Russ Harvey Consulting - Computer and Internet Services

ZoneAlarm Security

Obtaining | Installing | Uninstalling | Issues | Updating

ZoneAlarm products by Check Point are strongly recommended for securing your computer. ©2003–2014 Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. All rights reserved.

You NEED a Firewall

Today's devices are continually connected to the Internet so you cannot afford to be without a firewall. See Firewalls: Your First Line of Defense….

The nature of threats on the Internet has changed.

  • Get to know how your security software warns you about threats.
  • Newer threats are much harder to detect and very difficult to remove.
  • Recovery from ransomware is unlikely. A reliable (uninfected) backup of your current data is the only recovery you can count on.
  • Many websites are infected with programs that appear to be legitimate, but whose purpose is to scare you into downloading dangerous software.
  • Many “free” download sites confuse users with multiple download links that are unrelated to the intended download, often retrieving malware instead.

Mobile Also Vulnerable

The massive move to mobile has led to huge increases in attacks on mobile devices. Android devices have been the hardest hit, but Apple iOS devices are also vulnerable.

And yet, while access to free Wi-Fi is a boon for most of us, it's also a common attack vector (entry point) for cybercriminals. …[C]onsider that public Wi-Fi, by its very nature, is open and unprotected to allow anyone to access it. That makes it vulnerable to hackers, and they have a variety of tools to attack devices on public Wi-Fi.
Check Point blog

Trends have moved away from viruses to credential stuffing (hacking using repeated user name/password combinations), banking trojans, phishing, multifactor authentication and ransomware.

If you are a mobile user only (i.e., you don't own a computer) check out ZoneAlarm's Mobile Security app. It is available for both Android and iOS.

Paid or Free?

ZoneAlarm provides two basic classes of products:

  1. paid versions for which you need to purchase a licence; and
  2. free versions which are available at no charge (provided you can meet the licence requirements).
The freeware security packages make quite an impressive showing in the test, but anyone who wants the highest level of security is required to use one of the commercial packages.

 

The free products tend to concentrate mostly on their pure protection function.
— AV-TEST

Upgrading to Windows 11?

If upgrading to Windows 11, it is strongly recommended that you uninstall all non-Microsoft security products (including ZoneAlarm) before upgrading.

Once the upgrade has completed successfully, you can reinstall ZoneAlarm Extreme NextGen (recommended) or ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall.

Legacy ZoneAlarm products (version 15x) will NOT work on Windows 11.

Moving to ZoneAlarm Extreme NextGen is strongly recommended if you have an existing licence.

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Obtaining ZoneAlarm

Ensure you choose the right product. You cannot install a different product over top the one currently installed.

Current Products

Current ZoneAlarm software includes

Both have been updated with a modern interface and are supported on Windows 11 starting with version 3.3.411.

Replacing ZoneAlarm Extreme Security

ZoneAlarm Extreme Security was declared a legacy product on May 13, 2022. This makes it unsafe to continue to use it.

Final Updates

The final update for ZoneAlarm Extreme Security (15.8.211.19229 on August 26, 2022) hardens security and provides bug fixes and improved stability.

Switching to NextGen Recommended

Extreme Security users will have to move to Extreme Security NextGen to remain supported. No purchase is required if your license is still valid.

Uninstall your current product, reboot, then install the new product.

NextGen requires the six-character “mobile” key (not the 31-character legacy key used by ZoneAlarm Extreme Security).

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ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen

ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen for the complete security & privacy suite that guards you against the most sophisticated cyber threats and attacks. Supported on Windows 7/10/11, Android, iOS.

Enjoy enterprise-level security technology, adapted for home users and small businesses.

NextGen Advantages

Extreme Security NextGen is a new product that guards you against the most sophisticated cyber threats and attacks. It includes web content filtering, supports Edge and Firefox as well as Chrome, has an updated engine and a new modern interface.

ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen supports Windows 7/10/11.

NextGen has a modern interface and is much simpler to use.

NextGen checks websites and web forms for malware and phishing attacks. This may slow the loading of pages slightly, but protects you from online threats.

Disadvantages

Customization options are fewer. NextGen lacks a gaming mode, keylogger and manual update option.

I would still recommend NextGen for most folks. It is much simpler to use and the hands-off approach is a bonus for non-technical users.

Why I Moved to Kaspersky

However, I found that NextGen does not meet my requirements.

