Discuss – Top Free Firewalls For Windows 10

45 Comments

  1. I used to like ZoneAlarm and believe it’s a good Firewall, however the last time I installed it on a computer it loaded the dreaded “Conduit” search bar even though I carefully installed ZA, and unchecked the install of the “Conduit” search engine and Toolbar.

    It takes a lot of effort to get rid of “Conduit” and it will redirect your searches and make changes to your browser without asking.

    Firefox was infested with entries even though I had removed it’s add-ons, and changed the start page, and had to go into “about:config” to manually remove entries, and also had to manually remove entries in the Registry, and cleaned it out too.

    Do a Google search on “zonealarm conduit toolbar 2013”, without the quotes.

    Regards,

    Tom

    http://www.remotepcfixers.com/

  2. What do you think of the native windows firewall? That’s all I use and no problems thus far. I tried a free application that complements the native firewall but it had a tendency to malfunction too often.

  3. Wow! I’m impressed. I saw the headline, and fully expected to post, here, as if I were the smart one, what it turns out are already here as items 1 and 2 of this article. Truer words rarely written.

    Nothing — and I mean nothing — can substitute for a hardware firewall… preferably a dedicated-to-that-purpose device (though they’re terribly expensive), or, at the very least, the either true or even only pseudo firewall capabilities built-in to most common (and considerably less expensive) Internet routers (or routers with switches in them). There are several different approaches to either actual or pseudo firewall capability in common Internet routers, so do your homework and make sure that all it’s doing isn’t merely hoping NAT will sufficiently confuse attackers that that’ll be good enough.

    Beyond that, software firewalls are good, but unless they know how to insert their start-up very, very early in the Windows machine’s start-up process, then that, right there, is a huge security hole. Even once they’re running, though, they need to be pretty special in order to actually be effective. I’m a little surprised that ZoneAlarm is listed here (though I’m not surprised that it’s last) because even though it was quite the firewall once, it is no longer. Among the free ones, Comodo’s firewall is probably best, and so is properly the first among the software ones in this article. The rest of the Comodo Internet Security (CIS) suite of which it’s a part may or may not be good (I think it is, but I concede that some of it could be better), but the firewall part of CIS has been ranked, in independent testing, right-up there with the commercial Kaspersky firewall, which is arguably either best-of-breed, or right up there among ’em.

    Even people who cite better (than Comodo) anti-virus, and so would rather use that, should still use the firewall part of Comodo, with all other parts of CIS turned off; and then use the anti-virus part of whatever they prefer, with its firewall turned-off. Of course, there are still sometimes clashes with doing that, so I don’t recommend it. The anti-virus part of CIS, while still not “world class,” as they say, has so improved in recent years that it’s a worthy competitor in any contest. Couple that with Comodo’s possibly best-of-breed Hosts Intrusion Protection System (HIPS) (which it calls “Defense+”), and CIS is good enough to be one’s sole anti-malware-with-firewall suite… especially cool because it’s free. Sadly, it needs a little training, at first, in order to make its little warnings stop popping-up so much; and if one doesn’t know how to navigate how cryptic some of them are, then one can answer the wrong thing and inadvertently poke a big hole in his/her protection. And, sadly, that’s always been CIS’s Achilles Heel. But if it’s properly trained, seriously, CIS has no rival… at least among freeware tools; and, truth be known, even compared with a great many commercial ones.

    So, anyway… excellent! Keep-up the good work.

    ___________________________
    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  4. @RemotePCFixers, if by “good, delete of the truth” you’re referring to that maybe an earlier post disappeared, it might be because it had a link in it or something, and so needed to be moderated first. All I know is that at THIS writing (about 2 hours after your post to which I’m now replying), I see two posts from you: First th one telling us about ZoneAlarm (which has a link in it, so if that’s the one that disappeared, you should know that it’s appearing now, after likely moderation), and the other being the one to which I’m now responding/replying.

    Was there another? If so, they’re very fair-minded around here, and so I’m sure they’ll allow it to appear after someone has taken a look at it… er… you know… assuming there’s nothing awful in it.

    Just tryin’ to help.

    ___________________________
    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  5. Not terrific. Never has been. Comodo is head-and-shoulders better. Heck, even ZoneAlarm might be better.

