ZoneAlarm Free Firewall

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall

Download Editors' Rating:
5
Spectacular
Average User Rating:
3.4
out of 3464 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    9.2
  • Total Downloads:
    51,128,864
  • Date Added:
    May 28, 2010
  • Price:
    Free
  • File Size:
    3.24MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    2,159
  • Platform:
    Windows
  • Product ranking:

Editors' Review

+

The bottom line: ZoneAlarm Firewall Free 9.2 has gotten quieter and more effective, and should be considered an excellent tool for replacing the adequate default Windows firewall with a stronger option that includes better outbound protection, antiphishing guards, and ZoneAlarm's behavioral detection network.

The changes made to improve the default firewall in Windows 7 are impressive, but the newest version of the free ZoneAlarm Firewall argues that Microsoft still has a long way to go. ZoneAlarm 9.2 introduces multiple new features to one of the world's oldest computer security programs including quieter outbound protection, behavioral detection from the ZoneAlarm Internet security suite, automatic Wi-Fi security setting activation, antiphishing protection, an overhauled ZoneAlarm toolbar, and 2GB of online storage for free.

Installation

Program installation was largely a smooth experience, taking about 5 minutes. Users will have to reboot their computers after its done. Prior users of ZoneAlarm's paid security suites might encounter some odd behavior if the uninstallation process of one of those programs left remnants, but this should be the rare exception and not the rule.

Interface

ZoneAlarm has unified its security interfaces, so users familiar with one program won't see dramatic changes in another. The left side contains navigation links; the center window is where all the action happens. As noted in the review of ZoneAlarm Extreme Security, it's not a bad design but it doesn't pop visually. The text links can be hard to read because of font choice, and although the center buttons are big, the details within could be easier to read.

Features and support

Designed to be used in conjunction with an antivirus program, the strongest tool in ZoneAlarm's belt is the outbound firewall. Though Windows does offer some outbound protection, it's not activated by default. Most users tend to leave it off because they either don't know about it, or when they do turn it on it regularly interrupts their workflow with pop-up security warnings. Older versions of ZoneAlarm used to be noisy with pop-ups as well, but the new version has been set to be quieter without changing the level of protection. If you prefer, this can be changed in the program settings.

During a half-day of testing the default ZoneAlarm Firewall settings, the only pop-ups encountered were those blocking new software installations. The pop-ups for the three programs tested went away and allowed the installation to proceed with one click. More than just a low rate of interference, only encountering pop-ups for program installations is precisely the kind of warning that keeps you aware of what's occurring on your computer without distracting you simply for surfing the Web.

The benefits of an outbound firewall might not be readily apparent. An inbound firewall blocks threats coming in from the outside, but an outbound firewall does more than prevent your computer from spreading viruses and malware to others. If your computer has been compromised by a botnet, for example, outbound protection will stop it from sending your data back to its host servers. It can also stop program spoofing, which is when a malicious program pretends to be a good one, and IP spoofing, which is when harmful network transmissions dress up as safe ones.

This update includes DefenseNet, ZoneAlarm's behavioral detection system of anonymously contributed data that's used to verify and block threats. Previously, it had only been present in ZoneAlarm's antivirus programs. You can opt out from it when you install, but contributing doesn't negatively affect your system's performance.

The ZoneAlarm toolbar has also been given more than a simple spit-shine. You can opt out of installing it when you run the main installer, and install it later if you wish, but ZoneAlarm was quick to point out that it without it key security features are not activated. Hiding the toolbar after it's been installed won't disable its protections, which include the aforementioned signature and heuristic-based antiphishing protections.

It also adds a site check option that can be used to reveal the date founded and physical location of the site and has customizable safe site buttons for launching regularly visited sites such as Facebook or your banking site. The e-mail checker built into the toolbar is compatible with Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, RR, Univision, and POP3 accounts. Unfortunately, there's no IMAP support. Finally, the toolbar links to ZoneAlarm's free 2GB of online backup space, courtesy IDrive, and six months free identity theft protection from IdentityGuard.

One of the more annoying limitations of the toolbar is that it only works with Firefox and Internet Explorer, even though Chrome has supported extensions for a year. Given the instability that toolbars contribute to IE, and the clutter that they add to the browser interface, ZoneAlarm would probably get more mileage out of the feature if it was reduced to a single button that opened a new window or expanded a set of buttons.

The Help link in the bottom left of the interface only links to the program's Help file. The only in-program access to the online help Web site, in the form of the free knowledge base and forums or paid telephone support during business hours, comes as a link under the Product Info sub-option under Overview on the left nav.

Performance

ZoneAlarm's performance was notable simply for how unnoticeable it was. Shutdown time did not appear to be affected at all, and neither did starting up cold nor rebooting. Changing the antivirus program that it was partnered with didn't affect the firewall's behavior, either. These are big changes from previous versions of ZoneAlarm, and obviously, they're welcome ones, too.

Conclusion

This update of ZoneAlarm Firewall Free should make people do a double-take because of the features and low interference level from the program. It also should do wonders for ZoneAlarm's reputation, but that has more to do with whether years of substandard updates can be erased by a firewall that is the strong, silent type that users need.

 
read more +

Publisher's Description

+
 
read more +
User Reviews
+
  • Current Version

    2.7

    out of 106 votes

    • 5 star 21
    • 4 star 24
    • 3 star 7
    • 2 star 11
    • 1 star 43
  • All Versions

    3.4

    out of 3464 votes

    • 5 star 1299
    • 4 star 745
    • 3 star 313
    • 2 star 289
    • 1 star 818
  • My rating

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1–10 of 106

5 stars

"FREE! easy to install, works great get it."