NextGen quickly quarantined some file on my system without asking, then took well over a day to restore them. While these are files that should not be on most systems, I use them in recovering corrupt computers as part of my work as a consultant.

I chose to remove NextGen and replace it with Kaspersky Total Security (I had an existing subscription for my Mac). Kaspersky gives me the control I require — control that I used to have with the legacy versions of ZoneAlarm Extreme.

Purchase Extreme Security NextGen

Get Extreme Security NextGen (5 devices for US$44.95)*. When placing your order:

  • choose from the 1, 3, 5 or 10 device option;
  • deselect any unnecessary options like the Backup CD or Extended Download;
  • upgrade to the two-year licence where the extra value warrants it; and
  • change the currency selection from USD to CAD only where it benefits you.

*Prices indicated are for a one-year subscription and subject to change.

What You Get

Get the complete security & privacy suite that guards you against the most sophisticated cyber threats and attacks.

Here's what you get with ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen:

  • NextGen enhanced antivirus technology.
  • Award-winning enhanced ransomware protection.
  • Advanced phishing protection.
  • Customizable web content filtering.
  • World's best two-way firewall.
  • Mobile security for iOS and Android.
  • Anti-Ransomware solution that uses enterprise-grade technology to detect Ransomware attacks, block them and immediately restore any encrypted files.
  • Threat Extraction for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox that removes potential threats from attachments and downloads.
  • Threat emulation zero-day protection.
  • Free customer support (24/7 online help). 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
  • Real-time Security Updates.
  • Web Monitor scans web site before they are accessed and web content before it is downloaded.

Uninstall Other Security Products First

ZoneAlarm isn't compatible with any other security software except MS Windows Defender.

When multiple software firewall programs are installed, there is no way of ordering which firewall will get a packet and which will report it, the determination as to which product gets operating system preference to monitor the traffic will be made at random.

 

When running more than one firewall, ZoneAlarm might not be able to report on incoming port scans or hack attempts.

 

In some cases, running two software firewalls at the same time can cause more problems than running only one.
ZoneAlarm Support

Always run the most recent version of a currently-supported product (see sidebar). Updates include security fixes and improvements.

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ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall

ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall is free, reliable and powerful.
Supported on Windows 7/10/11.

ZoneAlarm isn't compatible with any other security software except MS Windows Defender.

Replacing Legacy Versions

Legacy versions (15.8.200.19118 and earlier) will not run on Windows 11.

You'll need to uninstall your current product, reboot, then install the new product.

Here's what you get with ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall:

  • Antivirus and anti-spyware.
  • Advanced firewall.
  • Two-way firewall.
  • Wireless network protection.
  • Customizable scan modes.
  • Real-time security updates.

ZoneAlarm Extreme Security Recommended

I strongly recommend you purchase ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen for advanced Antivirus features and even better protection. Review the advantages.

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Installing & Updating ZoneAlarm

These instruction will help you to install or update ZoneAlarm smoothly and avoid issues.

The installation of major updates follows essentially the same process except that you seldom need to uninstall the current program or re-enter the license key.

Ensure Windows Update is Current

Installing ZoneAlarm while Windows Updates are pending can create conflicts.

Before beginning any ZoneAlarm installation:

  1. check for Windows Updates (Start ⇒ Settings ⇒ Updates);
  2. finish installing any pending updates; then
  3. restart the computer.

Preparing for the Installation

When installing ZoneAlarm, be sure you choose the right product:

ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen requires that you purchase a license if you intend to use it after the trial period ends.

Download the Installer

You'll need to download the most recent version of the product you want to install. This download will update an existing installation of the same product.

Avoid Installing Multiple Security Products

ZoneAlarm isn't compatible with any other security software except MS Windows Defender.

Running multiple security products can appear as a threat to each other and, in the process, allow your computer to become infected and/or cause computer slowdowns.

To install ZoneAlarm, you must first uninstall other security software then restart your computer or you may experience OS stability and computer performance issues.

To install a different ZoneAlarm product you need to uninstall the existing product, restart Windows, then install the new product.

You can update the same ZoneAlarm product without removing it first.

Installing ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen

Be sure that no other programs are running to avoid conflicts.

Double-click on the ZoneAlarm installer. ZoneAlarm downloads necessary files. Review the licence agreement, then select Agree. The installation continues:

The ZoneAlarm installatin screen.

