My experiment with a third party firewall

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.security_admin (More info?)

As many of the regulars here know by now, I am generally a critic of third
party firewalls for Windows with SP2 installed (which probably puts me in a
distinct minority).

Well, as an experiment, I decided to try the CA firewall (an ICSA Labs
certified version of the Zone Alarm firewall, I believe). I managed to
install it successfully on the first try by turning off the Windows SP2
firewall BEFORE rebooting (also, I'm using the latest version of EZ Armor,
which only recently became available). In the past, I have had a horrible
time trying to install it correctly.

Anyway, after successfully rebooting, my first test was a speed test to see
if the firewall was slowing down my Internet connection. It isn't. If
anything, it was slightly faster with the CA firewall, although the
difference was so small that the difference was probably random.

Now I am making sure that it isn't blocking any of the programs that
legitimately need Internet access -- a problem (or, more precisely, an
annoyance) that I have had in the past. So far, it isn't, at least not with
the default settings. It helped that upon installing the firewall, I tried
to access the Internet with every program that I regularly use.

Anyway, I expect to have an occasional hiccup along the way, but if I can go
two weeks without any major problems, I may change my mind completely about
these third party firewalls, or at least this one. I still would recommend
to manage your privacy settings yourself through Internet Explorer (or
Firefox) rather than letting EZ Firewall do it, but I am pleasantly surprised
at how well the firewall itself is working out so far.

Ken
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More about experiment party firewall
  1. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.security_admin (More info?)

    "Ken Gardner" wrote:

    > As many of the regulars here know by now, I am generally a critic of third
    > party firewalls for Windows with SP2 installed (which probably puts me in a
    > distinct minority).
    >
    > Well, as an experiment, I decided to try the CA firewall (an ICSA Labs
    > certified version of the Zone Alarm firewall, I believe). I managed to
    > install it successfully on the first try by turning off the Windows SP2
    > firewall BEFORE rebooting (also, I'm using the latest version of EZ Armor,
    > which only recently became available). In the past, I have had a horrible
    > time trying to install it correctly.
    >
    > Anyway, after successfully rebooting, my first test was a speed test to see
    > if the firewall was slowing down my Internet connection. It isn't. If
    > anything, it was slightly faster with the CA firewall, although the
    > difference was so small that the difference was probably random.
    >
    > Now I am making sure that it isn't blocking any of the programs that
    > legitimately need Internet access -- a problem (or, more precisely, an
    > annoyance) that I have had in the past. So far, it isn't, at least not with
    > the default settings. It helped that upon installing the firewall, I tried
    > to access the Internet with every program that I regularly use.
    >
    > Anyway, I expect to have an occasional hiccup along the way, but if I can go
    > two weeks without any major problems, I may change my mind completely about
    > these third party firewalls, or at least this one. I still would recommend
    > to manage your privacy settings yourself through Internet Explorer (or
    > Firefox) rather than letting EZ Firewall do it, but I am pleasantly surprised
    > at how well the firewall itself is working out so far.

    For the record, I didn't have any problems until the end of the fourth day.
    My Internet connection then stopped working. I tried rebooting my cable
    modem, but that didn't work. Then I turned everything off, rebooted my cable
    modem, and turned everything back on again. I got to the login screen, typed
    in my password, then witnessed something that I have never seen from XP since
    I first got it in 2001: my machine crashed on startup. I cold rebooted
    again, and this time my machine did start up normally. I went straight to
    Event Viewer, which informed me that the culprit was the service that runs
    with the CA firewall along with "corrupted" log files that I recognized as
    part of the firewall as well.

    I immediately uninstalled the program, and I am back to using Windows
    firewall. Lesson learned.

    Ken
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