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Zone Alarm (Forcefield)

By rb.echohawk ·
Shortly over a month ago I installed the new ZA w/ff. I had had several problems working with it, though in the instructions it was stated that FF will need some time to get accustomed to your working environment. Immediatly I knew this meant blocked pages, etc., etc.

Now it seems that FF has totally corrupted my hard drive. How, I don't know. First off Firefox began acting erratically. Banning me from sites I had in my "Trust Zone". Then my wife's icons dissapeared and reappeared a few days later. We share the computer. Mine dissappeared several days later. We tried all that we know to sort out the problem. Ran check disk and when it rebooted got a scren saying "Windows has found incorrect settings and has shut down in order to prevent damage.

And that's where we are. Zone Alarms forums are blazing with folks complaining about many similar problems. Though no solutions. Has anyone else experienced this and do you know what happened, how we can fix it without loosing everything on the drive?
It's an xp system, compaq presario.

thank you

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Forcefield doesn't protect you from viruses - it only ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Zone Alarm (Forcefield)

Employs preventative measures to stop you wandering blindly into known dangerous websites.

Clearly if, as you say Forcefield was "Banning me from sites I had in my "Trust Zone"" there is every likelihood that you yourself have been approving sites that Forcefield had doubts about.

Since you have already approved and used these sites - you most likely already had virus infections before you began using Forcefield. That has been my impression with the majority of users complaining that Forcefield wasn't 'doing it's job'.

What antivirus measures do you have in place and what have been the results of your scans?

Have you been running your antivirus scans in Safe Mode? If not, that is probably why you have still got a system displaying all the symptoms of virus infection.

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Sites blocked

by rb.echohawk In reply to Forcefield doesn't protec ...

I use Zone Alarm Extreme Security version 8.0.298.035 Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware and a firewall. This version also has ForceField. I've used Zone Alarm for 6 years and never had a problem.

No, I do not scan in Safe Mode as I was not aware of doing it that way. The system is scanned regularly and I mean sometimes twice weekly.

The first site it blocked was my own Domain, it prevented me from signing in to check my mail. Others we my ISP(Bellsout.net) again, preventing me from signing in to get mail.

None of any of the viruses made it to the system as ZA caught as far as I know, caught them. Virus updates were done daily.

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The principles of antivirus scanning in Safe Mode ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Sites blocked

Basically, any antivirus scanner is employed to eradicate any infections that it finds.

However, at the fundamental level of computer logic, you cannot delete a file that is already in use. Most users will have experienced this error message at some point in there computing life: "Cannot xxx - file is in use by another program".

If the file in question is a virus-infected program and is already active in RAM, it cannot be moved to a vault OR deleted from the hard drive. No computer has ever been able to delete a file that is already in use (otherwise it might delete itself by mistake).

Safe Mode boots the PC with a minimal number of drivers and associated files - just enough to let the system interact with the user, with basic graphics too. It is at this point, that an antivirus scan is most likely to detect an infected file that has not yet loaded itself into memory, and is (so far) not yet active. Moving to a secure vault or deleting this file will not present the system with a problem.

The other ~even more effective~ way to scan for viruses is to do so AT BOOT. This way you can initiate an entire system-wide antivirus scan BEFORE WINDOWS HAS LOADED AT ALL. This method would present the user with a white-letters-on-black-background environment because there is no GUI present at all.

But if you only ever run antivirus scans from NORMAL MODE, with Windows and the GUI fully loaded and active in RAM, then any virus that has infected (or is hiding inside) one or more of your system files, will alas go undetected, or be detected but not eradicated due to already being active in memory.

If you currently cannot get the system to boot, I suggest you remove the hard drive fro its present location and fit it to a USB caddy and connect it to another computer as a slave drive.

By connecting this drive as a slave you can scan it (without accessing its directory structure - otherwise it may infect the host system) from the other computer.

Alternately you could download and burn to disc, the Ultimate Boot Disc (UBCD) which runs from its own self contained operating system. You then BOOT from the UBCD and then scan it, in situ, for viruses with the various antivirus programs contained on the disc.


*Edited to remove a glaring ambiguity.

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My thanks

by rb.echohawk In reply to The principles of antivir ...

I wish to thank you for your insight and time. I will look into the UBCD disk by doing a search for it now. From there I'll be taking your advice to scan in Safe Mode.

It's great advice and thanks for the detailed explanation.

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