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Sunday, 4 August 2013

ZoneAlarm Downgrades Itself

I've mentioned my problems with ZoneAlarm before; last night it threw a completely new one at me.

It started with a pop-up informing me that a new version was available—click to download. I clicked. Big mistake.

A few minutes later my new version of ZoneAlarm Firewall Pro was up and running. The trouble is, before I'd had ZoneAlarm Extreme Security. Somehow I'd been downgraded to a lesser product. Even more annoyingly, my annual license had been replaced with a 30 day trial license.

Off to their website to complain. But I should have known from experience that that would be a waste of time. Nowhere can you find an email address or even a phone number. There is a chat facility, but it was closed.

Not to worry, yet. I downloaded a trial version of Extreme Security and installed it. It spotted an existing version and claimed it could upgrade it. Excellent news! Five minutes and a reboot later I was still staring at ZoneAlarm Firewall Pro (28 days free trial remaining).

Time for serious measures. I uninstalled ZoneAlarm completely. To its credit, the uninstaller did a very complete job, not even leaving the folder behind. Then I rebooted and ran the installer again. This time it worked.

Presumably this was just some cock-up that made Firewall Pro look like Extreme Security, or vice versa. But it's typical of the customer service of this company. Every year they send me an email telling me that my subscription is going to be renewed automatically and I won't need to do anything, and every year ZoneAlarm starts to moan about how its license is about to expire. And despite my repeated attempts to change its behaviour, the program still insists on scanning my entire hard drive whenever I boot up.

Seriously, sometimes the only thing keeping me with ZoneAlarm is my experience with its competitors.