A warning to uninstall the ZoneAlarm Web Secure Chrome extension may be displayed:

Warning about ZoneAlarm Web Secure Chrome extension.

Since Chrome extensions are used by Microsoft Edge and other browsers like Opera and Vivaldi, you'll need to check those browsers for the extension as well.

Once the installation process is complete, you'll see the NextGen interface. Initially it is set up for a free 30-day trial:

The ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen screen before activation.

Click on the green Activate button at the top left to activate ZoneAlarm Extreme NextGen with your six-character license key (purchase a license, if you haven't already).

Once entered, the program is activated and the red bar at the bottom is removed:

The ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen screen after activation.

Installing ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall

Be sure that no other programs are running to avoid conflicts.

Double-click on the ZoneAlarm installer. ZoneAlarm downloads necessary files. Review the licence agreement, then select Agree. The installation continues:

The ZoneAlarm installatin screen.

Once the installation process is complete, you'll see the ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall interface:

The ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall screen.

Extra Features Require Activation

Web Secure and Anti-Ransomware protection are not included.

The “Buy Now” buttons will take you to ZoneAlarm's site to purchase ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen.

Click on the green Activate button at the top left to activate the Web Secure and Anti-Ransomware options with your six-character license key:

The ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall activation screen.

Once activated, you will be running ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen.

Configuring ZoneAlarm

ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen and Free Antivirus + Firewall are much less complex than earlier legacy versions. Little user interaction is required for protection.

The interface is relatively plain, although you can make changes by clicking on one of the Antivirus, Firewall, Web Secure or Anti-Ransomware icons on the bottom.

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Uninstalling ZoneAlarm

If you want to stop using ZoneAlarm, be sure to uninstall it properly.

Disabling ZoneAlarm Will Cause Problems

Disabling the startup of ZoneAlarm will cause you problems because it continues to run invisibly (ensuring that ZoneAlarm can't be disabled by malware).

Don't Manually Delete ZoneAlarm Program Folders

ZoneAlarm makes changes to your system that require it to be properly uninstalled, either from the uninstall program in the Zone Labs program group or by going to Settings and selecting Apps & Features.

ZoneAlarm Registry Entries

Some users have experienced difficulties when improperly uninstalling ZoneAlarm. Be sure to remove any relevant registry entries.

Improper changes to the Windows registry can make your computer inoperable. Make these changes carefully or seek out professional assistance.

Resolving ZoneAlarm Program Issues

If you have problems updating or maintaining ZoneAlarm, you may need to uninstall it, reboot, then reinstall the same version.

ZoneAlarm Extreme NextGen requires the six-character (mobile) key (not the 31-character legacy key used for ZoneAlarm Extreme Security).

Try the Windows Uninstaller First

First try uninstalling ZoneAlarm using the uninstaller built into Windows.

  • The uninstaller is found in the Setting's Apps & Features (Control Panel's Programs and Features). You'll need to reboot Windows to complete the uninstall.
  • You'll want to have a current copy of the correct version of ZoneAlarm for your licence.
  • You'll need to reboot again when the installation is complete.

If ZoneAlarm was improperly uninstalled, you may need to reinstall it before uninstalling it again to complete the process successfully.

  • Do not try to install a newer version of ZoneAlarm if you're having difficulties.
  • Download and install the currently installed version for this process.
  • You may need to contact ZoneAlarm support to obtain an older version.

Clean Install

If uninstalling then reinstalling ZoneAlarm didn't work, you'll need to download the ZoneAlarm removal tool (CLEAN.exe).

Running the removal tool completely removes the settings and changes made by ZoneAlarm. Reboot Windows when the process is complete.

Now install ZoneAlarm. Because the clean install removes ALL settings so you'll need to have your license key for ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen.

Manual Removal

If the ZoneAlarm uninstaller AND the ZoneAlarm removal tool both fail you'll need to remove the program manually. This is not a task for novices. I suggest you contact ZoneAlarm support for help.

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ZoneAlarm Issues

If your Antivirus updates have stopped working you will need to install the latest version of ZoneAlarm to correct the problem.

Windows 11

Only ZoneAlarm Extreme NextGen or ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall are supported for Windows 11.

If upgrading to Windows 11, it is strongly recommended that you uninstall all ZoneAlarm products before upgrading. Once the upgrade has completed successfully, you can install ZoneAlarm.

