Brian Payne - 2007-03-12

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I've found an end-user workaround for this problem, though it is by no means a final solution. It does, however, mean that the user does not have to forcibly re-boot their machine (which is a Bad Thing on Windows systems).

The workaround:
1. After FreeOrion hangs, press the Windows+R key combination (Windows key + 'R' key at the same time). Nothing obvious will happen.
2. Type 'cmd' (without the quotes) and press Enter. Nothing obvious will happen.
3. Press the Alt+Enter key combination. This will force the Command Prompt window into fullscreen mode and the screen should now show a command prompt.*
4. Press the Alt+Tab key combination to switch focus to the desktop. At this point the ZoneAlarm popup should be visible.
5. Configure ZoneAlarm to allow access and to remember those settings. It may follow with another popup, depending on your ZoneAlarm settings. Follow the same procedure.
6. Close the Command Prompt window, then switch focus back to FreeOrion. You should now be able to play normally.

(* this trick works in every situation I've encountered where a fullscreen app won't let go of the focus properly. It does NOT work in those situations where the app has truly hung, however. Determining when that is actually the case is at times difficult.)