About 24 hours ago, I accepted an automatic update of my Comodo firewall. Perhaps I should have checked the net for the many problem reports that other users are writing about this update, but I never had a problem with Comodo updates, and so I did not. Consequently, I spent most of the last 24 hours trying to get my computer and software back into a workable condition again, with only partial success. My productivity is approaching zero due to all this hassle, and I’m currently considering changing to a different product. Before doing that, I would like to give a detailed problem report, hoping that some official (or experienced user) might be able to help.
First, here’s my usage scenario:
I’m using Comodo since 2006 and usually keep it up to date. I’m on Windows 7 64-bit, on a machine with an i5 2500K CPU and 8 GB RAM, so performance shouldn’t be an issue. I have firewall and Defense+ (now HIPS?) set to “Safe mode”, and sandbox disabled.
I am a games collector, and have about 1500 games installed concurrently on my machine. Whenever I install a new game, I set the firewall to “Training” until the game has the permissions it needs. This has led to very long lists of trusted programs, which might be related to the problems I’m currently having. I do not use the “Game Mode” because I’m afraid of forgetting to switch it off - the only time I ever contracted a virus/trojan in 30 years of operating computers was when I browsed a malicious website while Comodo was still set to “Game Mode”. Since then, I prefer to create individual rules for each game.
Second, the problems I’m having:
The update immediately caused problems, though I was able to solve some over time. I have emboldened the ones that are still unsolved and that are making me consider switching away from Comodo.
The installer tried to persuade me to install additional software. I do not appreciate this way of putting additional software on users’ machines. Thankfully there was a way to opt out, though it wasn’t terribly obvious. Implementing this as an opt-in feature would have been more respectful to your users, imho.
The PC froze completely during startup, after showing the desktop, while loading the autorun programs. There was no information what was going on. Not even the mouse pointer responded. Various resets didn’t help, going into Safe Mode made the computer start correctly, but the problem reappeared on the next regular boot. The solution was, ironically, to wait for a full 10 minutes. After that, the machine magically unfroze.
Annoying ads were suddenly and frequently displayed on my desktop. I found a setting to switch them off, but again it wasn’t terribly obvious what the setting meant, since “messages from Comodo server” could have been something useful as well. After changing the setting, Comodo froze for several minutes. I exited and restarted Comodo, and the setting was back to its default “switched on” state, so I had to change it again.
An annoying desktop widget suddenly appeared, with no explanation what it might be useful for. It only seemed to contain redundant links to the main UI, plus some links to browsers and social media services which I don’t even use much. I found a setting to switch that widget off as well.
The main Comodo window has switched to a click-intensive UI that hides a lot of information behind links or tabs, and that seems very inefficient to me. Probably nothing that will be changed, but I don’t understand the reasons to change to this new UI in the first place.
To switch Comodo settings, I usually right-click on the tray icon and click the desired setting in the context menu. However, this process is now unreliable. Often, I will click the desired setting, the popup menu will go away, but when I access it again to check, it shows me that me still the previous setting, i.e. the change that I made has not registered. This makes it difficult to be certain in which state Comodo currently even is, I practically always have to re-check my settings. This may be related to having the Comodo window open and/or to Comodo freezing after changing something.
Most of my installed software did not work any more. I had to set the firewall and HIPS into training mode and start every single one of the programs that I regularly use, to get them going again. There were no such problems before the update. I will probably have to repeat that procedure for pretty much every other software installed on my PC, which is highly annoying.
I apparently cannot install new programs with Comodo 7 running. Or at least it’s an incredible hassle. For example, I tried to install the game “FTL Advanced Edition” through its GOG installer - usually a simple and reliable process that works without problems after telling Comodo to treat the installer as, well, an installer. Not any more, though. The process now “works” like this:
- I start the installer, Comodo informs me about access to protected parts of the system. I tell Comodo to treat the program as an installer and to remember that decision. The Comodo popup closes. The installer does not continue, and after a long time it quits with an “error 5” (file access problems)
- I start the installer again, Comodo again informs me about access to protected parts of the system (though different than before). I again tell Comodo to treat the program as an installer. Again, the popup closes, and the installer does not continue, after a long time it quits with an error.
- I start the installer for the third time. This time Comodo finally lets it through, and I am able to install the game. When I run the game, I see a white window with “(not responding)” in the title.
- At this point, more than 30 minutes have passed, and I decide that Comodo is putting me through way too much hassle for playing a simple game. I switch Comodo off completely and reactivate the Windows firewall. Magically, the game works now, and installing other games works as well.
- Most of my games do not work any more. That’s an estimated 1000+ installed games that worked flawlessly before and that have stopped doing so after the update to Comodo7. I am getting lots of popups about things like registry key changes, or connections to the Internet, which all should have been dealt with weeks or months ago when I installed the games. Examples:
- Warlock 2, a game that worked fine just an hour before applying the Comodo update, refused to start. I had to put it through “Training mode” again to get it working.
- Pid, a randomly selected game that I hadn’t run for a long time, refuses to run as well. Even putting it through “Training Mode” does not help, it just produces an “error 82” on Steam. It did work last time I played it.
- Path of Exile, an online action RPG, was suddenly unable to connect to its server. Instead of letting the connection through (as it should), Comodo popped up a warning about outbound traffic again. I told it to allow the connection and to remember that setting. However, the game told me that it was still unable to connect to its server. Further attempts to connect yielded the same error message from the game, and Comodo didn’t even show a popup any more. Apparently Comodo thought that it had handled that request while still blocking it. I had to restart the game two more times to get that working. I never had connection problems with this game before, and I played frequently in the past two months.
- All three games (and many more) magically work after switching off Comodo and reverting to the Windows firewall. Which, to be honest, is a very tempting solution after spending 24 hours with the issues caused by Comodo’s update, and still having 1000+ games that just won’t work any more.
Third, my request for help
What can I do to fix problems 8 and 9 (and possibly 7)?
Is there a better way of using Comodo in the usage scenario that I described above? I’m suspecting that perhaps Comodo has trouble dealing with rules for 1500+ programs. If it iterates through all those rules, and if version 7 perhaps takes a bit more time doing so than version 6, then this might explain why I am having so many problems with Comodo becoming unresponsive and decisions apparently not being applied immediately.
Any help is appreciated. Please note that I vastly appreciate answers that address the details, over boilerplate replies. After already losing a lot of valuable time to these problems, I spent another hour trying to produce a detailed and useful error report, and it would be nice to not have done so in vain. I’m of course willing to provide further information if requested.