Okay, this is an odd one and I would appreciate any advice.
I was running Zone Alarm v9 on my new thinkpad 7 professional (64 bit) laptop. My subscription is about to expire and I wanted to test some other options before the renewal. I've read a lot of comments on this forum about Microsoft Security Essentionals and thought I would give that a try.
Attempt #1 - I uninstalled Zone Alarm. Note: I did have some trouble and needed to download a utility from their website to complete the uninstall process. I then installed MSE and ran a scan. I noticed while the scan was running that I could not use any of the icons on the task bar, i.e., they did not respond to mouse clicks, including the Start button. Thought it was just a minor glitch that would clear with a reboot. However, when I rebooted the icons appeared as blank pages of paper (as opposed to the typical icons for explore, word, etc.), the Start Button did not respond to either mouse or keyboard and the clock on the task bar did not reflect actual time. In essence it seemed "frozen". The only way I could get around the system was to use the icons I had on the desktop. Multiple reboots did not help and in one reboot the screen came up black (after I entered my password).
So I did a system restore (which seemed easier than re-installing Zone Alarm and customizing my settings again.) Everything was working again.
Thought the problems might have been related to the uninstall of ZA so I tried it again. This time ZA uninstalled cleanly (at least from I can tell). I then installed MSE but decided to skip the scan (it had been clean on the first attempt) and just went into settings to schedule the daily scans. After doing this I noticed that the task bar was "frozen" again. Didn't even try to reboot this time just went to system restore.
Finally I uninstalled ZA again and installed Norton Internet Security 2010 trial. Seems to be working fine although I don't see any real improvements in system performance over ZA (which I thougth was a bit of a resource hog).
I would really like to try MSE as it seems to be well-received and is certainly a more cost-effective solution to the paid apps. But, I'm at a loss as to what caused the task bar issues on the first two attempts.
Has anyone seen this and/or does anyone have any insights into what was affecting the task bar?
Thanks very much for your help.