Windows Live OneCare
Full user review
"Going back to ZoneAlarm, not a reliable firewall at all"
FREE - and there's a reason its free = worthless.
I'm shocked Microsoft is giving away this useless tool, its false hope for those not savvy enough to know a good firewall from one that allows virtually any program free and open access to communicate with any unknown server online like a sieve.
Even after specifically telling it which apps can or cannot communicate or which programs autoupdate or refresh themsleves with popup nag screens, OneCare carelessly forgets all your settings like a person with a bad case of amnesia. Truely a sad commentary of the state of Microsoft's ability to produce anything of value to protect users from the vast ocean of inconspicuous apps that end up being any form of malware, spyware, keylogger, dataminer, identity thief or virus dropper.
Any good PC firewall should alert you when it detects programs or TSR's trying to gain unauthorized Internet access, especially rouge apps which are listed on every virus scanner's threat list, even Microsoft's own worthless antivirus app, MS Security Essentials. I thought Microsoft was wising up to the fact its core line of Operating Systems are so chock full of security holes that they felt obligated to somehow mitigate recent patches and hotfix releases. How wrong I was. Giving away free products and packaging them as so-called "essential safety-measures" intended to protect their greatest asset, paying customers, in all intents and purposes with OneCare, appears not only like a total farce, but an exercise in futility and false hope once installed.
If you enjoy tinkering your life away trying to find value in otherwise worthless Microsoft freeware, while rouge apps freely slip in and out of your PC, phone home with your sensitive data to mysterious offshore parties, then you'll love with this facade called Windows Live CareOne, unlike the rest of us, you enjoy toying with risky if not utterly compromised "security tools" that do little to protect your data and make firewalling your system a big fat April Fool's Joke every sing day of the year, not just April 1st.
Honestly ask yourself, does Microsoft give anything away for absolutely nothing? It didn't become one of the world's most profitable enterprises by giving away software. If its free and made by Microsoft, they decided not to charge anything for a big reason and it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out why. The best it could do was allow three rouge apps to freely connect to the Internet to autoupdate themselves and plague my desktop with a new round of offline popups and Viagra ads, only to wipe out my HP Color Laserjet Low Toner Alert, which were built into my networked color laserjet printers to inform me when a certain toner color is getting low. Yep, it stopped that "serious threat" and deleted my printer drivers from the system, preventing them from being reinstalled and preventing me from printing reports for my business clients, how handy. And that's about the extent of OneCare's ability to detect the unauthenticated pass-though of data, allow the bad apps easy access and kill the good ones.
So much for my foray into finding an even more useful firewall or security suite than ZoneAlarm FREE Edition (available here on CNet) which runs circles around this bloated Microsoft junkware.
Besides, my time on Earth is better spent being productive and serving humanity than serving Big Brother Microsoft as their Unofficial Beta Tester on freeware that works better in the Recycle Bin, than installed and wreaking havoc on my PC. With OneCare, the joke's on you.