I am one of those geeks who virtually lives online. But it’s not until I lose my Internet connection that I realise quite how reliant I am on the Web. So when I couldn’t connect to the Internet this morning, I was slightly annoyed. And then I found out it was the fault of Microsoft update KB951748, and my annoyance reached stupidly high levels.
As soon as I get up in the morning, even before I head to the bathroom for my first visit of the day, the computer gets switched on. This morning was no exception, and everything was fine for half an hour. Then on my way out of the door for my daily walk before settling down to work, I turned the computer off, and was notified that a Windows update was installing during shutdown.
When I got back and settled down for a day of work, my Internet connection was completely screwed. It didn’t seem to be the ISP, but when I tried to use the Internet for anything, from opening Firefox, to MSN Messenger, absolutely nothing happened.
I ended up restoring my computer back to a save point yesterday evening, and everything then worked, but I still wanted to know what the problem had been. According to The Inquirer, I was nowhere near being alone with this issue, as it turns out that MS update KB951748 caused the ZoneAlarm firewall to have a fit, and not allow any connections to the Internet.
KB951748 apparently makes changes to the networking files that ZoneAlarm doesn’t like. On top of that, it then decides to block everything. Which means we the consumer are left high and dry without an Internet connection.
ZoneAlarm has issued a press release giving its users three options to get back online, though some are safer than others. The easiest, but least secure solution is to move the Internet Zone slider in ZoneAlarm to medium. The best solution, and the one they recommend, is to uninstall “Security update for Windows (KB951748)” from the list of Microsoft updates in your add/remove programs list.
Microsoft has yet to make comment on the problem, but for now, any ZoneAlarm users should choose not to install the offending update, at least until Microsoft issues a patched version which doesn’t mess up your chosen firewall.
This is a problem affecting many people, as can be seen by this thread on the issue over at DSL Reports. Maybe the whole thing was just a ploy to persuade people to use Windows own firewall instead of ZoneAlarm.