When I reported this via the helpdesk, I tried to provide relevant details.
The terse reply I received (“Hi. Please advise”) certainly wasn’t encouraging.
Posting here in case others have encountered this issue/bug.
WinXP Professional (SP2; MediaCenter edition; all updates current)
This has been happening intermittently since installing the Comodo Firewall app
FWIW, I haven’t installed/changed any other apps on my PC since installing the firewall
Problem: With the firewall running, it often seems like “some window is stealing the cursor focus” when I try to return to a Windows explorer (explorer.exe) window. The problem is specific to explorer and/or ControlPanel window(s). Without visible warning, I find that I am suddenly unable to focus on these windows. When I click anywhere on them (even on the title bar) the title bar turns blue then immediately gray to indicate “lost focus”.
When this occurs, the windows are not “unresponsive” – I can minimize/maximize/close them by clicking the respective taskbar icon.
Through trial-and-error, I discovered that the problem goes away IMMEDIATELY if I close the firewall (right-click tray icon “CPF won’t be protecting your PC. Are you sure? YES”)
With the firewall running, the problem occurs regardless whether the application window is visible or has been minimized-to-tray.
After I’ve closed the firewall app in order to “get my explorer window(s) unstuck” I can restart it immediately without incident. In other words, the focus problem doesn’t immediately return when the firewall app restarts. Also, while the problem condition is in effect, it does NOT affect any new explorer windows that I open – only those windows which were present when the ‘hiccup’ had occurred are affected.
Again, the problem DOES seem to be specifically related to Comodo Firewall, and I have sometimes observed it shortly after startup, prior to having any apps running (other than explorer.exe) which have GUI windows (and could be suspected of competing for focus).
I realize this report is terribly vague. Prior to writing, I tried pinning down the specifics of the problem further. Starting with firewall when windows starts vs starting it manually made no difference. “Disable network connections until firewall starts” (or not) made no difference.
Ticket ID: UQN-452932
Department: PC Security Software
Status: On Hold