"User-friendly, stable with XP SP2, not a system hog"4.5 starson by SouthernGeek
Pros: Lean, efficient, customizable, crisp automatic updates
Cons: logs could be more detailed
Summary: I'm another "ZA convert": Like several of the other reviewers here, I too started with Norton Antivirus (NAV) -- it came with the computer running Win XP Pro SP1. Then came SP2, I upgraded to SP2 and NAV 2005 but NAV2005 kept causing Windows to crash and caused some major system conflicts when running the "scan on access" option.
I went online and saw a lot written up about NAV being a major system resources hog, so I decided to give the Zone Alarm Security Suite a try (my Zone Alarm Pro firewall was coming due for renewal, perfect timimg).
ZA's virus scanner is much more lean & efficient. I run the "scan on access" option and it doesn't slow down the system at all -- even when multitasking with database programming and multimedia apps. The virus scanner goes through the files much faster than NAV 2005 did. Less than half the time. The ZA virus scanner also doesn't hog resources, and the computer doesn't slow down while contunuing to work. There have also been no conflicts at all with SP2 -- ZA was ready for SP2 but it looks like NAV wasn't.
Yes, my ZA also crashed on June 9 -- a case of "quick, unplug the network cord" -- If this crash was really as widespread as the other reviewer here made me think, then ZA should have sent out an email explanation to all its subscribers.
The only minor gripe I have is that I wish there were an option to set a virus database update to coincide with the automatic virus scans. If my antivirus kicks in say Monday morning but the last automatic update ran on Friday, I end up stopping the scan, running update to catch any updates, in order to run scan for viruses based on the _latest_ knowledge base. It would be handy if this could be set. It would be nice to have more detail in the log files.
Overall, ZA is an excellent product, and I recommend it over the others because ZA seems the most efficient in its use of system resources. ZA is intuitive to set up, it allows for any preferred security levels, and the help documentation has a lot of depth to it.
As security companions, I also recommend PestPatrol to get rid of spy/malware and WindowWasher to keep the computer cleaned off.