Over the last two weeks I have come across three machines with internet access problems and all of them have turned out to be related to Zone Alarm - or to be strictly accurate - the remains of Zone Alarm. In all three cases the Zone Alarm product had been uninstalled using the built-in uninstaller; what was different about this was that these uninstalls had been done months ago and it was only because of a recent Windows update that things started to go wrong. ISP access was working perfectly well and I was able to ping google.com every time, but 7 times out of 10 the browser would not work, nor would the mail handler or FTP or things like the AV updater routine. A search of the net found a few similar problems but nothing conclusive. Checking the firewall (to turn it off to prove a point) showed that in each case Zone Alarm firewall was running despite the fact that the program had been uninstalled and there was supposedly nothing left of it. Certainly nothing left with which to control the firewall and there were no files left in the ZoneAlarm folder in Progam Files. Looking at the processes that were running I found several being loaded that belonged to the product including vsinit.dll, vsutil.dll and vswmi.dll. Removing these files needed a reboot into Safe Mode. Still this failed to provide a reliable fix with the browser failure rate now about 5 out of 10. Beginning to suspect a rat here, I had another dig at the net and finally located a document on the Zone Alarm site about removing the program manually - it seems that there are a raft of .dll. .sys and .vxd files that this thing runs but fails to clear. This still does not explain why this should suddenly be a problem months after the program had been uninstalled but I stick to my theory that an update is somehow responsible for reactivating the partially inactive remnants of ZoneAlarm. Shame - I still think it is a good product! Just a shame that the uninstall doesn't work - and the mighty Revo is no good as the thing had already been uninstalled so there was nothing to work on.