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Zone Alarm Vs. Windows Xp's Firewall


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#1 emersonian

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 10:31 PM

I was trying to figure out how to unblock in Zone Alarm a program trying to access the internet. I was told that Zone Alarm doesn't work as a firewall and just slows down one's computer. So, what's your take on the free version of Zone Alarm? Is it worth it, or is Windows XP's built-in firewall just as effective? Are there any freeware programs that outperform Windows XP's firewall? Thank you for your suggestions.

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 08:23 AM

The Windows XP firewall protects against port scanning but has limitations and it is no replacement for a robust 3rd-party two-way personal firewall.
  • The XP firewall is not a full featured firewall. Normal firewalls allow you to specifically control each TCP and UDP port but XP’s firewall does not provide you with this capability. Instead, it takes a point and click approach to enabling or disabling a few common ports.
  • The XP firewall does a good job of monitoring, examining and blocking inbound traffic but makes no attempt to filter or block outbound traffic like most 3rd-party personal firewalls.
  • Thus, the XP firewall does not identify which programs attempt to initiate outbound network or Internet communications nor does it block the traffic when suspicious activity occurs.
    • This feature can be helpful in preventing many types of malware attacks that may attempt to open ports or communicate with outside servers without the user's knowledge or consent. It also means that if your system has been compromised, a hacker could use your machine as part of a distributed denial of service attack.
  • By default, Windows Firewall rejects all incoming traffic unless that traffic is in response to a previous outgoing request. If you're running Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows Firewall is turned on by default. If you Firewall is not turned on by default, then your using an unpatched OS and need to update your system to SP2.
Using Windows Firewall
How to turn on or turn off the firewall in Windows XP

If you choose to use a 3rd-party firewall, you need to disable the Windows firewall. Using two software firewalls on a single computer could cause issues with connectivity to the Internet or other unexpected behavior. Further, running multiple software firewalls can cause conflicts that are hard to identify and troubleshoot. Only one of the firewalls can receive the packets over the network and process them. Sometimes you may even have a conflict that causes neither firewall to protect your connection. However, you can use a hardware firewall (your router) and a software firewall (Kerio or ZoneAlarm) in conjunction. For more information see "The Differences and Features of Hardware & Software Firewalls".

• Understanding and Using Firewalls
• What is a Firewall
• How Firewalls Work

Free firewalls:
• Comodo Free Firewall
• Online Armor Free
• Zone Alarm Free Basic Firewall
• Ashampoo FireWall Free
• Outpost Firewall Free
• Kerio Personal Firewall (available in a full and limited free edition)

Choosing a firewall is a matter of personal preference, your technical experience and what will work best for your system. A particular firewall that works well for one person may not work as well for another. All those mentioned in the list I provided are good choices but you may need to experiment and find the one most suitable for your use.

Edited by quietman7, 17 April 2008 - 08:24 AM.

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#3 cb2

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 12:11 PM

In my effort to learn about and investigate firewall options, I have experienced considerable differences in opinion. (A) Some say if one is careful where he surfs, infrequently downloads programs, and is behind a firewalled router, then Windows XP Firewall is sufficient and anything else is overkill (assuming a good AV program is used along with antispyware). ( B ) Others say a two-way software firewall is essential no matter one's surfing habits or usage frequency. ( C) And there are also some who advocate not only a two-way software firewall, but also HIPS.

Personally, I'm in the (A) camp for now. I used to have Norton Internet Security (which included a firewall), but dumped it 5 months ago because it was too bloated. Currently I subscribe to Eset Nod32. A little while ago I tried Comodo Firewall Pro with HIPS + and it drove me crazy. There's too much about it I didn't understand and couldn't figure out inspite of reading all the tutorials and help indexes. My life is busy enough. So I uninstalled it and now am back to Windows Firewall, along with Nod32 and two free antispyware programs that I update and run a couple of times a week.

I see value in having a two-way firewall, but would only consider one that (1) is light on resources, (2) is relatively simple to use, and (3) does not come with HIPS (I know HIPS can be disabled, but the HIPS part is still installed nonetheless and I don't like that it digs deep into one's system). Bonuses points if the firewall is well-coded so it cleanly uninstalls and has very minimal interference with any other program. If you know of any that meet this criteria, let me know.

Edited by cb2, 17 April 2008 - 12:17 PM.


#4 Teenage.Zombiee

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 02:53 PM

I think ZoneAlarm is a fantastic firewall and certaintly out does windows firewall.

Windows Firewall only offers inbound protection and can't protect you from outbound threats. Also I have noticed in the past when using windows firewall, it doesn't ask you about many things to require internet access.
However if you have another firewall (like ZA, or Comodo which asks you about absolutley every action that requires internet access on your system) it will alert you if any program has changed, wants inbound acces, wants access to ports etc.

Also Cb2 :thumbsup:
I think you'll find ZoneAlarm very sufficient. It doesn't take up many resources and is very simple to use. When uninstalling it is very simple, it doesn't leave any remains behind. You will be required to reboot though :flowers:

Teenage.Zombiee is back ! :halloween:


#5 tork

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 03:14 PM

I was trying to figure out how to unblock in Zone Alarm a program trying to access the internet. I was told that Zone Alarm doesn't work as a firewall and just slows down one's computer. So, what's your take on the free version of Zone Alarm? Is it worth it, or is Windows XP's built-in firewall just as effective? Are there any freeware programs that outperform Windows XP's firewall? Thank you for your suggestions.


