Freezes XP SP2, BSOD errors, possible reformat to fix!

Really wanted to like this product, and I do respect the fact that Comodo is making a free FW
that tested so high. But I haven’t had a problem this bad with software in years. Imho, as good as Comodo is, it is not ready for the big time. A software program should never lead to a total system meltdown, even in a minor percentage of cases. It looks like I’m going to have to reformat my laptop to get it to work again, and completely rebuild my system. (I’m writing from my desktop.)


Dell Vostro 1000 laptop / AMD Athlon 1.8 dual core / 2GB RAM / 160GB HD
NOD 32 (I saw the NOD problem and many others on freezing - more on this later)
AdWatch 2007
Comodo Firewall 3.whatever the current version is on the website as of the last few days

Been using this system for 8 months, stable as a rock. Was using ZoneAlarm Pro 7.x, and have been using ZAP for many years on my machines. Having seen some reviews of Comodo, I thought I’d give it a shot.

Uninstalled ZAP (rebooted) and installed CFP for the first time two days ago. Read through the PC World (Mag?) review beforehand which discussed cfg’ing it, and I also read a few help files. Enabled Defense+ in the install, and I marked all Applications Safe b/c I keep my systems clean and had scanned everything prior.

Left Comodo and opened FF (3.05b) to surf. Within 2 minutes the system froze. The mouse would move, but nothing was clickable. CTl+Alt+Del / TaskMgr would not work. Had to do a hard shutdown. This happened over and over… After the 3rd or 4th time, I got a BSOD bad pool header. Had enough and uninstalled Comodo, but 2 days later (yesterday) I decided to try again. (Had NOT reinstalled ZAP.)

Had the same issue but worse. Boots into desktop but as soon as everything is loaded, it freezes, leaving the mouse free but useless. Rebooted to SafeMode and used my Start Mgr to uncheck all non-essential programs (including NOD32 and AdWatch 2007). Also disabled CFW. Doesn’t make a difference. When booting to desktop, same freezing issue, and now two more BSODs.

Since you can’t uninstall sftw in SafeMode, the issue was complicated further. (This turned into a lot of work and time for a program I just wanted to try.) I did finally manage to uninstall CFP [I thought] and ran register mechanic to check/repair the registry… but the system STILL froze upon reboot/fully loading all processes, leaving me to think CFP is not fully uninstalled. (I saw the post here with instructions on how to fully uninstall CFP just now. Frankly, it should never be that much work to uninstall a program. And the post has nearly 30,000 views…)

Since my freezing problem would not go away no matter what I did, I tried a repair with original XP SP2 CD… took 40 min and fixed nothing, plus likely overwrote updates I had painstakenly installed over the past 6 months. Whatever conflict Comodo FW caused, I’m at a loss and up sh!t$ creek without a paddle. The only thing I have left to do is reformat the drive and rebuild my system, which will take days. I have my desktop backed up, but hadn’t gotten around to backing up the laptop yet. If I have to go this route, it will be a nightmare.

Of the many posts I read in this forum on freezing, one was due to a PowerPoint problem, another to a recent update on a network card driver, and yet another to NOD32 issuing a bad db update that misidentified cfp as a virus… to name a few. I did not get any NOD notice myself, but who knows.

I realize freezing is a problem that can be caused by many many things, but I don’t usually see so MANY posts about freezing. In fact, I can’t remember ever having problems like this since the 90s when conflicts were common, usually caused by SB device drivers and modem interrupt assignments.

So although I appreciate the efforts of Comodo, and I do applaud them, I was very dissapointed in the result, in my case. I am open to suggestions as I loathe reformatting the drive… thanks for reading.

