Archive for the ‘Software – Windows’ Category

Fixing a Firefox user profile, and Foxmarks

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

SNB reader John Volborth wrote to me with a Firefox problem. My solution worked for him, so I thought I would pass it along:


I haven’t used Firefox in a while because of a problem I’ve been having. It won’t let me gather any apps. This is the error message:

Could not initialize the application’s security component. The most likely cause is problems with files in your application’s profile directory. Please check that this directory has no read/write restrictions and your hard disk is not full or close to full. It is recommended that you exit the application and fix the problem. If you continue to use this session, you might see incorrect application behaviour when accessing security features.

Is there any help you can offer me? Thanks.


I’m not clear on what you mean when you say “it won’t let me gather apps,” but more than likely you have a corrupt Firefox user profile. To solve the problem, you’ll need to delete every file in your Mozilla installation and do a clean install of the latest version of the browser. Some of these files hide in places you might not think to look, so it’s important to follow directions on how to fully remove profile.

Online Armor Version 3 Beta Supports Vista

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Yesterday, Tall Emu, makers of Scot’s Newsletter’s Best Software Firewall of 2008, Online Armor, released public beta 1 of a significant new version of its firewall. Online Armor version 3 supports Vista, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. The list of features is quite long and very intriguing.

Tall Emu CEO Mike Nash tells me that the public beta of the free version of Online Armor will be released shortly (probably today). In addition to Vista support, the free version will now be able to check for and install updates automatically as well as upgrade to newer versions (free or paid) of the OA software without having to uninstall the previous version. That takes care of my chief criticism of Online Armor’s 2.x free version. (The paid version of the product was able to perform both of these functions.) I’m glad to see Tall Emu make the products equal in this area. It’s the right thing to do. But in the same breath, I also urge my readers to pay for the commercial software products they adopt and use regularly. It is equally the right thing to do.

So here’s a quick top-level list of what’s new in Online Armor 3. For more detail about what’s new, see Mike Nash’s post in the Tall Emu forums.

Online Armor 3 Beta 1 Highlights and New Features

  • 32-bit Vista compatible
  • Updated user interface
  • Additional threat protection
  • Updated help file (
  • New language support, including French and Italian.
  • Multi-desktop support
  • Manage your hosts file with Online Armor’s HOSTS editor.
  • “Trust All” option in the Safety Check Wizard allows fast setup on new computers.
  • MAC Filtering
  • Online Armor can be set not to start at next boot.
  • Filter by program added to firewall status screen.
  • Default “Run Safer” for unknown programs added to OA options.
  • Keylogger detection detects more types of keylogger.
  • Advanced-mode options screens allow finer control.

New Versions of Comodo and Online Armor

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

The Scot’s Newsletter Software-Firewall Comparo (you know, the series-review that just won’t die) continues to evolve. That’s largely because the makers of Comodo Firewall and Online Armor — the two products under consideration — are actively updating their products. If these guys would just slow down a bit, I could make a final judgment. But that’s one of the reasons these are the two best products in the race, neither company is resting on its laurels.

I recently security tested Comodo (“Advanced Install”) and a late beta of a new version of Online Armor that I believe will arrive shortly. Both products came through with flying colors — passing every test I threw at them. So I can confirm that newer versions of both products continue to test as well as the somewhat older versions tested by


About Nod32 v.3 and Eset Smart Security

Friday, November 30th, 2007

I have not fully tested the new 3.0 version of Nod32. I looked pretty extensively at Eset Smart Security (ESS) in late beta, and I didn’t think much of the firewall at all. Plus I have no use for Eset’s antispam solution. So I am definitely recommending *against* the new $60 ESS.

However, my preliminary impression of Nod32 3.0, also contained in ESS, was quite positive. That product is available as a standalone upgrade to Nod32 2.7 for $40 (one user, one year).

I have not had a chance to fully test the 3.0 standalone product yet. I’ve been focused on the firewalls. But testing Nod32 3.0 is very high on my list. From my look at the ESS beta, I don’t anticipate any serious criticism of Nod32 3.0. I like the UI a little better. I didn’t see anything I didn’t like. I didn’t have any problems with it. But I still have to test it fully to be sure. I’ll be looking at it on both Vista and XP.

