Why do I keep getting a “red fist” after uninstalling Zone Alarm firewall?


I recently installed the free Zone Alarm firewall, Ad-aware and Spybot. Since then, when I try to access certain websites or view news video clips, a "red fisted" icon appears momentarily and does not allow me to access items. I have uninstalled the three programs mentioned above, but still encounter the "red fisted" icon. Can you tell me where this is coming from, why, and how I get rid of it?

I use to listen to your show during a short stay in Chandler, AZ. I now resided in Mexico City, Mexico and love receiving your newsletter via email.

Please, please, please help with my question/problem. Thank you. Davidia Barba


This question was answered on October 20, 2004. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.


By far the easiest way to fix this is to reinstall the product (if you still have the original installation file), reboot, and then Uninstall When uninstalling first right-click on the ZoneAlarm icon in the system tray, and select "Shutdown ZoneAlarm" Also be sure to say OK to the Security Check.

Note: If you have not run the uninstaller, do so now, before booting into Safe Mode

If you do not have the installation file, or are otherwise unable to reinstall, then do the following.

STEP 1: Boot into Safe Mode:

If you have Windows 98/2000/ME/XP, Reboot your system into Safe Mode If you don’t know how to do this, from your desktop, click on Start >> Help, and type in "Safe Mode" (no quotes) and follow the instruction to boot your OS into Safe Mode.

NOTE - Do NOT start ZoneAlarm while in Safe Mode -- you may not be able to make the changes necessary.

STEP 2: Remove Registry Entry (Windows 95/98/ME ONLY):

(NOTE - If you plan to reinstall ZoneAlarm afterwards, this step is optional You will receive a VXD error on boot up, but it will go away once you reinstall ZoneAlarm.)

Important Advisory: Deleting registry entries incorrectly may cause serious problems to your operating system (OS), which may necessitate the need to reinstall the OS Please make sure you are able to perform these deletions correctly before you decide to edit the entries If you are not sure, you should seek help from someone who is familiar with editing the registry For information about how to edit the registry in Windows, from your desktop, click Start >> Run >> and type "regedit.exe" Click on Help >> Help Topics Under the "Contents" tab, click Change Keys and Values (this may be found under the "How to..." section)

Also, you should always make a backup of the registry before editing it You can find this in the same section of the Help files.

· To edit the registry, go to Start/Run and type: "regedit"

· Navigate in the left pane to this entry and delete the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD\VSDATA95

· Click File, Exit to finish

(NOTE - If on reboot you get a VXD error, hit Enter In this case, you will need to perform the REGEDIT sequence again from the normal Windows, since Windows didn't allow registry changes while in Safe Mode)

STEP 3: Remove Files :

To make sure that you can see the ZoneAlarm system files, if they are still on your computer, click Start >> Help, then type either "hidden files" or "show all files" (No quotes) – one of these should tell you how to make sure ALL files are visible Follow the instructions given Be sure to change these settings back after you are done.


· Click Start >> Find or Search, select your local hard drive, type in "VSDATA*.*" (no quotes) and click on the Find Now or Search button

· If you find any files named VSDATA95 or VSDATANT, delete them (you can do this directly from the Search window by right-clicking on the file and select delete)

· Now in the Find field, type in "INTERNET LOGS" (no quotes), and click Search

· You should see a folder by that name If you wish to keep a record of previous alerts, copy the file ZALog.txt to another location Then delete the folder, which removes the database files They are recreated when you run ZoneAlarm again

If you are running Windows NT and cannot delete these files, try the following from an Administrative account (If you do not know how to do something, click Start, Help for more information):

· Search for vsmon.exe and rename the file REMEMBER what you changed it to!

· Shut down ZoneAlarm It doesn't matter if there's a password on it or not

· Reboot

· Delete the files referenced in step 3 above

· Change the renamed file back to vsmon.exe

STEP 4: Clean up deletions:

· Empty the trash (recycle) bin

Reboot your machine normally

STEP 5: Finish Uninstalling:

Now you should have your access back


· If you reinstall ZoneAlarm , and need to UNinstall again, be sure you always say Yes to the Security Check, or it cannot remove files properly It is also a good idea to keep the file that you downloaded to install with

· If you ever need to shut down ZoneAlarm while figuring out any configuration issues – On Overview -> Preferences, UNcheck the box to "Load At Startup" You can now reboot with no ZoneAlarm process running Making modifications to system files may disable crucial functions of your Windows operating system We strongly suggest re-enabling the "Hide files and folders" feature once all ZoneAlarm Pro files have been removed If you received an error message upon deleting the files, or if the original programs remain in the Programs list, or if the problem persists after this, removing the files in Safe Mode will allow you to delete the files properly If you need further help with this, click Start -> Help, and search for "Safe Mode"

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Posted by julie of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on October 20, 2004