ZoneAlarm Free Firewall - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall

CNET Editors' review

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall protects your Windows PC from intrusions and online threats. It's easy to use and works alongside your antivirus and other security tools, including many other firewalls. Its Auto-Learn feature conforms to your computer use. After you've allowed your frequently used apps, ZoneAlarm mostly works in the background, only appearing when something changes, like when you install a new program -- or some hacker tries to.

To install ZoneAlarm Free Firewall, you must opt for an IE toolbar and search provider (which keeps ZoneAlarm free of charge), though they uninstall with a click; or (like us) you could simply use a different browser. ZoneAlarm's setup process includes selecting optional AUTO-LEARN and MAX SECURITY modes, and the wizard does a good job of explaining both. When done, ZoneAlarm indicated its status in its system tray icon and a main console that also offered Tools and other features.

But that's just the first step with ZoneAlarm. For a while, its security pop-ups will appear frequently, including the first time you run your programs and when your antivirus and other software updaters try to access the Internet. You can click "Allow" or "Deny," as required, and check a box to have ZoneAlarm remember your choice. After a while, the pop-ups appear less frequently, but don't get lazy and reflexively click "Allow" each time! ZoneAlarm Free Firewall is effective and easy to use.

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All User Reviews

Results 1-10 of 3189

  • 5.0 stars

    "The Best FREE 2-Way Firewall for power-users."

    March 21, 2014  |   By lllZlll

    Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 12.0.121

    Pros

    It protects inbound "AND" outbound connections. It completely conceals your computer from sniffers. It allows "you" full application control.

    Cons

    Not recommended for novices or those unable/unwilling to research and understand what they're reading.

    Summary

    There are a lot of negative reviews on this, but these are entirely due to a lack of understanding. I've tested dozens of free firewalls and ZoneAlarm is the best for power users on a budget. I wanted complete control of my computer and applications (e.g. the ability to block 3rd-party apps calling out or accessing trusted resources without my permission and etc.) and only ZoneAlarm offered this ability for free. I really wish that if people didn't understand what was happening, they'd refrain from giving their input, but unfortunately... everyone's an expert. I suppose this is how the Comodo line of products got such great reviews with a flashy easy-to-use interface, yet when one with technical know-how actually tracks internally what they do... he/she finds that it does nothing that it claims (just a flashy empty box, metaphorically speaking). However, Zonealarm makes good on it's claims... granting the user complete control over their applications and making your computer invisible to hackers.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "You may not want to install on an older PC running XP."

    January 20, 2014  |   By personwithknowledge

    Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 12.0.118

    Pros

    You get the Zone Alarm toolbar whether you want it or not. You cannot download the "Free" program without accepting such. I now know I should have stopped the download when they insisted I except their toolbar as "payment" for use of their program.

    Cons

    I was unable to get my computer past the restart clock startup before this program CRASHED my computer. Had to restart in safe mode and uninstall program. Note, Zonealarm will not uninstall in safe mode if you do not have an enhanced uninstaller. It is designed for it's uninstaller not to operate in safe mode. Absolutley outragious! Had to manually check off all it's attributes in my uninstaller's advanced mode. This was the 1st CRASH in a very long time. I keep my computer fairly trim and lean and error free. I just wasted over 2 hours of my valuable life fixing this, Hope info will assist others.

    Summary

    Know that you cannot unistall this program in safe mode without an enhanced unistaller.

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Falling behind the times"

    January 17, 2014  |   By slickr

    Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 12.0.118

    Pros

    Its free
    Offers decent firewall protection

    Cons

    Its bloated, in the past like 2-3 years ago it used to be very light, very small, small footprint, these days its way more bloated.

    The protection hasn't really improved over the years, it still has the solid core its always had, but its just not that overall effective anymore.

    Doesn't work with a lot of antivirus programs and causes various conflicts. I mean this isn't exactly the firewall problem, but Zonealarm don't care and don't make any efforts to work with other security publishers to resolve the issues.

    Summary

    I used to love Zonealarm and all its products, especially the firewall, I sued to run just the firewall with 1 malware program and never had any problems, these days though its just not effective anymore at blocking threats.

    While the firewall does its basic job, it ends there. Zonealarm was really the first firewall maker, they were the innovators, they invented pretty much all of the cores that firewalls use these days, but since their days of invention and improving every products, they haven't done anything for the past few years.

