Good, free firewall software?

I just upped from dialup to a cablemodem, and am unfamiliar with firewall software. I use AVG free antivirus, which works great. Anything similar out there for a free firewall?

I use Kerio on one PC and Zone Alarm on another. Do a quickie search for the links.

Thanks, zonealarm sounds familiar. (googling) I think I found what I need:

ZoneAlarm Free

ETA: 39 meg download in 70 seconds. Woohoo!

If you have a router for a network (wired or wireless), that should have a built-in firewall, and better than a software program. Even if you don’t need a network, it might be worth the purchase.

If you have a spare machine (can be really low spec) you could run a Smoothwall firewall.

It replaces your OS with a linux distro, so you can’t run it on a windows or mac box.

I would always use a software based firewall over a hardware one. I would go with zonealaram free

Why? for cost reasons? Generally, functions in hardware are faster, won’t impact the computer, and are less subject to tampering by rogue programs.

Okay, I’m thoroughly confused. I downloaded the zonealarm free from the link above and ran the install. I answered all the questions, and it seemed like it was going fine. It ended by saying I had to reboot to finish, which I did.

So, uh, where is it? I see no icon in my system tray, and when I click Start => ZoneAlaram => ZoneAlarm Security, I see no visual feedback whatsoever. I hear the hard drive spin for a bit, so it’s doing something, but I’ve yet to see one iota of user interface from this thing.

And coming onto the SDMB brought up no dialogs. Isn’t it supposed to ask me about each and every website? It asked nothing.

What the hell?

Does it make a difference that I don’t have a network card, but am attached to the cablemodem via usb?

Also, the first time I tried to make that last post, I got a timeout. No big deal, happens on the dope all the time, right? But I was unable to connect to any website, including google. That’s seriously fucked up. So I rebooted, and now I can connect.

I am getting increasingly annoyed. Still no visual feedback of any kind that zonealarm is even running. Clicking it from the start menu continues to do absolutely nothing.

I see zlclient.exe in my processes list in task manager, for all the good that does me.

Hardware firewalls don’t tend to block outgoing items. Software ones seem to come with that standard.

After another 10 minutes or so I was again unable to connect to any site on the internet, so I had to reboot again. This is way more aggravation than I’m willing to put up with on a regular basis.

My plan of attack is now:

Uninstall zonelaram
Run complete scans with AVG (70 minutes) and Ad-Aware (20 minutes)
Reinstall zonealarm
Throw the fucking computer out the window

Any ideas are welcome.

This fucking piece of shit comes up with the message:

The file
could not be opened

Thanks, dickweed! That’s not annoying at all when I’m trying to uninstall your fucking piece of shit. Now I get to manually uninstall this garbage.

Any fans of ZoneAlarm willing to try and convince me to give it a second chance?

ZoneAlarm is like that. It works fine, except when it doesn’t.

Uninstalling it is a good idea, but it won’t remove everything. You might want to Google for some more info on what you will have to remove manually. Or just uninstall and if you can surf the web again, forget about the crap it left behind.

Comodo is an alternative. They offer a free version.

Edit: Ah, I see you’ve already entered ZoneAlarm uninstall hell. Booting in safe mode before uninstalling will help.

I have installed it on loads of computers and have it on one of my own (incompatible with Vista, redundant with the others).
Although I have heard some major whinges about problems with it I have never encountered a problem.

Sygate used to be a wonderful alternative until Norton/Symantec bought and killed it.

Because software ones block out going programs and allow you to decide if they want to connect to the internet. If i decide i dont want Adobe Photoshop to connect to the internet i dont have to let it. I would go software firewall over hardware

Also, no firewall (that I know about) will ask about websites. ZoneAlarm and others will ask about programs connecting to the internet. Most are configured to know that Internet Explorer is supposed to connect to the internet, and do not ask about it. When you get a firewall working, you will get a few Windows programs with non-descriptive names which try to connect. I cannot tell you, off the top of my head, which ones to allow. Sorry.

