No popups!. Now that's a change from Zone Alarm, Outpost, Kerio, Kaspersky and Comodo, all of which I have used and discarded, mainly for the reason of excessive popups and poor learning skills.
Well, there are no popups if you stick to the firewall's default operating mode, in which it will allow everything out and let nothing in. This is okay if you never want to stop any apps from connecting out, and if you don't use p2p. For something like BitTorrent, for example, you need to switch to interactive mode, get the prompt from the firewall and tell it to let torrent traffic in, otherwise it's no go.
When you're sure all the rules have been set up properly, you can enable the "Policy" mode, where the firewall uses the rules and denies all other traffic, so you're free from popups again.
Personally, I choose to live with popups, they're very nicely designed
.marek, a pretty happy ESS userEdit:
I want to qualify the "pretty happy" part. It's been working almost flawlessly for me, which is fantastic for a completely new product, and it certainly works much better than recent versions of Outpost (to which I was quite attached for a long while) and Comodo (which killed my LAN and wouldn't be persuaded otherwise).
However, the ESS firewall does have a persistent bug, much discussed on Wilders Security Forum. No matter what the firewall config, you cannot browse other machines on the LAN. The LAN still works, shares work normally, network drives that have drive letters assigned likewise work. The only issue is that you cannot see or navigate the list of computers. Some people only see the local machine listed, others see nothing at all. Uninstall ESS and all is as it should be. This is a bit of a bummer, but since "cd \\machine\share" works fine, it's not a showstopper.