Update I have mentioned this post again on our front page after TS editor, Erik Orejuela downloaded a free copy of ZoneAlarm Pro earlier this month. The result was catastrophic for his Vista installation, even after a complete removal of the program and a system restore using the built-in Vista tool, the OS was simply bogged down enough that a clean format was the easier path to follow.
Several people have commented here since this post was made over a year ago and admittedly without any scientific or extended tests, we still recommend you to stay away from the ZoneAlarm + Vista combo.
Original post (October 9, 2007):
On a follow-up to my post yesterday about basic security programs you should be running under Windows XP, ever since I upgraded to Vista I revisited those program choices which for the most part remained the same with the exception of the free ZoneAlarm firewall…
In general, Windows Vista’s security is tighter and services such as Defender are more integrated into the OS. During the first couple of months, AVG’s anti-virus did not like Vista and it was common to find certain programs not working correctly until updates were released, even more so security suites that have to deal more directly with the core of the OS. ZoneLabs makers of the ZoneAlarm firewall took its time until the program was ready for Vista and it wasn’t until recently that it was made available on its free form as well (not part of the paid full suite).
Well, in short the experience I had with the latest build of ZoneAlarm for Vista was horrific. I noticed slowdowns and strange behavior from the OS that simply wasn’t there before. In other words, a far cry from the seamless integration and speed seen with the XP version.
If you come from XP and want to install ZoneAlarm in Vista… just don’t do it.
The good news is that Vista’s built-in firewall has proven sufficient for me so far though it does not feature outbound traffic monitoring. It’s time to look for an alternative full-featured free firewall if you are running Vista.