Home » internet

Zone Alarm Firewall 8.0.065

by James 28 December 2008 23 Comments

Overview
Zone Alarm is the most popular free firewall program. That’s right, it’s free. No trial version, no 30 days, nothing. It just works.

Review
Many of you suggested I should try Zone Alarm. I finally did and I was quite happy with the results. The download and installation will be pretty quick, only a few minutes. During the install process you can register your copy by entering a valid email adress. If you don’t register you won’t be able to download updates, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want that.

After installing you will have a few hours or days of annoying pop-up windows from Zone Alarm asking you to set trusted programs and so on. But that will be over once the programs you run frequently are remembered by Zone Alarm.

 

Zone Alarm screenshot

Zone Alarm screenshot

 

 

I’m going to be honest with you: I don’t really see the point in using a firewall program. I think that it takes up a lot of memory for nearly nothing. If you really want protection you should get a router with a firewall and that would protect your system better. 

But if we talk about Zone Alarm the good thing is that it doesn’t take up a lot of memory, only 2 to 4 MB. Well, I guess it can’t do much harm.

Version Tested

8.0.065

Author

www.zonealarm.com

Operating System

Windows All

Download link

Summary

It’s lightweight and easy to use.

 I’m not sure it really does something beneficial for your PC.

Rating

Verdict

My first option would be no firewall at all. Zone Alarm would be my second simply because it’s free and lightweight.

Subscribe to the full RSS feed to get the latest articles fast and easy!

If you have any trouble with this software just leave a comment, I’ll help you out! If you know better free programs in the same category, please let me know!

Share

23 Comments »

  • Dustin said:

    The biggest benefit to having some kind of software firewall like ZoneAlarm is that you are warned when programs try to access the internet without your knowledge. This can help prevent an infestation on your computer by preventing malicious software from downloading more and more malicious software. It can also warn you if a program has changed since the last time it ran. That way if a virus altered some of your trusted software with the intent of downloading more malicious software, it would alert you that your program has changed.

    I used ZoneAlarm for a long time before I realized that (for me) it didn’t really provide much benefit because I am generally very careful about what I install on my computer. But for someone who is more novice to the being online thing…it can be beneficial.

    Another good thing to note – firewall software can do more harm than good for novices…you can inadvertently disallow something that you should have allowed and make things not work. But – worse comes to worse – you can always uninstall, reboot, and reinstall.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    @Dustin
    Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate your effort and the time you spent to write it. Very informative and useful. I hope you’ll come back to comment on other posts too. Cheers.

  • Marco said:

    Can you comment on whether ZoneAlarm 8.0 (free version) has any ads nagging you to upgrade to their paid version? Version 6.x did not, but version 7.x did, so I stopped recommending it to people after that.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    @Marco
    I didn’t notice any ads in this version. It didn’t annoy me at all.

  • Rick said:

    I used ZoneAlarm years ago but eventually switched to Sunbelt Personal Firewall. After a 30 day trial, Sunbelt asks you to pay for it but if you don’t, it still works but in a limited capacity. Even the limited version works fine. I have tested my PC on http://www.grc.com website using “ShieldsUP!” which I highly recommend to anyone to test the security of the ports on their PC . The main reason I switched from ZoneAlarm is the same reason you described in you article; “After installing you will have a few hours or days of annoying pop-up windows from Zone Alarm asking you to set trusted programs and so on.” Sunbelt didn’t have that. I work on friends and family computers and I made the mistake of installing ZoneAlarm for a friend (who is by most means is computer illiterate). I eventually started receiving phone call after phone call asking me if it was alright to allow this or that program access to the internet. I hope you can see how this could get redundant, especially if I installed it on more than one “illiterate” person’s computer. That’s just my opinion.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    @Rick
    As I said, my first option would be no firewall at all. But I think that ZoneAlarm is quite OK, only those first few days require some attention. But I definitely understand your concern about your computer illiterate friends… 🙂 That happened to me several times, sometimes my phone kept ringing for hours and hours. You have to be patient with them. You see, my once “illiterate” friends are no longer bothering me because I managed to make them learn a thing or two about computers, so now they can do stuff by themselves and only contact me if there is something really serious to solve.

  • Das Fos said:

    -Why Not Comodo or Online Armor Free?
    According to Matousec,
    these two (2) (i.e. Comodo and Online Armor Free)
    offer the best Leak-Protection:
    http://www.matousec.com/projects/firewall-challenge/results.php

  • Johnny Karp said:

    @Das Fos
    Online Armor free looks interesting. Comodo is on the waiting list.

  • Das Fos said:

    PC Tools Firewall Plus 5.0.0.36 FREE is another option
    you may want to evaluate.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    Thanks for the suggestions Das Fos.

  • jani said:

    Hi.
    I like your site.Because great reviews for programs. I m behind of NAT/SPI Router. Should i use software firewall?

    Realtime protection now
    Avira Antivir Personal 9
    Sandboxie
    Winpatrol

  • Johnny Karp said:

    @jani
    I guess it would be redundant to use a software firewall too.

  • aziz said:

    lam kenal..,saya udah download zona alarm di link diatas,tapi setelah saya coba untuk instal dikomputer koq g bisa…kenapa ya…?gimana dunk…….