I just went the reformatting route.
I have a dell dimension 9100 and they had an option to burn a WINXP SP2 backup cd.
Did so and slipstreamed SP3 into it.
Partitioned my hard disk into C:, D:, and E: drives. (Used BootitNG)
Installed WinXP SP3 onto C:
Imaged C: and copied the image to E:
Installed the drivers: see dell support for your latest drivers.
Imaged C: and copied the image to E:
Moved the My Documents folder to D:
Installed my programs to C:
Imaged C: and copied the image to E:
Installed Comodo firewall.
Should I decide to try another firewall, I will simply restore the image before installing the firewall.
That way you do not have to worry about uninstalling programs and any leftover entries which may cause problems.
What I am trying to convey is that should you go the reformatting route, consider partitioning your hard drive and imaging.
That way when something blows up all that you will have to do is to restore a previous good image.
By putting the My Documents folder on the D: drive, you don’t have to worry about losing them when you do a system restore.


After reading your post several times, it appears you are probably going to have to reformat and start from scratch. Partitioning your drive, as MikeH has suggested, is a good idea.

I know that’s not what you wanted to hear, but since you have already performed a “repair” (in-place reinstallation) of Windows XP, reverting to a previous System Restore point or “Last Known Good Configuration” is out of the equation. Those two procedures should have been attempted before you tried repairing Windows XP. Even so, there is no guarantee that either of those potential solutions would have resolved your freezing issue.

If you can access their logs/dumps, are there any clues at all in Event Viewer or in Dr. Watson? Any suspicious entries in those reports might offer some post-mortem clues and may help prevent a similar occurence after you have reformatted your HDD.

My gut feeling tells me that an incomplete removal of Zone Alarm Pro may have left behind remnants in the registry that caused fatal, irreversible conflicts during the installation of CFP. I don’t use FireFox, so I have no idea whether it played any role in your problem. You did not mention the recently-released SP3 for Windows XP, so we can eliminate that as a potential factor.

If you can access the registry, perform a manual search for ZAP and CFP components and remove them. That’s the only idea I have for you at the moment. Good luck.

Here is how you clean up ZAP.

Thanks, Mike.

On the desktop I have two identical 160GB drives (not in RAID). I use Acronis to dupe the drive I’m using to the spare every weekend. That way if the drive I’m using fails or becomes corrupted, I can just boot from the other (good) drive by changing my BIOS, then use Acronis again to overwrite the corrupted drive. Saves having to restore an image, or doing any restore at all.

I have been meaning to get around to doing that with the laptop, by using Acronis with a spare 250GB external drive, as the laptop (like all new systems) can boot from an external drive. I just hadn’t done it yet, and now I’m paying the price. It isn’t my documents so much as I have tons of software loaded and confg’d the way I want it, and lots of multimedia files. Also XP was tweaked in many different ways… I’m someone who’s always preening, playing with and customizing my computers… right down to special icon packs incorporated with TuneUp Utilities 2006 (and now 2008). It’s just going to be several weeks of redoing so many things before it’s back to where I had it before installing Comodo.

You didn’t say what caused you to have to reformat… was your system freezing? You’re a lot braver than I am to go through a reformat and system rebuild, only to load Comodo again. Once burned, twice shy. In the future if I hear that these issues have been fixed and I have my HD fully duped, I might try again, but certainly not with this version of CFP, and not until I hear that they have found the bugs/compatibility issues that led to so many problems. I realize it isn’t the majority, but the 30,000 views of the uninstall procedures is an indication this sftw is not working out well – and then not even uninstalling right – for many people. I didn’t think CFP was a beta, but imho it should be. (And I use many betas too – like FF at the moment – and have never had these issues!)

Thanks again –

Thank you. Actually I did perform a restore point before I loaded CFP, and after things went hooey I attempted to revert to the previous restore BEFORE I went the repair route. (Forgot to mention it as i tried so many things!) The restore point I had saved had been replaced by Windows (thanks XP!) by one it had created after I installed CFP! So it overwrote MY restore point.

I normally use a 3rd party utility for backing up the reg, but the shortcut wasn’t where I thought I kept it, which made me think I only had that utility on my desktop and hadn’t put it on the laptop yet! Hence, using XPs lame tools!! I later did come across the 3rd party utility (in safe mode, looking through my files with file manager), and was able to revert to a much earlier restore point from a couple weeks ago. But it didn’t do any good. Same problem.

