I use an older version of Zone Alarm Pro (v4.5) because all I want is a great firewall. I don't need features that are covered by my antivirus. When they started adding all that crap to it, I stopped upgrading.
The pro version has an advantage over the free version in that I can import/export settings and add bad IP's to a block list.
Pro version also has some pretty good ad/popup blocking for IE that was important on my other pc when I was using a very light homemade browser
as my main browser.
It blocks what it should and doesn't block what it shouldn't...it works. What more do I need?
My new pc came with Norton pre-installed. What a nightmare! Every time I tried to use IRC, it would end up blocking the servers after the standard scan they do....even after telling Norton not to do that. I think I got rid of it after a max of 2 weeks of frustration.
In order to make more money, they added more crap to Zone Alarm. They didn't improve the firewall itself. That remained the same. What you get when you upgrade is stuff they have convinced you that you need, even though you probably already have it covered in other software, and maybe the other software is doing a better job of it. It's a sort of manufactured paranoia in order to boost profits.
When you have an already perfect product and there really isn't a way to improve on it, the only way you are going to get your customers to upgrade is to add new features.
How do you 'improve' the best firewall? By making it a combo firewall/antivirus....
But is that really an improvement if it's not the best antivirus?
No. You end up having to disable all the new antivirus stuff and running a good antivirus any way. Not disabling all that new stuff will make it conflict with any antivirus you decide to run.
So it would be pretty stupid for me to pay for features I am going to disable.
If you plan on relying solely on Zone Alarm as both your firewall and antivirus, then the upgrade or purchase of the latest version is worth it. But I don't have enough confidence in their product to trust it as my antivirus. I will let AVG handle that part of my security.
As far as Zone Alarm's firewall goes though, I love it.
I just took a look at my ZoneAlarm Pro licence and discovered that Heh Heh, it expired almost 4 years ago (meaning I can use it but cannot get the latest version or neither can I get access to help when a pop-up appears) . I'm still on ZoneAlarm 5.1
And despite the various never to be repeated offers to upgrade now and get our partner XYZ world's best-do-what-ever-it-is software also for free for a low upgrade fee.
I'm not sure if it's foolishness or stupidity or it would never happen to me attitude that made me stay off the upgrade train.
I keep reading about all these drive by websites attacks and what have you. So it makes me wonder.
I of course have the AVG 7.5, Windows Defender updated. Scan periodically. I set the Windows Update to automatic, although I have not installed SP3 as yet.
I haven't had anyone steal my identity as far as I can tell. LOL. I hope I won't regret saying this.
Wow, what version is ZoneAlarm Pro at now.
Just wondering what version should it get to before I get Alarmed enough to jump back on the upgrade train.
Anyway, the reason I'm writing this post was that after reading Gizmo's website about Firewall, I decided to check out Commodo's Firewall 3.0 - I dumped it not because it's bad, but it was intimidating with the number of pop-ups that I had to deal (probably will reduce as I use it more) with and it also blocked Activesync - I could not accept that.
I was wondering if there are many more out in donationcoder who have resisted the ZoneAlarm Pro upgrade train and continued with an "outdated" version for an extended period of time and still more than survived to surf another day.
Maybe if I feel the need to check out the ZoneAlarm upgrade train again, I may opt to check out Sunbelt instead and possibly just stick with the Free Sunbelt Personal Firewall which may by itself already be better than my good old trusty ZoneAlarm Pro 5.1, simply because Sunbelt has it's own upgrade train as well.