14 April 2010

ZoneAlarm Firewall Hangs Firefox

This is a follow-up to my previous post Firefox versus Chrome.

For the longest time I've been having problems with Firefox hanging, frequently. More often than not, actually. Firefox would suddenly and without warning be unable to access the internet. IE and other programs would be fine so I knew it wasn't a connection problem. I could close all the Firefox windows but the Firefox process would still run -- unable to be shut down even via Task Manager -- and hence prevent restarting Firefox. The only solution was to restart my computer. Irritating.

Anywhoo, to avoid repeating myself further I'll cut this short and get to the point.

It appears that Firefox hanging was caused by some interference with ZoneAlarm basic (free) firewall on my desktop at home. Perhaps ZoneAlarm conflicts with a Firefox add-on rather than Firefox per se, but since I only install add-ons I really want (ie. noscript, adblock plus) I didn't bother testing it by uninstalling them one at a time.

So despite my long time use and admiration for the effectiveness of ZoneAlarm firewall (and as Firefox is the only browser with all the features I want) I went the other direction and uninstalled ZoneAlarm, even going so far as to replace my free ZoneAlarm with (gasp!) a retail firewall that actually cost me money.

The fact that I was willing to give up a perfectly good free firewall for a paid version from another developer is a testament to just how much I've grown to appreciate the privacy controls and noscript add-on available with Firefox that are unavailable in other browsers like Chrome.

Having said that, I might not have jumped off the ZoneAlarm firewall bandwagon if I hadn't found an equally effective replacement, free or not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have had EXACTLY the same problem with Zone. It is particularly frustrating because the hang-up doesn't occur right away but at some undetermined time lapse later. Huh? The only work-around I have come up with is to boot Firefox as soon as possible and then just minimize it for future use. But then Zone blocks moving easily around the net. I may have to follow your lead, but this problem has apparently been around a long time and, so far as I know, Zone hasn't told us how to fix it. Seem non-responsive to me.