Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Good Song, BAD Software

I encountered Zone Alarm on a client's PC recently. It was not a rewarding experience for me or the client.

I've never been a fan of Zone Alarm's constant, misleading, annoying pop-ups; I've never understood how the product keeps getting positive reviews like this.

So when my client wanted me to uninstall Zone Alarm, I supported the decision and agreed to do it.

When Zone Alarm installs, it provides the user with an Uninstall program. I mistakenly assumed that I could click on the Uninstall application and Zone Alarm would be history. No such luck.

Instead, when I ran Zone Alarm Uninstall, it crashed on my client's machine. I got that Windows pop-up telling me that an error has occurred and asking if I want to send an error report to Microsoft. Do you suppose that Microsoft has people whose job it is to correct such errors or tell you how to avoid them?

I tried to coax the Uninstall application to work a number of different ways, using tricks and suggestions I found on the Internet. No luck.

Then, I installed Zone Alarm version 7 on top of the Zone Alarm version 6.5 I was trying to remove. Based on the messages displayed during the install of version 7.0, the install removed version 6.5 successfully before it installed version 7.0! But, the new(?) Uninstall app would not uninstall version 7.0. It crashed just like before, and I got the same Windows pop-up error message.

Having invested hours of time already and being no closer to a solution, I gave up and reloaded the operating system. This is not a quick, easy and cheap solution, but it is guaranteed to work, and it did.

So now I have another reason to hate Zone Alarm. It's like they sing in the Eagles song, Hotel California. "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!" Good song; BAD software.

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