Microsoft update kills Internet connection for ZoneAlarm firewall users

July 9, 2008

Microsoft update kills Internet connection for ZoneAlarm firewall usersI 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.

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16 Responses to “Microsoft update kills Internet connection for ZoneAlarm firewall users”

  1. Keiran230:

    Knowing microsoft, it was one of two things: them trying to get you to buy one of their firewalls, or them displaying how THEY own your computer, not you. Of course, you could always join me and boycott them, using linux.

  2. Vick Ko:

    You nailed it. Thank you. I’ve nuked the MS update and all is good again.

  3. Kevin:

    I just uninstalled this Security update having had the same net shut-down. It freaked me out!
    I went on my Macbook, thinking it was an ISP problem, but it wasn’t -it had to have been that Security Update.
    I uninstalled it and it was like everything was right with the world -I didn’t use the Restore point, but things seem to be fine for now.
    Thanks for this post, I also feel relief!, but now I’ll make sure to read TechBlorg before I do ANY MORE Updates!!

  4. henk dee:

    thanks for the explanation, got rid of the MS update.
    looked for the problem for 2 hrs last night, checking my computer, connections, finaly got the idea to switch Zonealarm and bingo!
    thought the problem was ZA so uninstalled it but will install it again asap.
    myself I’m anti-MS,who do they think they are? for every program of theirs on my pc I use an open source or at least free one ;-)

  5. KDP59:

    I also had this problem but do not have ZoneAlarm installed on my computer so it’s not isolated to that program. I have McAfee and changing the settings there did not work. I finally uninstalled the Windows update and all is fine now.

  6. Mo:

    Thanks for posting this – fortunately I have my BF’s MAC available which allowed me to find this post & a solution!

  7. Paloma:

    Thank you so much. You have saved me from going mental.

    I have just spent hours on the phone to TalkTalk technical team who were totally unable to help me with the connection drop out problem. After 2 hours they told me to move my heavy PC downstairs and call them back. When I did their taped message said that ZoneAlarm was causing the Internet to drop out…..!!!!!!

    Duh …. you would think they would tell their technical team wouldn’t you???.

    I disabled ZA and then with my connection restored found this and was able to remove the offending update.

    You are an absolute treasure!

  8. Rob:

    Yer thanks heaps for this mate. I was going nuts trying to find the problem…reset my modem about 10 times i reckon, reset my computer about 20, haha, then i realised it was my firewall (ZA) not giving me access…so i disabled it, jumped on the net using the windows firewall, and found this post, uninstalled the update, and all sweet now!

  9. forumer:

    Zone Alarm already released an update to fix the problem. Check it out. Open the Zone Alarm and go to Preference and Click Update now

  10. matt:

    Why am I not surprised to read this. Thankfully, my laptop runs linux and when it connected without problems, I switched off my firewalls and found this post. How frustrating! Thank you very much for the post.

  11. Nic:

    Same problem but not a Zone Alarm user – I have AVG.

  12. Thore:

    It was not possible for me to get the Zonealarm upgrade to update itself automatically but its true a release with a fix can be downloaded from the zonealarm website:

  13. Alex:

    Thanks, this fixed the problem. Thore, thanks for the link. One question though – how long does this fix last? This was a problem on a older family memeber’s computer and she’s not exactly computer friendly. Is the update going to try to reinstall itself anytime soon?

  14. Dave Parrack:

    Alex: Zonealarm has now updated its firewall to solve the problem, so download the latest version of ZA, and then you can reinstall the MS update, or turn automatic updates back on, or cancel the last restore point.

  15. yashpal:

    i m facing the same problem friends, but unfortunately i can’t find the update mentioned about… my pc has only two updates showing… they are kb898461 and the other is kb941569…. i have uninstalled zonealarm as i thought it was causing problems…. plz help me…

  16. emmanuel balitbit:

    mny problem is my avg internet connection.

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