Free Windows Firewall

Discussion in 'General' started by popowich, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    I have Windows XP on my laptop. Which free firewall for Windows do you prefer?

    I'm done with Zone Alarm. It has no memory / something is wrong with it's ability to remember my network history.

    Zone Alarm works OK on my desktop but on my laptop I get a series of popups every time my network connection changes :

    Zone Alarm Found New Network.JPG

    I went looking for the Sygate firewall but it looks like they were taken over by Symantec.

    I'm not a fan of anything related to Norton or Symantec :hammer:

    I did a Google search and came up with the PC Tools Firewall that I'm trying out now.
     


  2. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    I'm already missing one feature of zone alarm. The block once and ask again later. What the heck is NVTL Server Application? I'd hate to block it if it's going to be a problem the next time I connect to my corporate network. Google doesn't seem to know what it is either. Oh well.
     

  3. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    Ha, I didn't see the little remember this setting checkbox.

    Uncheck and block!
     
  4. foggy

    foggy Valued Member

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    I used to use free Online Armor when I had a computer with XP. (I still have that on my aunt's laptop which uses XP SP3.) It seemed to work well, and was recommended because it did well on 'leak tests' -- better than the Kerio firewall I had used before that. I did use the PC Tools firewall at one point and wasn't unhappy with it. Just tried different things.

    OA does nag a bit, though.

    Now that I have a new Windows 7 computer, I just use the built-in firewall. That way I have one less thing to worry about installing. I hope it's doing its job !

    I've toyed with the idea of installing a Linux OS (Mint or Ubuntu -- maybe as a dual-boot set-up ?), but I really don't know much about such things. But I've heard that security software isn't (yet) as much of a necessity with Linux as with Windows. I don't know how that would apply to firewalls...
     
  5. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    Most of the high level principles are the same for securing any operating system connected to the internet.

    The how-to details are different but the general list is:

    • Use whatever operating system and services you can support the best
    • Do not install extra and unnecessary services and software packages
    • Turn off services that you do not plan to use
    • Configure a software firewall in addition to any hardware firewall that might also exist
    • Only allow the internet to connect to the absolute minimum of required services
    • Keep your patches up to date!
    Big Dan and I can field a wide variety of Linux questions if you want to go for it!
     
  6. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    The PC Tools firewall does the same thing to me as Zone Alarm but at least I can clear it with a single click now.

    The laptop is the biggest problem since it's frequently jumping between combinations of wired, wireless, regular internet, VPN, and my Sprint internet when outside the house connections. :D
     
  7. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    The Zone Alarm frequently pops up other notifications too trying to get you into their paid version :

    Zone Alarm Advertisments.JPG

    The PC Tools firewall is pretty quiet and works the same way.

    Allow expected programs when you click on them, block programs when you are not sure what's going on yet.
     

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