Does the problem occur when Zone Alarm is uninstalled? I have not had any issues with zone alarm conflicts, but then again I use Netscape for my mail needs. You could try a different firewall?
is supposed to be great, but it costs 39 bucks.
Has been around for a very long time and is known to be reliable, but again, costs 39.95
makes outpost firewall, which like ZA has two options, free and pro. I have NO experience with this one....
Then of course, there is Sygate
Free for home use, Winner of PC World's World Class 2002 award. This one comes HIGHLY recommended.
Hope this helps!