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High DPC Latency: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall

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  • High DPC Latency: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall

    Hello all,

    I've been having extreme DPC Latency issues with ZoneAlarm Free Firewall for about 2ish years on several computers and OS reinstalls. The audio pops cause headaches so I have had it uninstalled for most of those 2ish years, but I try again with new versions every few months.

    This issue has previously been reported (for ZoneAlarm Security Suite version: 14.1.048.000) here: https://www.zonealarm.com/forums/sho...y-Suite-update

    In that topic the problem was fixed in the next version of ZoneAlarm Security Suite. I watched the ZoneAlarm Free Firewall updates pretty closely around that time and I didn't see any for several months. This (and since the current installer still produces high DPC Latency for me) makes me question if the above fix was ever pushed to the free branch.


    Can anyone provide any information regarding if the DPC Latency fix was pushed to the free branch or any success stories regarding ZoneAlarm and DPC Latency (success as in the story ends with ZoneAlarm still installed and DPC Latency manageable)?

    Thank you for your your attention.




    Additional info about the issue:
    The DPC Latency causes audio 'pops' and dropouts which, when really bad, sound like static and cause headaches. This is most apparent when I am listening to music while loading web pages.

    To show the DPC Latency I uploaded a few screenshots of LatencyMon here:
    https://imgur.com/a/apSEb2b

    I attempted to capture these audio glitches in a video recording but was unable to capture the pops, the dropouts can be heard with the tone I had playing during the recording. The videos show me playing Path of Exile (recording software I used was ShadowPlay which needed a 'game' target window).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1i8kUsLSTI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo3Ao7rRDzM
    Last edited by SirGuySW; August 23rd, 2018, 12:08 PM. Reason: 'ZoneAlarm free' -> 'ZoneAlarm Free Firewall'

  • #2
    As far I know, the problem is still there.

    My system for example (Threadripper 1950X) is fine for up to 4 hours, but after 4 or more hours of usage.. Any network usage (browsers, specially FIREFOX) will get huge slowdowns, takes ages to load and stutters my system horribly.
    Closing Zonealarm will not clear it, only a reboot does.

    I'm in the verge of removing ZoneAlarm and going back to Comodo myself..

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    • #3
      DPC latency has been associated to any AV/Firewall out there, just google DPC and add your favorite security tool and you will read a lot of horror stories

      It may depend on many different factors from available RAM to hardware and hardware drivers. The fact that if you quit ZA you still have the issue seems to indicate that is not ZA. A quite simply but tedious test (if you are knowledgeable of windows services/startup configuration) is to run the system purely with ZA and windows OS applications and services and disable any third party tool running as a service or starting at boot. Still even with this test you will not solve hardware issues which may need a dedicated debugging by ZA developers that is likely not feasible if it is just for few isolated cases.

      To sum up there is no a persistent and widespread issue with DPC and ZoneAlarm otherwise you would see this forum flooded with posts. But there are certainly certain setup (software/hardware) which will not functions properly with ZA. In these specific cases there is not much to do than finding a more suitable software which play nice with the system.

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      • #4
        I agree with Fax.
        I also like to add even if you have the fastest CPU and graphics card you can still have DPC latency. It not all about having the fastest hardware, but it cannot hurt.

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        • #5
          Hello. Thank you for your attention.

          The high DPC latency ('the/this problem') started quite suddenly after years of use without issue (simultaneously on multiple computers). I've also used other firewalls since this started without encountering this problem. I can turn this problem on and off like night and day by installing and uninstalling ZoneAlarm. This problem was reported (and supposedly fixed in an update for the paid ZoneAlarm version) but I didn't notice any corresponding update for the free version.

          Originally posted by fax View Post
          A quite simply but tedious test (if you are knowledgeable of windows services/startup configuration) is to run the system purely with ZA and windows OS applications and services and disable any third party tool running as a service or starting at boot.
          During my testing I ran ZoneAlarm on a fresh install of Windows 7 and still had the problem. However, I'd be willing to perform another clean install test (preferably Windows 7) using a new SSD I'll receive in a few days if you think it would be helpful.

          Also, if you have any tips or tricks to try during the test or during normal use to minimize the effect of the increased DPC latency I would love to try them.

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