Pros Installation is easy
Cons Getting it registered to download updates is terrible
Summary After using the free version for a few months, I purchased the firewall and anti-virus version of ZoneAlarm. Installation went fine, and registration appeared to go without a hitch. It was only during the configuration of the program that I found out there was a problem.
In the "Overview" section, where you can see details about the program, I found that I still had an unregistered program. What? It went through - I thought. I tried several times to reregister and all attempts failed. I went to the ZoneAlarm web site and was forced to use their automated "help" system (which fails to both help or work most of the time). I found little to work with, especially since the "help" it offered was geared more for ZoneAlarm Pro (thus I was missing some tabs it told me to work with that are not in the version of the program I owned). Great. Thanks Zonelabs.
That isn't the end of it. There is no provision to contact anyone by any means other than email - and attempts to do so resulted in 404 errors. Nothing straightforward to allow contact as you needed to use their stupid bot.
I reinstalled the program three times to no avail. Each time deleting registry info, etc., to try and alleviate the registration problem which would not go away. No registration means no updates aside from the single anti-virus update Zonelabs so graciously allowed me to obtain.
OK, I gave an hour and a half of my life to this rotten program (I had better words for it then - as well as many generations of the people responsible for it at ZoneLabs) when I thought to go to Broderbund. Gasp! After burrowing down through their web site I actually found the way to fix the problem! Turns out that, for whatever reason, there was a problem with the initial registration (that it failed to inform me of) and that info was kept in a "hidden file" in the all users profile. It was also in a Broderbund folder and not a ZoneAlarm folder so you would not think to look for it there. Who thought of this Secret Squirrel garbage? Once I deleted that folder I was able to reregister - successfully this time.
Oh! But wait! Now my software has a registration pending notation in it. I still do not have a fully functioning program and may have to wait up to five days to get a new key to make it so. If this is a copy protection ploy that penalizes a legitimate user it is appalling! My gosh! What a stupid system.
If I do not get my key soon I will be returning it to the store and demand my money back for this piece of work. The FREE firewall worked fine, but it is not worth it to buy if this is what you need to go through to satisfy their hyper-anal control issues. I recommend that you seriously consider another product. Sure, Norton is a pain, but NOT to this degree.Updated
I did get fully registered by Zone Alarm the day following my initial review of their product here. That still does not change the fact that their registration scheme is a huge inconvenience.
Once I got everything fully activated, updated, and running correctly, I found it had become and enormous resource hog on my PC. It slowed EVERYTHING down! My PC, BTW, is a 2.4 ghz P4 with a gig of pc2700 RAM.
So, a quick uninstall later, my version of ZA went back to the store where I was given a refund. I was really disappointed by this as I was hoping for a better product to take me off Symantec. Not this time.
Pros Easy to use, no problems
Cons No spyware protection built in.
Summary I used Norton for years and thought that problems with antivirus software and a slower hard drive was just part of the price for using virus protection. Zone Alarm anti-virus and firewall is incredibly easy to use and I have never had any problems using the program. I have never noticed any impact on the speed of my computer. This is an excellent program.
Pros Minimal System impact once the OS Firewall is disabled.
Cons Zone Alarm blocks its own Antivirus update module.
Summary Unlike McAfee (which has totally screwed up it's product by trying to incorporate too much. Believe it or not, it actually makes my system run hotter!), Symantec, and others Zone Labs has, so far, kept it's product simple and easy to use while still delivering a top notch product. I think these companies that try to structure their product to do everything are going to find that many of us, who know even a little about system security, would rather use 3 different products to accomplish our goals than have our systems destroyed by one product that's trying to do everything.
"Excellent software"on by iamconan
Pros Fast antivirus scanning and excellent Firewall
Cons I found no cons.
Summary I have had problems with Zone Alarm Pro with its privacy sections. But I always liked the way Zone Alarm was easily configured for a firewall. I also liked the way EZ Antivirus from Computer Associates worked. I decided to make the purchase and I am very pleased. The firewall does not have the problems that the Pro version had and the antivirus scans as fast as the regular version of EZ AntiVirus 2005. I have tried several types of AntiVirus's, Norton-McAfee-PcCillin-etc., and found this software the best. The name brands caused major slowdowns on my computer or blue screens. I have had no problems at all with Zone Alarm with AntiVirus. After the years of misery of trying to find a good firewall and a good antivirus, I believe I have finally found it. Thanks Zone Alarm and Computer Associates for matching up.
I have tested both the firewall with several firewall test sites, Gibson Research, etc., and several antivirus test sites. I have found the results being well above normal. Both have received several recognitions for their testing results.
I am very happy with my purchase of ZoneAlarm with Antivirus.
Pros Looks Fancy with lot of settings and controls
Cons Complicated. Does not work with Vista. Too many alerts.
Summary I had to uninstall this as Vista was crashing while going into sleep mode.
No issues with Norton.