June 24, 2010  |  By sharwy

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 9.2

Pros

Zone Alarm fire wall was easy to install, easy to set up. Lets me know whats happening with programs accessing the internet, won't let any one in I don't want in. Love it. Glad I got it.

Cons

It can be irritating if you don't click the little arrow box so it remembers what your choice was to either permit or deny a program access.

Summary

Bottom line, I like it, it works well! No reason not to have it, works better then windows fire wall.

Reply to this review

Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

3 stars

"works ok on windows xp"

June 23, 2010  |  By LtTamer

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 9.2

Pros

once it learns the programs it runs in the backround.

Cons

slow to learn and sometimes makes boot time a little long.

Summary

Easy interface makes learning quick

Reply to this review

Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

3 stars

"Problems with Win 7"

June 23, 2010  |  By lee_jor

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 9.2

Pros

Has been great in the past with Win 98 and Win XP. I still use it on a number of Win XP machines with no issue.

Cons

I've had to un-install, and re-install (the latest version) 3 times on a Win 7 netbook. program, as was expected, and so it was blocked from web access. Not installed at the moment.

Summary

In Win 7 the ZA Icon doesn't show up in the bottom right toolbar and there was no other way to access the program. The icon in the start menu simply started the program running a second time! When I updated Firefox it didn't ask me to allow the "new" If I can find a solution for use with Win 7 I will try it again. As noted in previous posts, beware of added "extras" with the free version. In the past it has been a great product, not only preventing access to computers from the outside, but letting you know that a program on your computer is trying to get out to the net without your knowledge.

Reply to this review

Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

4 stars

"VERY POWERFUL FIREWALL!!!"

June 23, 2010  |  By t0n30

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 9.2

Pros

Protects my unit from both inbound and outbound...for a free product...this one is highly recommended for securing your unit...

Cons

causes some instability when browsing the net...but not very often...

Reply to this review

Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

5 stars

"Works great"

June 22, 2010  |  By poolm1

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 9.2

Pros

easy to use I wont use any other product

Cons

there was one problem years ago when there was a conflict with IE but that was soon fixed

Summary

ive had no problem for years since installing zone alarm

Reply to this review

Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

4 stars

"Very Satisfied with thisprogram"

June 22, 2010  |  By sdkitty1288

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 9.2

Pros

Easy to use .. just set it up and it pretty much takes care of itself.

Cons

Haven't found any cons yet

Reply to this review

Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

4 stars

"well...it's functional"

June 22, 2010  |  By SeriteR

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 9.2

Pros

it's easy to use.

Cons

there really isn't anything i don't like.

Reply to this review

Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

1 stars

"Automatically allows anything Microsoft"

June 22, 2010  |  By babblepfish

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 9.2

Pros

Affective if you don't mind everything Microsoft accessing the internet.

Cons

Still not working on the ASK setting for Microsoft programs such as IE but they have gotten it correct if you want to block programs--that part finally works.

Summary

I am using version 8.0.298.000 that works on the ASK setting for Microsoft (and other) programs.

This newest version does not resolve my main issue which is allowing anything Microsoft to access the internet. If I set something to ASK then I expect that is will ASK before accessing the internet. This is not the case......Zone Alarm does not ASK it just allows access which then makes it worthless to have.

Reply to this review

Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

1 stars

"stay away from this at all costs"

June 18, 2010  |  By larrymsn

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 9.2

Pros

none junk locks up machine takes out network

Cons

junk had to re-install win7 64 bit as this took out my network card and drivers had to reload win7 64bit completely

Summary

stay away from this as it causes more trouble than it is worth windows firewall is better than this

Reply to this review

Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

1 stars

"Locked up on Vista 32bit system"

June 18, 2010  |  By Bokonon819

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 9.2

Pros

None that worked

Cons

Hard to Delete after install; Had to run in 'safe mode' to delete.

Summary

After problems with earlier versions, still not the right fit for my machine.
Other firewalls out there that work well on the Vista 32bit systems.
Will not try again with this product.

Reply to this review

Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

Results 1–10 of 106

Add Your Review

Login or create an account to post a review.

You are logged in as . Please submit your review for ZoneAlarm Free Firewall
Add Your Review

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited.
Click here to review our site terms of use.

Update your review

Since you've already submitted a review for this product, this submission will be added as an update to your original review.
Submit

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited.
Click here to review our site terms of use.

 
see all reviews +

Full Specifications

+
What's new in version 9.2
In version 9.2 alerts are reduced by 97%; community-powered threat detection blocks the latest malware; Identity Protection Checkup verifies if your identity is at risk (U.S. only); site check and phishing detection blocks dangerous Web sites; Secure Online Backup (2GB Free) helps you restore any lost data.
General
Publisher ZoneAlarm
Publisher web site http://www.zonealarm.com/
Release Date May 24, 2010
Date Added May 28, 2010
Version 9.2
Category
Category Security Software
Subcategory Firewall Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size 3.24MB
File Name zafwSetupWeb_133_052_000.exe
Popularity
Total Downloads 51,128,864
Downloads Last Week 2,159
Pricing
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free

Previous Versions:

Add to my list Report a problem
 
read more +

More Products to Consider

Close[x]

Submit a problem report for ZoneAlarm Free Firewall

Please describe the problem you have with this software. This information will be sent to our editors for review.

Problem:

The Download.com Installer isn't working as expected

The download link does not work

The software has a newer version

The product contains malicious software

Other

Description:

Please select a feedback type.

Please enter a description.

Submit Problem Report

Close[x]

Problem Report submitted

Thank you for submitting a problem report! The Download team is committed to providing you with accurate software information.

OK