I don’t write final security reviews before I’m sure about a product. So depending on the complexities I encounter when I test Nod32 v.3, it could be four to eight weeks before I give you a definitive answer.

If you’re forced to make a decision before that, I would currently characterize Nod32 3.0 as a good bet. And, again, I would recommend separate firewall and antispam solutions instead of ESS.

If you’re using Nod32 3.0, I would be interested in your experiences with and impressions of it. Please send your thoughts to me. Thanks!

Alternatively, you can also post your experiences as a comment to this post if you prefer.

Eudora Users: Odysseus Is Probably Our Best Hope

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

A new email package called Odysseus being developed by software design house Infinity Data Systems (IDS) is the new great hope for millions of Qualcomm Eudora users who were abandoned by the telecom company last year. Unlike Mozilla’s Penelope (Eudora v.8) development project, which is attempting to surgically graft Eudora-like functionality onto Mozilla’s Thunderbird email package, Odysseus is being rewritten from the ground up as the brand new successor to Eudora. It will offer cross-platform support for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

I spent a few hours earlier today reading through IDS’s Odysseus forums learning as much as I could about the company’s development plans. I came away very excited about IDS’s plans, design concepts, and goals. What I like best, in fact, is that while the plan is to start with a subset of Eudora features in the first release, the developers clearly know and love Eudora. Also, though, they’re not afraid to make changes. Eudora has been a hurting unit for several years — especially on the Mac platform, where some of the thinking has been quirky at best. The Windows version surpassed the Mac version quite a while ago and is more up to date. But Eudora in general is best thought of in 2001 terms. Some fresh thinking is definitely a good thing.


Down to One: Windows Software Firewall Evaluation

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

It’s taking forever to kick the door closed on the long-term Windows software firewall evaluation. In the last installment of the series, Windows Software Firewalls Evaluation Rolls On, I wrote about issues with Comodo 2.4 that Scot’s Newsletter readers have reported — and which the Comodo folks graciously owned up to. With a rearchitected version of the firewall on the way, I decided to hold out to see whether the new product would get the job done with fewer issues.

A couple of days ago, Comodo released what some have dubbed Comodo 3.0 Beta 3 (version With this new rendition of the code, for the first time you get the sense of what the company expects the user experience to be. The product relies heavily on user prompts to warn you of possible threatening actions, but you can tell it to remember your answers and make specific programs “trusted applications,” which effectively silences future prompts. The user experience is pretty good, overall, but it’s way too early to determine whether the product will perform without bugginess on some desktops.


Windows Software Firewalls Evaluation Rolls On

Monday, September 10th, 2007

For about a year now I’ve been researching software firewalls for Windows. There are at least five previous installments in this series, and several early contenders have been dropped from my prospect list, which has been winnowed down to one or two products in beta. (For links to previous installments in this series, see the end of this article.)

I stopped short of naming Comodo Free Firewall 2.4 the Best Software Firewall of 2007 in the last issue of the newsletter because several SFNL readers reported issues they’re having with Comodo. I asked readers last time to send me their experiences with Comodo, and thank you, many of you did just that.

The results of that little exercise were interesting. Many people are having no issues with Comodo’s 2.4 firewall. That included me at my last writing on this subject. Since then, I have had some of the problems others describe on one of the now five Comodo installations I’ve been testing. Not the worst of the problems, mind you. But at least I’m no longer totally in the dark. And I’ve also worked with two or three SFNL readers to the point that I’m satisfied that their reconfiguration of the product isn’t causing the symptoms they’re having.


Twists and Turns on the Road to the Best Software Firewall

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

I have several bits of info for the hoppers of those following along in my quest to find the best software firewall for Windows.

For those of you new to the saga, you’ll need to catch up with the rest of us by reading (or at least scanning) these previous articles:

Or, to get an up-to-date story that covers the bases of the three links above, including updated information, see this Computerworld story: Review Roundup: Slim Is in for Windows Desktop Firewalls (June 2007).

With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, on to the twists and turns.

Eset Smart Security Not So Stellar
Admittedly, I’m testing Beta 1b of Eset Smart Security, and rumor has it that Beta 2 is due out shortly. But I recently conducted a leak test of Eset Smart Security, and the results weren’t good. For more information on the set of leak tests I used, please see my review of the free version of ZoneAlarm 7.0.337 in the last issue of the newsletter.