Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Techno Tip

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.

Cash, checks, credit card numbers, and PayPal donations will gratefully accepted.

You're welcome :).


SquirrelQueen said...

My rule of thumb is to ignore all the 'install toolbar' messages I get. I really don't want my page cluttered and they always cause problems. We build our own computers and don't have to put up with all the preinstalled junk.

Just keep it simple and all should be well. I found you with the Next Blog button, just out surfing!

K T Cat said...

It's interesting you ended up with Chrome. I've been wanting to try it, but haven't done so yet.

Niall Mor said...

KT, now that I've corrected the toolbar problem, I've gone back to Firefox. The chief advantage of Chrome is that it's very fast with a very simple, clean user interface. The disadvantage, and the thing that drives me crazy about it, is that it doesn't remember my preferred text size for pages I frequently visit. For example, every time I use Chrome and open my blog page, I have to hit Ctrl+ twice to enlarge the text enough for me to read it easily. Firefox displays the text at a comfortable, uniform size, and doesn't have to be constantly reminded what that is.

PaperSmyth said...

[Bows to geekery.] Thank you, oh wise one.

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