ZoneAlarm Extreme NextGen requires the six-character (mobile) key (not the 31-character legacy key used for ZoneAlarm Extreme Security).

Conflicts with Security Software

ZoneAlarm isn't compatible with any other security software except MS Windows Defender.

To install ZoneAlarm, you must first uninstall other security software or you may experience OS stability and computer performance issues.

When multiple software firewall programs are installed, there is no way of ordering which firewall will get a packet and which will report it, the determination as to which product gets operating system preference to monitor the traffic will be made at random.

 

When running more than one firewall, ZoneAlarm might not be able to report on incoming port scans or hack attempts.

 

In some cases, running two software firewalls at the same time can cause more problems than running only one.
ZoneAlarm Support

Other Conflicting Programs

Some name-brand computers may run programs that prevent ZoneAlarm from loading or cause a blue screen error (BSOD). Tracking these down can be difficult.

Run MSconfig to stop all startup programs except ZoneAlarm to verify the problem is resolved. Restore the startup programs one-at-a-time until the program creating the conflict is determined. This is usually (but not always) a driver issue.

Disabling the problematic program using Piriform's CCleaner may be easier than via the MSconfig interface because a normal startup for Windows is possible.

  1. Open CCleaner, then click on the Tools icon and select Startup.
  2. Look for potentially problematic startup listings and disable their startup.
  3. Now restart Windows.

If your computer continues to function okay with the startup of the problem program disabled, then you've resolved the issue. You can restore the startup of disabled programs one at a time (rebooting in between) to determine if the problem returns, but only if you want those programs to run.

Internet Access Issues

The most common reason people cannot access the Internet is because they have stopped ZoneAlarm from loading or have tried to delete ZoneAlarm's files without uninstalling ZoneAlarm properly. This can also happen if ZoneAlarm doesn't load correctly at startup.

By default, ZoneAlarm (like many security products) disables normal access to the Internet. This is how a firewall works

If ZoneAlarm is not running, it is unable to process permission for new programs to access the Internet. Programs that have been given access without asking (either a program recognized as safe by ZoneAlarm or configured manually by you) may continue to have access. An updated program may cease to work.

Other Reasons You Can't Access the Internet

There are additional potential causes for loss of Internet access including:

  • Windows Firewall can stop access.
  • Conflicting security software may disable access.
  • Anti-malware can disable access for programs.
  • Trojans and other malware (including programs that emulate antivirus software but are malware) usually disable your antivirus and access to security sites on the Web by making changes to the Proxy or Hosts file.
  • The Windows Proxy has been tampered with (Start ⇒ Settings ⇒ Network & Internet ⇒ Proxy).
    • Proxy should be set to “Automatically detect settings”
    • Check with whoever manages your network to determine if other settings are required.
  • Check your browser settings to see if the browser's proxy settings have been tampered with
    • This is usually set to “use system proxy settings”.
    • You may be able to restore access by changing this to “No proxy” temporarily while you resolve the issue.
  • Check the Hosts file to see if it has been altered.
    • There should only be comments (prefaced with the # symbol).
    • Malicious programs usually change this to ensure you cannot find help on the Web.

Operating System Issues

When new versions of Windows are first released, ZoneAlarm (and other security software) may not work.

Because of the long Windows release candidate programs, ZoneAlarm is usually available for early Windows adopters (but not necessarily during the beta phase).

Windows 7/10/11 Supported

ZoneAlarm current system requirements for most of their products:

  • Microsoft Windows 7/10/11
  • 32-bit, 3 GB RAM / 64-bit, 4 GB RAM
  • 2 GHz or faster processor
  • 1.5 GB of available hard-disk space

Legacy products do not support Windows 11.

Mobile:

  • Android 5.0 or newer
  • iOS 12.0 or newer

© Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. All rights reserved. Check Point, the Check Point logo and the ZoneAlarm logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. or its affiliates. ZoneAlarm is a Check Point Software Technologies, Inc. Company.

Keep ZoneAlarm Current

Minor Updates

ZoneAlarm automatically performs minor updates within the program.

These minor updates include new antivirus & malware definitions and component updates.

Obtaining the Current Version

Major updates provide security fixes and feature updates. These must be downloaded and installed.

Checking for a Newer Version

Check the current version (Help ⇒ About) then see if an update is available:

Download the currently installed product then you must install it.

Related Resources

Related resources on this site:

or check the resources index.

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Updated: December 1, 2022