A Rant: Zone Alarm Pro Firewall No Longer Works…

And the company simply ignores the problem.

I am posting this for the benefit of those who do a Google search for ” vsmon.exe memory leak “, as well as anyone else considering the purchase of the Zone Alarms Pro software firewall.  This program, vsmon.exe, is the core engine of the firewall and in any of the 5.0 releases of ZA Pro, many users are experiencing diminished system performance as this program consumes system memory in huge quantities (typically several hundred MB and oftentimes on my Dell PC (3.2Hz Pentium, 1GB RAM,Windows XP Pro-SP2) it will exceed 500 MB.  It use to happen sporadically, but now occurs on a daily basis and often several times daily.  Every time it happens, I have to shutdown ZA Pro and restart it.

Emails to their tech support bring no response.  Innumerable posts to the company sponsored and maintained user forums from users experiencing the problem are consistently met with the same answers; either stop using P2P software, which they say causes the issue, or, do a clean reinstall of ZA Pro, or, drop back to an earlier version (e.g., the 4.5 release).  All of these responses are completely unacceptable, from my perspective.  I paid for a license of the 5.* release, not a 4.* release.  I use a P2P program to sync files on three PCs, which is far more important to me than the continued use of ZA Pro.  Finally, the re-installs are a waste of time.  I’ve tried them repeatedly to no avail.

is no reason for Zone Alarm users to take Zone Labs’ (the company which develops and sells the software) support
personnel seriously when they repeatedly ignore this critical problem with their software.  The “memory leak” is no longer an
annoying “feature”; it  now  impairs the software’s usability. Unfortunately, no one is stepping up to be accountable for resolving the malfunctioning code.  The
fact that no moderator/support personnel will even acknowledge the
reality of their customers’ experience, as repeatedly described in the user forums, speaks volumes about this
company’s value system, as well as its management.

At this point, I will fix the problem myself by uninstalling Zone Alarm Pro, for the last time, ever!  I will find another software firewall – there are lots of them available (i.e., it’s a commodity) and soon enough the one included in Windows XPSP2 will include all the functionality needed in a firewall (although it does not currently).

Finally, I am writing about my experience with the Zone Alarm Pro product and Zone Labs, the software company (now owned by Check Point), to exemplify the power of blogging (which was the original, primary theme of The New Ground Blog).  Although my one post will not be sufficient to change anyone’s behavior, if other users also publicize their dissatisfaction, then anyone else experiencing the problem and searching the web for a solution will find our posts.  Likewise, prospective purchasers researching the software will also be forewarned.  Finally, the message might get through to someone at Check Point who cares and who can do something about the problem.  Members of Check Point’s board of directors, perhaps?  Significant shareholders?  Check Point CEO or CTO,  maybe?  Someone at this company should be listening (or searching)!

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  • Mike says:

    Zone Alarm Pro Firewall No Longer Works…

    Well so doesnt Zone Alarm Firewall freewear either. I have the same provlems and ZA does not give support. In the forum of ZA the mods constantly say “uninstall/reinstall” wich I dont have time for.

    This memoryleak has been in ZA products since at least 4.0 and stilla fter years appear…

    I do the same. I will find a new FW to work with.


  • Hector Barajas says:

    I’m also suffering this problem. and It really seems that ZoneLabs is doing NOTHING AT ALL !!!

    I don’t know if this article will help but at least I posted my opinion

  • Rey says:

    I completely agree with you all, I was wondering if it was just me or what? I’m running loads of machines for various clients and some of them run p2p software, some don’t, and until recently I was recomending ZA as a good free fw, I’ve had 2 change my mind. There are references 2 an in windows that may have been causing a conflict but to no avail. ZA just cannot cope with the sheer weight of the normal traffic you would expect from most p2p software. As for there suggestion in the forums to not use p2p!