The user solved it closing Zonealarm process called ISWSVC.exe (IswSvc -> ZoneAlarm ForceField Service)
"Hooray! It's working! But it wasn't AVG after all...it seems it was Zonealarm. When I was turning off processes, it still wouldn't work even without AVG. I noticed there was one more process still active by Zonealarm which is ISWSVC.exe. I disabled it, and it booted up immediatly. The process came back on straight away, but I'v closed and re-opened the game a few times to check it's working and it is. Opening Zonealarm again stops me from loading the game up though. No idea why this is - I'v set full permissions on Zonealarm for the ares.bat file."