  • Johnny Karp said:

    @Aziz
    English, please.

  • Jenny said:

    Interesting stuff

  • Jeff said:

    China firewall is lame, use water to put out the fire of the wall but how do you get over the wall? – use Freedur.com to bypass it. You can bypass China Great Firewall and access youtube, facebook, blogger and all other sites which are blocked.

  • karl said:

    Have been using sunbelt personal ever sincé it was only kerio, and have liked it cause I was familiar with its settings and controls.

    But lately, despite it being shown as still being in startup, I periodically discover that it’s simply not running anymore — no error message; no notice that it’s cut out; taskmanager and “what’s running” still list its startup or initiation files, but the icon is gone from the taskbar, AND those programs (or proceswses) which I have never told it to permanently allow (to remember) NO LONGER CAUSE SUNBELT TO ASK MY PERMISSION TO ALLOW THE ONE TO START THE OTHER PROCESS!!!
    So I don’t know how long I’ve been surfing the internet with no firewall protection. I noticed, despite it’s being in the startup menu, that it was no longer starting at startup; so I added its initiation line to my autoexec.bat (which was otherwise empty in Win XP), and noticed that it did start up each time. But I suddenly notice, after the computer’s been running for several hours, that Sunbelt Personal firewall once again suddenly ISN’T running any longer!
    –Anybody have any advice?

  • Johnny Karp said:

    Karl, did you try to uninstall the program and then install it again? If you did and it didn’t work I really don’t know what to say because I didn’t use this program so far. But if it doesn’t work just try another freeware alternative, there are a few nice ones available.

  • JustMe said:

    @ karl

    Forget about that firewall. The same thing happened to me and I couldn’t make it work again. Besides, the link provided above by Das Fos shows that Kerio/Sunbelt (as well as ZoneAlarm, BTW) is close to useless.

    Now I’m using Comodo Internet Security (CIS), supposedly a very good free option, but I don’t know if it’s a recommendable choice for everyone. It uses too much CPU, requires intensive configuration, pops up too many warnings and questions (not as badly as Vista’s UAC, but close – e.g. every time you install ANY application) and reports way too many false positives (though the CIS support team is quick to correct them if you bother to inform them).

    Oh, and one more thing about CIS. By just installing it, my Windows XP registry was changed in a way that I couldn’t upgrade to Service Pack 3! Uninstalling CIS made no difference, so instead of applying tricky workarounds that would have risked the registry itself, I chose to reformat and reinstall XP, which is what I was trying to do anyway. So remember not to install CIS before XP SP3!

    In conclusion, the more I use security applications like this, the more I’m convinced about this sad truth: if you want them to really protect you, they’ll be an endless nuisance in terms of resource consumption and time wasted. On the other hand, those applications that seem lightweight, easily configurable and safe are normally useless, some kind of a “placeboware”.

    But hey, I’d be happy to be proven wrong! I’ll be waiting for the perfect (and free, if possible) firewall…

  • JustMe, again said:

    OK, so today I felt that I had enough of CIS and its CPU & RAM eating resident agent (which cannot be switched off BTW, not even by closing the whole CIS application), and decided to replace it with my good (?) old AVG free and (new to me but supposedly the second best free option) Outpost Firewall 2009.

    Wow, I gotta tell ya… CIS was SO good!! Or, how to say it, so less… infernal.

    This Outpost thing has reached, and easily surpassed, the annoyance level that for me only Vista’s UAC could provide. Thanks to this firewall, my Windows XP freezes for 5 to 10 seconds every time I perform one the following unusual and dangerous operations: open a program, close it, maximize a window, minimize it, click OK on a dialogue, etc.

    So yes, I couldn’t recommend this firewall more, or at all. Next on the http://www.matousec.com list is Online Armor Free. I’ll give it a try even though at this point I’m feeling pretty depressed about firewalls. I’m not even asking for a perfect one, just one that doesn’t make me want to kill myself while it tries to “protect” me…

    To be continued, I suppose.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    @JustMe
    Thanks a lot for posting your experiences with the various free firewall solutions, it’s great that you decided to share your thoughts with the other readers. I’m curious to read about Online Armor, so far I’ve been hearing nice things about it.

  • JustMe said:

    No problem, I’m happy to share, and venting my frustration every now and then feels good too, to be honest 🙂

    Though it’s too soon to have an opinion about Online Armor, my first impressions are a mixed bag. On the one hand, it doesn’t seem to impact my system performance as badly as CIS or Outpost (*), and on the other hand, it’s the first firewall that behaves like an AV or anti-spyware, meaning that first thing it asks you when you install it is to make the decision of either trust all the applications already installed (!) or let it scan your HDD for several minutes… Not much of a choice in my opinion.

    I’ll you let you know if a find a deal breaker…

    Bye.

    (*) OK, in order to be fair, I must say that I assume that Outpost does won’t behave for everybody like it did for me. There must be something in my PC that led it to freeze like crazy, but I think it’s also fair for me to get rid of it without wasting a whole week investigating he root cause and possibly finding an obscure workaround. I’ve better things to do and other firewalls to test, so…

  • gabe said:

    PC Tools FW is the very best I have ever tried for free and I’ve used them ALL.

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.