I also tried the “boot with last known good configuration” as you suggested… I went through all possibilities prior to using the XP CD to try a repair. That was my last resort before considering a reformat.

I’ll check out the link to fully removing ZAP to see if it helps before doing the reformat.

Thanks –

Btw, I always partition the drive a specific way:

C: is a small DOS partition (45MB)
D: is OS only
E: is for programs only
F: is for storage/data files from programs
G: H: and I: are used for ripping/multimedia/etc.

…which makes me remember why I did it this way! … What if I reformat D only?? When I reinstall XP will it see the programs and load them??

PS… I am checking Event Viewer logs, and looking manually through Reg for CFP and ZAP keys…

Use the link I posted to get rid of ZAP.

It “depends.”

Some non-Windows applications may, by default, place some of their Application Data files, on “C” drive. But this may not apply in your case since your “D” drive was originally formatted for Windows XP. Therefore, all of the program application paths on “E” drive should still be intact – and remain so – during a reformat of “D” drive. The potential problem is that you will have to reinstall some programs that have placed program data in the Common Files and Application Data folders of Windows XP in one or more of the user profiles within the “Documents and User Settings” folder on “D” drive. Registry entries containing incorrect application paths may also present a problem, and these will need to be rooted out. But that might be a small price to pay, compared to completely rebuilding your system.

Try it and see. You have nothing to lose at this point.

With time junk accumulates in the registry slowing the computer down.
I was getting the occasional BSOD.
Plus being a Dell it came preloaded with a lot of software that I did not need which is impossible to completely remove.
When SP3 came out I knew that it was a good time to reformat.
What I was trying to convey in my previous post is that by making judicious images along the way you can easily get back to a pristine state.


You might want to consider putting your OS and programs on the same drive.
I used to put my OS and programs on different drives but found that it unnecessarily complicated the restore process.
When it came time to restore, you have to restore the appropriated E: with the appropriate D:
Since your programs are intimately connected with the registry I concluded that putting the programs on the same drive as the OS was the way to go.

Should you embark on reformatting I suggest taking a look at Dan Goddell’s notes on multibooting:

They certainly crystallized my thoughts on formatting and backup strategies.


USSS and Mike H.

Thanks for all of your input. You’re right of course, USSS, that programs load things in the OS drive no matter where you install them. Was too tired to think after being up until 4am previously, trying to fix this… But yes, it will be much easier to reinstall them from the E drive, as they will remain intact with all of my configurations… and I don’t have to find each program again.

And Mike, I see your strategy and it’s a good one. My mistake was not backing up the drive beforehand or at LEAST backing up the reg… I know better than to rely on MS tools to do anything, so using the XP reg restore point was just lazy. And stupid. Conmodo had so many shining reviews I trusted it, and after years of trying countless software programs, and never having a problem like this, I let my guard down once, and it was the wrong time. A good lesson for me.

As for putting the programs in the same drive as the OS, in your case it’s a good idea b/c you use imaging. Makes things simpler. In my case with this blunder and meltdown, it has served me to have them in separate drives, as I can now rebuild the system easier. In the future it won’t matter because I will be duping the drive with Acronis to an external. But another reason I like the programs separate is because it adds yet another layer of security, thin as it is. Every little things helps. But there are many different strategies and I will certainly read the link you provided as a matter of interest.

And btw, when I got this Dell it had XP but I wiped it to reformat the drive the way I wanted, and to install XP without the bloat. IIRC I slipstreamed a new CD of XP with all of my config’s intact and the updates I had installed to that point. As for SP3, I believe I will get back to a stable system, then dupe the drive before incorporating SP3. MS has a tendency to bundle cr@p with their software, so I want to know what’s in SP3 before I install it, and I haven’t had time to look into it.

Last night after I manually searched for ZAP files (which I found and removed) and manually checked the reg (which I’d done before and found clean), I tried one last thing: reseated the memory and removed the CMOS battery… rebooted to same problem. So I’ll be reformatting/reinstalling this evening. First I want to check out the event logs and dumps.