    No new features in their firewall, no advanced defense techniques, some of the old weaknesses with their firewall hasn't been fixed and/or changed to act differently, etc...

    Overall I think Comodo firewall is way better, private firewall is better and even the Microsoft build in firewall in windows 7 and 8 are as good.

    I'd recommend if you need a separate firewall to your antivirus to go for Comodo, or get Comodo internet security, its a free security suite with firewall, antivirus, HIPS technology, virtual environment, you name it.

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Once upon a time . . . . Not anymore!"

    January 16, 2014  |   By CyberMermaid

    Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 12.0.118

    Pros

    * Firewall is good enough.
    * Interface is easy to understand.

    And that's about it.

    Cons

    Forced add-ons like antivirus, its own search engine, etc.

    Summary

    My antivirus provides better firewall protection than Zone alarm. It was good once upon a time, but not any more.

    And if u are curious to know which antivirus I'm speakin about, its Kingsoft antivirus.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Only the best reviews"

    January 9, 2014  |   By JhonOrion

    Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 12.0.118

    Pros

    Only the best reviews

    Cons

    Only the best reviews

    Summary

    Only the best reviews

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  • 2.0 stars

    "refused to load on my PC and locked up my OS"

    December 30, 2013  |   By g2wmson

    Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 12.0.118

    Pros

    I have used and liked other versions of ZA. I've used them a several different machines in the past.

    Cons

    Previous versions have been easier to install and use. I wish this new version of ZA had done the same thing. it never did fully install and locked my machine up while down loading. I uninstalled the program without ever getting it to run. I would be using it instead of another program

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  • 4.0 stars

    "still good just have to look hard for the op out button"

    December 27, 2013  |   By victorpc

    Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 12.0.118

    Pros

    works well for free has some faults

    Cons

    There's a gaping backdoor with the product with respect to the Application Control Settings. The process "Host Process for Windows Services" is a shared component made by Microsoft and many programs can use this to access the internet. zonealarm does not handle well

    Summary

    when at the install spy bars at the bottom left corner in a slightly lighter color to background the words "skip all offers" click on and processed this may change if to many catch on

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Good Firewall but poor application control"

    December 12, 2013  |   By arobertson1

    Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 120.104

    Pros

    I've used ZoneAlarm free for many years and it is very good program for blocking intrusive attempts to access your computer. It has many settings depending on your ability and advises you when something is trying to do something suspicious. It works well with other antivirus products (providing you use the firewall only) or it can be used with Checkpoint's antivirus as well.

    Cons

    There's a gaping backdoor with the product with respect to the Application Control Settings. The process "Host Process for Windows Services" is a shared component made by Microsoft and many programs can use this to access the internet. The problem is ZoneAlarm is unable to discern between a legitimate process such as Firefox or whether it is a piece of malware using the process. There is more information here:

    https://www.zonealarm.com/forums/showthread.php/80374-Corel-pop-up-and-connection-not-blocked-by-ZAFree

    Summary

    On the whole it's better than the Windows firewall but there are serious issues that Checkpoint need to address with regard to application control.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "PAGE FAULT IN NONPAGED AREA"

    December 10, 2013  |   By Windows78

    Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 120.104

    Pros

    -Good protection

    Cons

    -Slowing down my startup
    -Very annoying
    -Tries to bundle toolbar
    -Got some BSOD-s
    -Slowing down pc

    Summary

    Stay away from this software

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  • 3.0 stars

    "GOOD FREE FIREWALL .. !!"

    December 7, 2013  |   By vcoolguy

    Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 120.104

    Pros

    * BETTER THAN WINDOWS FIREWALL.
    * PROVIDES 2-WAY PROTECTION(INBOUND & OUTBOUND)
    * SIMPLE INTERFACE

    Cons

    * FORCES YOU TO INSTALL TOOLBARS.
    * NEW VERSION HAS BUGS WHICH KEEPS INSTALLING ZONEALARM FREE FIREWALL AFTER EVERY RESTART.SO, YOU WILL HAVE TO MANUALLY DISABLE THE INSTALLER FROM START-UP.

    Summary

    GREAT FREE FIREWALL BUT NEEDS IMPROVEMENTS.

    Reply to this review

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Results 1-10 of 3189

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