Zone Alarm FirewallZone Alarm is one of the most popular personal firewalls for windows, and rightly so. It combines ease of use with advanced features seemlessly in a very smooth interface.
InstallingZone Alarm is free for home use, and the version we installed offered us a trial of the pro version, or to go straight to the free version. We plumped for the free version, and we wanted to see just how well zone alarm would work in its default settings.
Most personal firewalls have the idea of a trusted zone (your local network for example) and an untrusted zone (the internet) which it protects you from. Zone Alarm allows you to specify the level of protection for each zone independantly using a simple slider. This is great for most internet users as you don't need to understand about firewall rules, or stealth settings, you just leave the slider on high for the internet zone, and you have maximum protection.
SurfingThe first time you try to surf to a website, zone alarm pops up and asks if you want to trust your browser . This may seem odd, but it's there to protect you.
Should any malicious apps or spyware become installed on your PC, they won't be able to access the internet without your permission. This means they can't phone home with your credit card numbers of bank details.
Remember to tick the remember this setting box , so you don't have to answer the same question every time you access the internet.
The first time you go online, you will probably be prompted with a message from zone alarm that it has protected your pc. If your tick the don't show this dialog again then thatís the last time it will bother you.
Once you have told zone alarm to let your browser and email program access the internet, you may never be bothered by it again, as it gets on quietly on with it's job of protecting your pc.
Pros and ConsOf all the personal firewalls on the market, Zone Alarm has probably the simplest and least confusing interface, while still giving enough functionality for advanced users.
Of all the free personal firewalls we tested, zone alarm was the only one that had an uninstall option on the program menu. Of course the others can be uninstalled via the control panel, but having it there on the menu, adds to the feel that zone alarm was designed for users of any level of ability.
Overall we give Zone Alarm a 9/10 rating as probably the easiest free (for home use) personal firewall for windows.
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Choosing a Firewall
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