And I regularly use three reg cleaners, so the reg was clean and optimized when Comodo went in. I also research sftw (including reg tools) before using them, by reading reviews at places like PC Mag/World, MajorGeeks, and looking at editor and user reviews in all the usual shareware outlets. Of course doing that for Comodo didn’t help me!

The one thing I wish I had for all this trouble was an explanation of what caused this. I would like to support a worthy project like Comodo. I also like learning from my mistakes. My mistake was not backing up, but I learned nothing more than that!

Thanks again… will report back later.

Sorry I accidentally left you out of my replies! Thanks for the link, I did use it last night!

If you still have your crash dumps, submit them to Comodo for analysis. STOP errors and driver/DLL/registry conflicts can be serious, so any input you can provide to them might prevent problems for other users down the road.

I’m sorry to hear you had so much trouble, but I think we can all learn from your experience. Good luck with rebuilding your system.

I’m copying most of D: right now in SafeMode to an external drive in case I need anything off it later. I’ll copy the event logs and Dr. Watson logs too, but I looked at them and they aren’t much help because they reflect the most recent attempts to boot rather than the info gathered when Comodo was installed. (It feels like I’ve booted at least 20 times since I took Comodo OFF and with restoring the reg to at least three different prior backups, there are errors in each one related to the incongruity of the reg not matching currently/recently installed sftw.)

Are these the memory dumps you speak of, or can I access more info from places other than the Event Viewer and Dr. W logs? I am all for helping anyone else avoid this problem by helping Comodo refine their product. And I still have the drive available in SafeMode…

Oh man… when it rains it pours!

While I was in SafeMode copying files to the external drive (and before I got a chance to copy the dumps and logs), copy/paste stopped working. Inexplicably. Tried unplugging/replugging in the external (USB) hard drive… turning it off and back on, etc. but Windows just didn’t wanna copy/paste anymore even though it saw and could read the ext. drive. I Googled the problem on the desktop and saw some references that were perhaps related, but frankly was fed up at that point to bother anymore.

So I began the task of reformatting the laptop’s D drive using the XP install disk. As I am doing that I come back here on the desktop to write to you good people to let you know what happened and that I couldn’t get the dumps when… yes wait for it… the desktop froze. It was a different kind of freeze because the mouse didn’t even work, but it froze. No CTL ATL DEL, etc.

Note now, that I have not used my desktop in weeks, as the PSU had been making some noise and I wanted to put graphite in the fan but ddn’t have any on hand. So I’ve been using my laptop ONLY. I finally got the graphite and it was sitting on top of the desktop’s case. The point being, I did not load Comodo on it, or AdWatch (which was added recently to the laptop), nor have I changed anything on the desktop for months, and it has been flawless.

The ONLY thing that has been shared between the two systems was an MS update patch that I saw here when investigating the freezing problem, that was supposed to… man, I can’t even remember now… keep the system from freezing when “certain firewalls are used” ?? I’ve been trying so many things and had so little sleep! (get out the violin)

IAC I did a hard shut down, and started it back up to… fans spinning and 3 long beeps!!! ARGH.

So I am now posting here from my LAPTOP (which is running again, but will take weeks to reconstitute) and my desktop is fnarked!! (At least THAT wasn’t Comodo’s fault!)

And for anyone who might think reinstalling programs is easier if you keep them separate (as I did) I will note that at least with FF it isn’t so. When I re-installed over the existing one (same current beta version) to keep all my extensive and very organized bookmarks, 20+ add-ons, skins and so forth… it didn’t. I now believe I remember seeing this in the FF forums at some point… D’oh. AT least I have duped bookmarks (for the most part) on the desktop when I get it out of the ER!

So this entire fiasco has been the gift that just keeps on taking. All I can say is, don’t ever, ever, EVER go without keeping a current iso or dupe drive somewhere. You might only get burned once in 20 years (as I have!) but surely the one time you don’t do your normal careful routine, something wicked will this way come!

I am very sorry I could not supply dumps and logs to help future users avoid this and to aid Comodo in improving their product. It was not for lack of trying! And thanks again … now I’m off to reinstall software and tweak for the next month… !