Default Browsers in XP Pro
June 17, 2004 5:12 PM   Subscribe

So I installed XP Pro - and I want to set Mozilla as my default browser instead of IE (because, well ... duh) - but Evil Bill's software won't play nice. Oh no. What am I to do AskMe, what am I to do? [furthered within]

After finally figuring out I had to allow Generic Host process for Win32 Services access to the internet through Zone Alarm, I thought my new OS woes were o'er, and the plague-filled Intarweb would be mine once more, and they were, until I snubbed Bill's baby for the lizard.

When I set Mozilla as default I can no longer access my ADSL modem via either Mozilla or IE, through the shortcut on my desktop or by manually typing its address into the address bar. I get a connection refused error from Mozilla and a similar fail to connect page from IE.

To get it all working again, I have to re-set IE to be the default browser and then re-install the modem's drivers - and then both IE and Mozilla can access the modem again.

Forced to use Internet Explorer as my default browser? This will not do!
posted by Blue Stone to Education (9 answers total)
Service Pack 1 includes a tool that allows you to set your default apps for various things, as I recall. My OS at work is in Korean, so I can't recall exactly where it is found or what it's called, but I believe it shows up under 'Accessories' in your start menu after SP1 installation...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:42 PM on June 17, 2004

It's called "Set Program Access and Defaults" auf Englisch.
posted by zsazsa at 6:21 PM on June 17, 2004

Response by poster: "Set Program Access and Defaults" is what I used to change the settings.
posted by Blue Stone at 7:01 PM on June 17, 2004

Not exactly answering your question, but I have separate icons in my taskbar for each browser that I use (mostly IE, also Firefox, Opera, Netscape, Mozilla).

It, at the least, keeps your options open.
posted by deborah at 9:13 PM on June 17, 2004

What version of Zone Alarm is it? I'm using Opera as my default browser with 4.5 Pro, and there's no problems. 5.0 is The Devil, though.
posted by Jairus at 11:54 PM on June 17, 2004

I wouldn't recommend using Microsoft's built in firewall, it's rather limited and (tin foil hat time) probably doesn't give you the opportunity to block all those Microsoft applications that insist on trying to call back home.

Kerio Personal Firewall is often recommended. I tried it once but had it badly configured so it alerted me to the tiniest thing (such as when one application starts up another) which was somewhat annoying. I'm sure you can turn it off. Otherwise try a later or earlier version of ZoneAlarm. There is a website called OldVersion which has them.
posted by ralawrence at 1:56 AM on June 18, 2004

Sorry, I didn't pay attention to the question very well.

As ralawrence and Jairus mentioned (and as has been talked about recently here) there are problems with the latest release of Zonealarm for many people. I rolled back to v4.5 and it fixed my issues, but then heard that Kerio was lighter on system resources, so have switched to that.

Which is to say, try skallas's advice, and if it's ZoneAlarm that's the problem, go Kerio or v4.5 of ZA.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:41 AM on June 18, 2004

Just out of curiosity... What, pray tell, seems to be the problem with Zone Alarm v5? I'm pretty sure I have that on my home machine & have yet (knock wood) to experience any significant issues.
posted by *burp* at 8:03 AM on June 18, 2004

Response by poster: Well, I reluctantly uninstalled ZA and installed Kerio. I say reluctantly, because you wouldn't believe the amount of advice I've had that seeks to resolve any problems at all by uninstalling ZA, and which has never turned out to be related to ZA at all.

But it worked! I installed Kerio; set Mozilla to my default browser, and I could get to my modem login screen and access the internet and everything!

But then ...

Man, is that Kerio firewall a pain in the arse, or what?

With ZA I had my browser seek permission to launch, but with Kerio, if I did that, it sought several permissions for every website I tried to visit, with the same browser running (and I didn't want to give Mozilla permission to launch every time it wanted to, by setting an "allow whenever" permission which would have solved the problem).

I'm sure there was some rule I could maybe have set to disallow launch unless I permitted, but not ask 3 or 4 times for every website I visited, but then I discovered that even when allowing total access, I had problems opening BBC News and ZDNet. So I just thought "bugger it" and decided to put up with ZA, and without Mozilla as my default browser.

Talk about the cure being worse than the disease! (Appologies to all Kerio users who are happy with their choice of personal firewall. No really, I'm sure you know exactly the right things to say to solve my problem with this - but I'm a simple soul who likes the user friendliness of ZA.)

So I uninstalled Kerio, and decided to leave Mozilla as my default browser, and install ZA again.

And would you fuckin' believe it? Not a problem.
Not a gnat's 'nad of an issue: total access to my modem, and the internet. Heck, ZA even said that I needed to allow the Generic Services thing (that caused me a problem the first time) access to the internet - which it didn't when I installed with IE set as default browser.

So there we go, fellow travellers, if you run into this problem, and crave the simplicity of Zone Alarm: with ZA uninstalled, set Mozilla as your default browser, and then install Zone Alarm.

I would probably have never discovered this, however, if I hadn't installed Kerio. So thank you one and all.
posted by Blue Stone at 10:36 AM on June 19, 2004

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