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Internet applications temporarily hang


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#1
Chas-s

Chas-s

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I need help with a problem having the following symptoms:

ANY program that accesses the internet initially starts and then temporarily hangs for 2-10 minutes (really!). Internet Explorer 6 hangs BEFORE the point that the status line displays "Opening page http:// .... ". Once that line is displayed, the page loads quickly. Other programs that temporarily hang are Outlook Express, Word (updates), Adobe Acrobat (updates), etc. Control Panel/Network Connections/Change Internet Connections also temporarily hangs. If two programs are started at the same time, one might hang for 3 min while the other might hang for 5 min.

Once a program has gotten past the long hiatus, all subsequent internet access within that program is normal (ie., fast). But closing the program and then restarting it invokes the problem all over again. If IE6 or any other problematic program has passed it's hiatus for one user, the same program hangs when a new user opens it in their own area (Switch User dialog).

During the hiatus, Task Manager invariably reports that 98-99% CPU use is in "System Idle Process". Programs that do not access the internet run normally and are not slowed while a different program is hung.

The wired internet connection is fine: other computers on the same router, or temporarily on the same cable, work fine. LAN settings are standard automatic settings with NO proxy server.

I am confident there is no malware on the computer. Although it does not have SP2 installed, it has always been placed behind a hardware and software firewall, and Spy Sweeper, Norton AV, Norton Security Suite, SpyBot S&D, and RootkitRevealer have never found anything worse than adware cookies.

The problem started when I uninstalled ZoneAlarm v5 (which had well documented problems with shorter hangs) and reverted to ZoneAlarm 4.5. Removing ZoneAlarm entirely did not solve the problem. ZoneAlarm Technical Help recommended the use of a cleanup tool, which also did not help.

There are instances when problematic programs start normally. Some have been after VERY MINIMAL Registry cleans (Reg Organizer), and another was after running SFC (system file checker), which did not report any problems. In these cases, the problem is absent after a system restart but returns after a second restart. There have also been a couple spontaneous remissions.

Obvoiusly, I can reinstall Windows, but this is not invariably painless and I would rather avoid it if possible. I would also like to avoid using a Windows optimizer, eg., changing many Registry keys to fix the one bad one.
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#2
makai

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Removing ZA from one's machine is not something that ADD/Remove programs can do easily. You may want to follow the ZA uninstallation steps noted Here
Also, did you happen to wipe all instances of ZA 5 from your registry when you uninstalled it? This too must be done to ensure ZA is gone before you install a different version.

What I would recommend (I know it's a hassle), is to uninstall whatever version ZA is currently running on your computer. Delete the files as outlined in the link above, then delete all entries that pertain to ZA in your registry. BE CAREFUL ABOUT DELETING FILES IN THE REGISTRY. IF YOU DON"T KNOW HOW TO WORK IN THE REGISTRY, PLEASE ASK BEFORE ATTEMPTING IT!

By the way... I've seen your problem before... it happened to my brother, and I had to help him fix it.

makai
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#3
Chas-s

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Makai - When I initially removed ZoneAlarm 5 and before installing v 4.5, I did not inspect or clean the Registry of all ZoneAlarm keys. However, ZoneAlarm is now completely off the machine and I can find no registry entries for "zone labs" or "zonealarm". Of the files listed in the Zone Labs link that you included in your reply, all were gone except for zllictbl.dat. This I removed with no effect. I am inclined to believe the earlier installation replaced a system dll or changed a registry key that the subsequent removal did not repair.

As for the computer:
Dell Dimensions 4550 desktop (2002 vintage)
Most recent BIOS
Dell motherboard with Intel i845PE chipset
Pentium 4 Northwood @ 2.4 Ghz
768 Mb memory
NVidia GeForce MX graphics with 64 Mb
7200 rpm Ultra ATA/100 hard drive
Windows XP Home
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#4
makai

makai

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zllictbl.dat is the license data file... deleting it only means you'll need to reenter your license after a reinstall.

I have heard that Norton and ZA5 did have some compatibility problems. You might want to disable Norton from starting up to see if it will make any difference. It may be that you may have to reinstall Norton again also. By the way, I missed seeing that you're running Norton AV and the Security Suite. It's not advisable to run two software firewalls. You may get away with it, or, you may not. By the way, what prompted you to uninstall ZA5 in the first place?
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#5
Chas-s

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Right, I agree. I replaced ZoneAlarm with Norton Security Suite after having such a problem with ZA.
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