Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Interesting couple of days. "Interesting" having the same meaning here as the old Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.


Mostly, just a Windows update that disagreed with my firewall/antivirus program. I haven't had any problems with ZoneAlarm in like three years. Suddenly, one automatic update from Windows and bloop. No internet.

Of course, I didn't know that at first. After rebooting both my laptop and my cable internet modem, I tried a few system tools before giving up and calling my ISP's tech support. Trust me. Tech support is a FINAL option. Guh.

The first guy I talked to thought I was the usual user idiot. Thankfully, his headset fizzed out before I got irritated, and I called back and got another guy. He was pretty willing to listen to my assessment of the problem. I told him I'd already tried the easy fixes and was at a loss. He believed me, bless his heart, and we started troubleshooting other stuff.

We tried messing with the TCP/IP settings. That kind of thing. Rebooting about four times with different options each time. Pinging -- though we did determine that I could ping out but no one could ping me. *snerk* Sounds almost dirty, don't it?

Finally, he finally admitted that it was probably my firewall causing the problem. To be sure, I had to shut it down. Problem is, there's no way to shut down ZA's firewall without shutting down the antivirus, too. Oh, well. It's only for a few seconds, right?

So I shut it down, and...yup. Internet.

He asked if I'd updated ZA lately, and I said no. Never had the time. But Windows had done an automatic update overnight, and I bet that had something to do with it. He told me that he couldn't really suggest any help for that, since it wasn't an ISP problem. But since he was so helpful with everything else (and talked to me like I might understand him, which is MUCH better than usual tech support), I thanked him very much for his help and said I'd take care of it myself.


An IS friend at work -- thanks again, Darcalus! -- suggested a system restore to undo the update. It worked...until the stupid update loaded automatically again. I didn't have time to mess with it this morning, so I just shut down my computer and said hell with it. Work, and all that.

But when I got home, I tried another system restore. Didn't work. Dammit. So now, I had to find the update and just remove it. Unfortunately, my add/remove programs function in my control panel wasn't showing the updates. Guh.

I tried a few more things -- mostly just searching for wherever those updates were stored and another system restore from earlier that failed just as spectacularly. Finally, I got to looking around on my A/RP screen and found a check box for "show updates". Duh. God.

Clicked it. Removed the update. Gee, whaddya know, but my internet works now.

Three days, people. It took me three days to get this fixed. And it's really only a temporary fix, though I did also change my update settings from automatic to "download but don't install until I say so, stupid thing". I hope I don't end up needing that update. I mean, I know people who never update their operating system the whole time they have it and don't have any problems.



It's a non-critical update. I'm just gonna keep reminding myself of that. Guh.

But I fixed it, dammit! All by myself. Who needs tech support?

Oh, and...perhaps the funniest quote from a movie lately? From DBZ's Wrath of the Dragon:

"Waaah! Scary eyes!"


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