This easy-to-use firewall presents itself as a quality option for those seeking protection from the Net nasties. We like Sygate Personal Firewall's handy and clear interface, which lets you quickly disable the firewall and access dialog windows via the system-tray icon.
This application is a good bet for beginners because it's not necessary to configure any settings to get started. When the utility detects a program trying to connect to the Web for the first time, it asks you whether to allow or disallow access and remembers the setting. Advanced users can set permissions manually for any group of applications, such as a range of trusted IPs and protocols. Unfortunately, the current version isn't Vista compatible if you're looking for an alternative to the Windows Firewall.
The app didn't slow down our computer and less than 10 MB of RAM. Password protection guards against other users, such as children or employees, changing settings or turning off the firewall. Whether you're new to firewalls or have used them before, this free option should be on your shortlist.