To unblock a program in Zone Alarm: - just go into program control and remove the program being blocked by Zone Alarm from the Program listing. Then go to the program being "blocked and open it and zone alarm will yield some popups asking for permission and just grant them - say "Yes" - check always remember this setting.

If that does not work post back what program is being blocked by Zone Alarm and what version of Zone Alarm free firewall are you running?

#6 cb2

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 08:10 PM

I think ZoneAlarm is a fantastic firewall and certaintly out does windows firewall.

Windows Firewall only offers inbound protection and can't protect you from outbound threats. Also I have noticed in the past when using windows firewall, it doesn't ask you about many things to require internet access.
However if you have another firewall (like ZA, or Comodo which asks you about absolutley every action that requires internet access on your system) it will alert you if any program has changed, wants inbound acces, wants access to ports etc.

Also Cb2 :thumbsup:
I think you'll find ZoneAlarm very sufficient. It doesn't take up many resources and is very simple to use. When uninstalling it is very simple, it doesn't leave any remains behind. You will be required to reboot though :flowers:


Thanks for welcoming me to the forum. I like what I see on ZA's website about their free firewall. All I want is a simple yet effective 2-way firewall and ZA Free may fit that niche. But, doesn't the ZA Free Firewall...I'm talking about version 7.0...include the ZA Security Suite and is therefore a much larger download (45 mb) than others such as PC Tools (6.4) or Outpost (2.5 mb)?

#7 Teenage.Zombiee

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 09:10 PM

ZA is a rather large download, Im on dial up and downloading it was hell >.<
So maybe PC toos would suit you well? I hear it isnt a bad firewall :thumbsup:

Teenage.Zombiee is back ! :halloween:


#8 tork

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 06:52 AM


I like what I see on ZA's website about their free firewall. All I want is a simple yet effective 2-way firewall and ZA Free may fit that niche. But, doesn't the ZA Free Firewall...I'm talking about version 7.0...include the ZA Security Suite and is therefore a much larger download (45 mb) than others such as PC Tools (6.4) or Outpost (2.5 mb)?



The current zone alarm free - includes a 15-day trial Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite - hence the 43MB size. The trial period is very short. The Security Suite pieces of the free download become inoperable at the end of the trial period. So the resource usage on the ZA free is much larger than the others you mentioned and you end up with an unusable security suite after the trial period ends. Earlier versions of the free ZA firewall can still be downloaded and do not contain the security suite components - just the free firewall. I think the last version without the suite components is za free 7.0.408.000 It's still an excellent firewall without the baggage of the trial suite components hanging around inoperable/crippled.

#9 cb2

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 08:37 AM

The current zone alarm free - includes a 15-day trial Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite - hence the 43MB size. The trial period is very short. The Security Suite pieces of the free download become inoperable at the end of the trial period. So the resource usage on the ZA free is much larger than the others you mentioned and you end up with an unusable security suite after the trial period ends. Earlier versions of the free ZA firewall can still be downloaded and do not contain the security suite components - just the free firewall. I think the last version without the suite components is za free 7.0.408.000 It's still an excellent firewall without the baggage of the trial suite components hanging around inoperable/crippled.


I went to ZA's web site, but the only download link I see there is for the larger version. Do you know a trustworthy place where I can download the smaller version from? (I'm still kind of new to this.)

#10 tork

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 06:45 PM

Here's a link to download.com which has an older version of free zone alarm firewall:

http://www.download.com/ZoneAlarm-Firewall....html?tag=lst-1

#11 tork

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 08:04 PM

Here's a link to download.com which has an older version of free zone alarm firewall:

http://www.download.com/ZoneAlarm-Firewall....html?tag=lst-1



Did a little more looking on old versions for you - the above link I quoted still includes the phantom security suite as do all the version 7's.

Only the older version of zone alarm firewall 6 is just a basic firewall. The basic version 6 firewall can be downloaded from http://www.oldversion.com/program.php?n=zalarm

#12 cb2

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 09:47 PM

Did a little more looking on old versions for you - the above link I quoted still includes the phantom security suite as do all the version 7's.

Only the older version of zone alarm firewall 6 is just a basic firewall. The basic version 6 firewall can be downloaded from http://www.oldversion.com/program.php?n=zalarm


Thanks Tork. It's nice of you to help out.

#13 Teenage.Zombiee

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 03:08 AM

Please remember when downloading an old version of a security program that part of the reason why they made a new version is because hackers found a way around the old one.

So I really recommend the latest version of anything :thumbsup:

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#14 tork

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 08:40 AM

Cb2,

You are welcome - good luck with the firewall.

tork

#15 tork

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 08:47 AM

Newer versions are not always better, in my opinon - every computer and every user is different. In the case of the zone alarm firewall - the older version is solid and in use by many who shun the newer version because of the resource hogging and bloat. There is no point to a phantom inoperable/crippled security suite sitting on a computer taking up valued resources when the older version is the same firewall without the crippleware.

Edited by tork, 19 April 2008 - 09:17 AM.





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