the antivirus settings. I'm going to look for other ZoneAlarm processes that I haven't recognized so far. Also, since I don't allow ZoneAlarm to start when Windows starts, I can only guess that this also happens when it is allowed to launch at startup. I will of course reset ZA to start with Windows when the accidental availability of the user interface again randomly occurs. Got to test.

    I'll study the Event Viewer and check out GoBack's ultra-detailed Advanced Recovery screen for possible clues. DRobison's proposed solution regarding the file vsdatant.sys proved unsuitable in my case, where that file seems to be right where it is expected to be found. Nonetheless, his troubleshooting ideas seem a valid avenue of pursuit: http://forums.zonealarm.com/showthread.php?t=63698

    I'm also thinking that since I don't launch ZoneAlarm at Windows startup, but instead wait until the boot-up is settled or even until I have done some practical offline work, it may be that it is not Avira Antivir Personal or AVG that is the fickle app. The conflict may be a ZoneAlarm bug. I'll shut up now until/if I get a meaningful handle on the issue.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How I (sort of) fixed the "ZA still initializing" problem

    Hi!

    sorry to interrupt just want to report that there are no known conflicts between AVG and Avira products and the latest ZAfree on default XP installations. These are the two most common free antivirus software used on PCs in conjunction with ZA. If otherwise, this board will be flooded by messages about it.

    Your could be a case of linked conflicts with third party software tools running at boot. Most commonly, the "ZA is initializing" message has been reported in PC running bakcup tools, ads filters, other proprietary software. The message is common also in case of ZA corrupted database or incorrect settings (typical if smartdefense advisory is OFF and you apply ad-hoc incorrect settings).

    You may want to reset ZA settings (search the board for the procedure), run at defaults and selectively boot the system by remove anything than your ZA and your antivirus.

    The issue you describe also happen if ZA cannot access to registry entries (as administrator). Security tools or registry optimization tools may also mess up this area of the system and create issues to ZA.

    Quote Originally Posted by keithhalonen View Post
    I'm also thinking that since I don't launch ZoneAlarm at Windows startup
    This is highly NOT recommended, this way your ZA can be easily tampered and rendered useless without even you noticing it. Antitampering drivers are not loaded if you have your "Load ZA at startup" UNchecked.

    I would personally suggest to move to alternative firewalls if you are not able to run your ZA at defaults (loading at startup). This is really suboptimal in terms of security.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Fax

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