Some other things:

  • If you are running Windows XP and want to run a software firewall, it is best you disable XP’s firewall
  • When installing a firewall, it is best to temporarily disable anti-virus programs. Might not be always necessary, but it could be an issue.
  • If you have system restore turned on, you may want to restore to a point before installing ZoneAlarm after the uninstall.

And, in breaking news and of no consequence to this thread, the Giants have just been notified, through his agent, that Strahan is considering retirement. :mad:

Gotta disagree with you ChrisBooth12. Standard routers (which essentially function as firewalls) are always on, don’t (typically) crash, are cheap, support multiple PCs, don’t constantly need updates, and don’t create extra vulnerabilities.

Besides which, if something bad is running on your PC trying to connect outward, it’s already too late to be trying to do anything about it.

Could somebody please post instructions here on how to uninstall zonealarm manually? No links; I can’t seem to navigate to them, and also I keep getting links to a generic zonealarm homepage that has no identifiable uninstall instructions.

There is a bunch of links to pdf versions of user guides, but there is one for each version of zonealarm. Since the installed zonealarm on my machine has no user interface whatsoever, I do not know what version I have.

I hope whoever designed this piece of fucking shit is having an equally shitty day as mine.

Be sure to install from an account with Administrative privileges, if your OS supports them.

Please do the following. If any of the steps below do not apply to you, or you are unable to perform the function listed, please CONTINUE to the next step.

Open the ZoneAlarm program, go to the OVERVIEW -> PREFERENCES tab, and make sure the Load At Startup box is UNchecked. Close the program, then right-click on the ZA icon and select Shutdown.


You should now have no ZoneAlarm processes running on your system.

Now click Start -> Programs -> Zone Labs -> Uninstall. Be sure to say YES to the security check.

WARNING - Do NOT run the ZoneAlarm Uninstall program while in Safe Mode unless absolutely necessary. The program may not be able to make the proper registry changes in Safe Mode, thus generating errors after a reboot.


To make sure that you can see the ZoneAlarm system files, if they are still on your computer:
a. Right-click on Start, then left-click on Explore. When the Windows Explorer panel appears:

  • In Windows 95, 98, 98SE: Click View -> Options (in Windows 98/98SE, this will be called “Folder Options”). Click the “View” tab, then click the “Show all files” radio button.

  • In Windows ME, XP, 2000: Click Tools -> Folder Options. Click the “View” tab, then click the “Show hidden files and folders” radio button.

b. Make sure you also UNcheck the box to “Hide Protected Operating System Files” if you have one.
c. When searching, be sure it searches ALL hidden files and folders (in XP: check Advanced search settings)
d. Click OK.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Making modifications to system files may disable crucial functions of your Windows operating system. We strongly suggest re-enabling the “Hide files and folders” feature once all ZoneAlarm files have been removed.

Click on Start, then Search or Find, and select Files. Make sure that the location box is set to search your local hard drive (usually C :slight_smile: or All Local Drives.

Type the following exactly and delete the folder:

zonelabs (under your SYSTEM or SYSTEM32 folder)
“zone labs” (under your Program Files folder)
“Internet logs” (under your Windows or WINNT folder)

Type the following exactly - delete files found in \Windows or any subfolder below it, in your \Temp folder, or in the Windows “Pre-Fetch” folder):


vsutil.dll (please right-click, Properties -> Version to be sure it is a ZA file. Do NOT delete this file unless it is a Zone Labs file!)

Make sure your Recycle Bin is empty (right-click and select Empty).

NOTE: If you received an error message upon deleting the files, or if the original programs remain in the Programs list, or if the problem persists after this, removing the files in Safe Mode will allow you to delete the files properly. Click Start, Help, and search for “SAFE MODE” for information specific to your system.

Edit: D_Odds said the same thing, only better.