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Best Firewall for XP and XP64bit?


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#1 WRX_Rocky

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 02:09 PM

I was using ZoneAlarm PRO for a long time, but the latest updates totally hosed my system, as well as a LOT of other's (see their fotum and you'll know). I am currently trying Sygate's, but it is an old version, and now they are part of Norton (which I am not too sure I like from other problems and services running in the background taking up resources). So I just don't know where to go to find honest reviews, or which brand to get.

What a shame these days. We buy the fastest CPU's, best vid cards, tons of RAM - only to be slowed down by anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall software.

#2 Sampson

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 10:56 PM

I share your lament. Anyway, rather than just looking at a software firewall, you really have to think of "defense in depth." If you are using broadband, your first purchase is not a software firewall but a router. Many routers now have their own firewall software that you can configure with no need to have an additional software firewall. Your machine will certainly run faster that way.

Having said that, and the addition of a software firewall may be like using a belt and suspenders, I use a software firewall to protect me from my own stupidity. Many routers will disallow most incoming packets, but do not necessarily impede outgoing packets, which, of course, is what bots and trojans do once they are installed. And, we get those varmints from installing software that we find interesting on the net. After this, you will want to install anti-virus and anti-spyware software.

Sygate probably is still one of the best. As to being "old", on one of my machines I am still using a very old version of Tiny. Port blocking sounds like rocket science, but they are just ports.

Down to cases - if you are on broadband, many of these ISP's will provide you with free software that they have arranged with some company. For example, many Road Runner ISP's use CA's EZ Firewall, Anti-Virus, and PestPatrol. The reason - it is cheaper to give away free software than to have their techs overwhelmed with people calling in because they have clogged their computers with viruses, trojans and spyware that have brought their computers to their knees and they can't figure out why their high internet speed has slowed to a crawl.

As I understand ZoneAlarm's problem, it has to do with vsmon.exe and the size that it grows to and the instability that results. Sorry that your computer got clobbered, but for the most part, they've had good results. Since you have decided to abandon them, and since you seem to be allergic to Symantec, you would probably also be advese to McAfee since like Norton's it gets a tad bit territorial with your system.

As a suggestion - AVG now provides a Firewall in addition to their anti-virus software. I believe Ad-aware also provides a firewall as part of their premium package. One you might look at is Outpost. To me (and I am no software tester) it seems to do an above average job.

As to your last comment that with all the spectacular goodies that new computers offer, it is a shame that seem still to operate as Dos speeds.

#3 lostcoders

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 12:17 PM

When many people think of firewalls they instantly think of Zonealarm and its yellow interface. Sygate suffers from popularity because of its user interface compared with the likes of ZA but unfortunately ZA's inconsistancy with stability forced many people to look for a new firewall. I've been using Sygate since ZA version 5 came out and i have to say that it hasn't let me down once. It is almost 100% stable with only one glitch i can think of. I even use it to monitor my network which ZA Pro struggled to do. Once you get used to the interface and settings Sygate beats the socks off ZA. I've heard that the latest ZA has sorted out its stabilty problems but i don't care, ZA will mess up in the future at some point and Sygate works really well so if it ain't broke don't fix it. I also like the signature updates. Get Sygate!

#4 WRX_Rocky

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 08:24 PM

I have SBC, so I have the 2Wire router that does have a hardware firewall built into it. I also have an Asus A8N SLI DLX mobo with also on the NVidia nic, it has a built in firewall. But nowhere can I find proper info on how to properly set it up. So I believe I have disabled it for now (the software to control it has only gotten me deeper in trouble LOL). And the few choices the 2Wire web based software gives me, I am not sure that is right either. So I am now using the Sygate FW, but as it is old, and is the freeby with no more support, I don't have much control over it as well.

Now, if ZA has finally fixed then ver 6 problem, that could be an idea as I AM a paid and registered user - but am just a bit afraid of trying them again.

#5 Sampson

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 10:17 PM

Zone Alarm seems to be happy with their update. There is a free copy of Outpost Pro: http://www.agnitum.c...tpost/index.php that you can download and try. It does expire after a time, but it is also pretty reasonable.

#6 CyBorg

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 03:34 PM

I started with ZA (years ago) but quickly abandoned it once I tried Sygate's free personal edition. I've used Sygate ever since. When I got myself a new machine it had a 90 day Norton Internet Security 2005 on it, and it didn't make much noise, so I kept it. Until I tried to renew it, and paid for a license and LiveUpdate stopped working. The reply I get from Symantec was that LiveUpdate had become corrupt... My experience (25 years in systems development & management) is that the chance of a system file getting corrupted in a fully protected system at the EXACT same time as the subscription has to be renewed is... ah... slim. After having spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get it to work, I get the suggestion to reinstall. And it won't let me, the sysadm uninstall. At this point I'm quite fed up so I just wreak havoc in the registry, losing every reference to Symantec - I'll post a follow-up on that one - I need some help on that issue. Either way - now I'm running Sygate and AVG - both of which are easy to install despite the automatic updates still not working properly.

Sygate, in other words... :-)

Carl

#7 Cormac

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 06:30 PM

Personally Cyborg, I wouldn't use AVG for my anti-virus. In the last testing of the top 50 AVP's it came in 15th overall. You can see the results at this website. http://www.virus.gr/...sp?id=72&mnu=72

You could get Anti Vir at major geeks, if you want to of course. It ranked 8th on the test and it is a free program also. http://www.majorgeek...ion_7_d955.html

#8 CyBorg

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 10:09 PM

Thanks for the heads up, Cormac! Appreciate it! laugh As a matter of fact I wouldn't even mind paying for an Antivirus, just as long as it didn't come with a ton of bells and whistles that bogged down my machine...




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