"Works fine, no problems so far."4.0 starson by DrMicro
Pros: Nice Integrated package, excellent firewall and spam filter. Easy to install and manage.
Cons: None significant. Performance of AntiVirus segment still under evaluation (no infection so far)
Summary: I have used Zone-Alarm's firewall for years and consider it one of the best software-based consumer-level firewalls available. Several of my clients have used Norton Internet Security and McAfee's Internet Security with varying degrees of satisfaction. I have found the Norton and McAfee products to be memory and resource hogs. One client with the McAfee product had all of his email blocked by McAfee's Spam filter, even though he followed McAfee's instructions to the letter (which I confirmed). When I had an opportunity to build a new XP machine (on cable broadband), I chose Zone-Alarm to give it a try.
Now, after just over a month of daily use, I have to say that it has performed admirably. The installation was straightforward and easy to follow. The spam filter works great with Outlook Express, making a separate folder where it puts all suspected spam for user review (you can then decide whethere it's really spam or not and add it to the allowed sender list).
The firewall portion works just as well as their stand-alone product and we have had no problems going to standard sites in normal, everyday surfing. Nor have we observed any problems with other installed programs when automatically or manually checking for updates. If you've been a user of Zone-Alarm firewall for any period of time, you'll have no problem understanding how to manage this program either.
As far as memory and resource usage, I have found ZoneAlarm Internet Security to have minimal load on the system. Naturally, this will increase temporarily during program update or virus scanning, but this is normal, expected, and no different than any other anti-virus program I have used. I read all the user comments posted up to now and I can't duplicate or confirm the problems some of the reviewers reported. Since we are on broadband, the comment regarding the autodialer may be valid, but I can't help but wonder if the user tried to adjust their connection preferences (ie, always dial, dial whenever a network connection is not present, never dial) in Internet Explorer or not.
As far as the efficiency of the Antivirus portion of the program, I cannot speak to that other than to say we have had no infection or infected alert so far. I did run several scans using other antivirus scanners just to confirm this.
For those that may be concerned about whether ZoneAlarm's antivirus may be as effective as other antivirus programs, but like the other features, I might suggest running a second antivirus program in addition. I have run as many as three AV programs on a single PC with no interoperability problems.
In short, so far, I like this program very much. When combined with a good Anti-Spyware program (I strongly recommend Counter Spy, from Sunbelt Software), a modicum of common sense & safe surfing habits, and possibly a popup blocker (Google Toolbar is pretty good, and free) most users should be able to keep their computers free of bugs.Updated
It should be noted that my user review was on a new, clean-build XP Home machine with plenty of RAM (1Gb) and a fast processor (Athlon XP+ 3200).
When I have an opportunity, I'll also test this program in a more real-world situation, such as a machine that has been in operation for some time already, possibly already infected with spyware, slower processor and less RAM, and perhaps a less-speedy internet connection. I'll keep you posted when that opportunity arises.