Ok - tried your suggestion, Xan, with the following results:
I noted that after this installation, Windows complained of the drivers used by CFP. After the first reboot I had to run the CFP diagnostic tool, which tried to reinstall the drivers in question. At that point Windows Security popped up the ‘unsigned driver’ warning and I had to OK using CFP’s drivers. There were no prompts of this kind during the install. This did not happen at all with the 220.127.116.118 install file. (this time used current installer available on the website - 18.104.22.1688). After running the diagonostic tool and rebooting the machine again, I tried manual update and was told the update succeeded, but again there was no prompt for reboot. I rebooted anyway, and CFP popped up an Update Alert almost immediately. The version number in ‘About’ still reads 22.214.171.1248. The links to info on the update being offered went to the 126.96.36.1998 info page.
As for toolbars - never installed (admitted tool-bar hater, here). I did skip the malware scan this time per your suggestion, but it didn’t seem to have any impact.
Followed the links to other forum entries. The first two seem to be about not being able to even start or complete an update. This doesn’t seem to fit my situation. CFP appears to go through the motions of a successful update, including Progress bars.
The third link suggested deleting from the roaming/appdata/comodo… file – all I found in the /resfiles folder were icons, bmps, pngs, etc. and 2 .ini files. The first, ‘config.ini’ seems to only deal with the look/layout of CFP. I then opened ‘prdinfo.ini’ which had the following info:
ProductName = COMODO Firewall Pro
ThemeName = Default
But this did not suggest a solution, at least to my eyes. Again, CFP doesn’t seem to have any problems connecting in my case.
I thank everyone for the suggestions. Sure hope this is fixed soon. For all practical purposes I have no idea if my firewall is being updated at all. I have turned off update notification for the sake of a quieter desktop and will use the manual option and hope for the best in the meantime. :-\
**updated to correct typos and update info on suggested forum links