Vista SP1 breaks ZoneAlarm, Trend Micro apps, among others

Microsoft has presented a list of applications which are adversely affected by the problematic Vista Service Pack 1, some of which cease to function entirely.

The problem apps are categorized in three groups: those that are blocked from starting, those that lose functionality, and those that do not run at all following the installation of Service Pack 1.

Blocked programs were known to cause problems in SP1, so with approval from the software providers, Bitdefender AV and Internet Security v.10, Fujitsu Shock Sensor v, Jiangmin KV Antivirus v. 10 and 2008, Trend Micro Internet Security 2008, and Zone Alarm Security Suite 7.1 (more about this shortly) all will not start after installing the service update.

Programs reported to suffer reduced or total functionality loss are: The New York Times Reader, which stops working when the right mouse button is pressed; Rising Personal Firewall 2007, which loses disconnect functionality in SP1, and Novell ZCM Agent 10.0.x, which is not supported. Users are advised to contact respective software vendors.

Those programs which do not run at all include Iron Speed Designer 5.0.1, Xheo Licensing 3.1, and Free Allegiance 2.1. These companies do not have definitive solutions yet, but each expects a fix within 90 days.

SP1's "Beta-ish" rollout -- which takes the definition of "manufacturing," as in "release to," somewhat loosely -- was actually suspended on Tuesday afternoon after downloaders reported another endless reboot cycle caused by the automatic update. The first reports of this occurred in late January.

The ZoneAlarm problem has a bit of a story to it. Last June, its manufacturer announced it would be the first third-party firewall to support the new Windows Filtering Platform (WFP), which is a much more granular method of examining IP packet traffic specifically for Windows Vista. The differences between WFP and the existing Transport Device Interface (TDI) for Windows XP are analogous to those between digital and analog cable TV -- there's so much more data to monitor.

As a result, firewalls can be much more explicit about what degrees of IP traffic can be filtered or cancelled out, as opposed to simply turned on or off as has been the case with previous editions of ZoneAlarm. Vista's own Windows Firewall is actually the first in its category to support WFP, so naturally, ZoneAlarm had to play catch-up. Version 7.1 was therefore split off from the rest of the product line, which still uses TDI monitoring.

But as a result, the other products in that company's Internet Security Suite, including spy site blocking, instant messaging protection, and parental control -- components that had been integrated into the previous TDI firewall -- had to be suspended while the WFP-supporting upgrades were rolled out.

According to testers, the first betas of version 7.1 last fall slowed down Vista "to a crawl" (some would add, from a slow walk to a crawl). Build 218 seemed to solve that problem, and that's the version that was released for production use.

Unfortunately, that's also the version that Microsoft now says is causing problems with Vista SP1, as it now appears that far more third parties than just driver manufacturers are just now being introduced to Vista's new way of doing things.

Update ribbon (small)

10:25 pm EST February 21, 2008 - This evening, a spokesperson for Check Point Software Technologies, the parent company for ZoneAlarm, told BetaNews that the build number Microsoft supplied us with for the version of ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite it said was incompatible with Vista SP1, was inaccurate. That build number should have been 7.1.105, stated Check Point's Heather Haas, and not 7.1.218, which she said is compatible with Vista SP1 and, in her words, "is not blocked."

"Check Point worked very closely with Microsoft during the development of SP1 and we worked very hard to make sure we had a compatible product available prior to the release of SP1," Haas stated. "We have reached out to all of our current 7.1 customers to ensure they have the most up-to-date version of the product before installing SP1."

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