I don't consider myself a real computer savvy, techno-geeky kinda guy. I know the basics: how to double-click, how to send e-mail, how to use an installer to install software, how to design simple web pages, that kind of thing. So when I got an alert message from ZoneAlarm, the makers of my anti-virus and anti-spyware software, informing me that an update was available, I clicked where I was supposed to click and installed the update. "What could it hurt?" I thought.
Well, the answer turned out to be, "Plenty." This update from ZoneAlarm installs a "safe browsing toolbar" that's designed to protect your computer from viruses, harmful scripts, and other junk as you surf from website to website. So far, so good, right?
Wrong, at least for me. Apparently, this safe browsing toolbar conflicts with my browser of choice, Firefox, and prevents it from launching or re-launching properly. With the toolbar installed, I could launch Firefox once, but if I closed it, went to another application and then tried to come back to Firefox, I couldn't relaunch it without shutting down and re-booting the entire computer.
Needless to say, that wasn't a very practical option for the long term, so until I could figure out a solution, I used another browser. I alternated between Google Chrome and Safari for Windows, finally deciding that Chrome was the better of the two. I barely bothered with Internet Explorer.
Finally, today, I figured out how to disable the ZoneAlarm toolbar: Go to the Tools Menu, select Add-Ons, click Extensions, and select the ZoneAlarm Toolbar, and click the Disable button. That appears to have solved the problem. It was so breathtakingly simple once I figured it out, that I really felt like a dope for taking so long to figure out a solution.
Moral of the story? If you're using Firefox, and ZoneAlarm, DON'T install the ZoneAlarm toolbar. I offer this message as a public service to all the other clueless non-techies out there. I figured it out so you don't have to.
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You're welcome :).