    Microsoft’s anti-virus, though — in the form of its “Security Essentials” — actually ain’t half bad. I still prefer Comodo, but once Microsoft polished-out all the rough spots in Security Essentials, I’ll be darned if it didn’t start doing pretty darned well in independent testing. I can definitely recommend it…

    …but not Microsoft’s built-in firewall. Ick! [grin]

    ___________________________
    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  6. Sometimes, comments get stuck in the moderation queue, especially if they include a link AND Disqus feels it needs to be moderated. Such comments may take a while to appear.

  7. Gregg,

    Yes the post was there, and later went back and it was deleted, so I assumed it was censored.

    I just wanted to warn people of the pain I went thru of removing the dreaded “Conduit” search engine nonsense that wraps around your browsers and into your system.

    It took me hours to get rid of it and I’m disappointed in ZA.

    Agreed Comodo is the best Firewall.

    Regards,

    Tom

  8. Comodo get my vote as well. The one complaint [if that is the correct word to use] is the “Auto Sandbox” can be a wee bit intrusive and quick to react at times. I know this can be turned off but it is worth the hassle for added safety and I have to find something to complain about occasionally :-).

    Someone, who is not computer literate in any way other than to check emails and that [shudder and cringe] facebook, asked me to install Zone-Alarm and it also changed the home page on their browser along with installing the tool bar. My advice to them was to remove it but they said that some-one on [shudder] facebook had said it was the best firewall so they wanted it left on.

    As for suites I do not like them. If one thing goes wrong then you have the possibility of all your security being disabledbroken. Where as separate programs [for me Comodo – Avast – Malwarebytes (pro version) and Spywareblaster] if one this goes t*ts-up you still have a working security.

  9. Of course your ports should be “stealth”, otherwise your computer can be attacked.

    “There are plenty of good reviews of Comodo free firewall comparing it to Zonealarm free firewall…..
    ….The same is reflected by Matousec – a website that offers comparison
    among different security suites.
    Matousec places Comodo firewall at the first place among software firewalls.
    My own tests showed all ports in stealth mode.”

    You do not understand what Matousec is testing.

    You talk about stealth vs. closed ports, but Matousec´s tests has nothing to do with stealth ports.
    Matousec tests outgoing connections, not incoming.

    Most firewalls keep all ports stealth.
    Private firewall does not, it fails both Gibson´s “Shields Up Test” and PC Flank.
    I know because i have tested it, i posted the following on the forum in march 2013: “And the latest version of Private Firewall, doesn´t pass Gibsons or PcFlanks “Stealth test” !?
    That is not the version tested on 3rd place below, as that test was made long before the latest version was released.”
    http://forum.thewindowsclub.com/windows-security/35137-firewall-security-test-results-matousec-march-2013-a.html#post168252

    Private firewall does not even pass Comodos Lek Test (CLT)
    which is much simpler then Matousec´s test, it only got 270 / 330 when i tested it.
    This is one very good reason why you should not use it.

    And most firewall are useless for blocking outgoing connections, as you can see on Matousec´s webbsite.

    Outpost Security Suite: ” I would have preferred if it offered firewall separately instead of
    offering entire bundle. That way you could have used a separate antivirus with the benefit of Outpost firewall.”

    There is no problem with using another “antivirusprogram” together with Outposts firewall, just don´t install Outposts own antivirusprogram.
    I know because i have tested Outposts firewall together with Emsisoft Anti Malware & MalwareBytesAntiMalware.

  10. Thank you for sharing the information. Probably, I had the router firewall on while testing Private firewall that showed all ports in stealth. I will run some more tests on it and post it if the results differ from what you say.
    I did not emphasize much on outgoing connections. That is a weak point of this post. Did not occur to me. But thanks again for sharing your experience and knowledge.

  11. You must have installed an earlier version of their Firewall as i’ve installed their firewall on many PCs recently and not experienced this problem at all.

  12. Why not include ZoneAlarms free Antivirus + Firewall? It’s 10x better than just the firewall by itself.

  13. Stealth means nothing. If there was no computer at the address, you’d get a destination unreachable from the upstream router. As long as sensitive ports are protected from unsolicited internet traffic, the firewall is doing its job.

  14. If you don’t care about outgoing traffic, windows firewall is all you need, at least for the firewall component.

  15. Arun,

    Did you try Online Armor Firewall?

    If so, can you indicate pro and cons of it?

    The reason I ask is that I found Online Armor easier to use than Private Firewall.

    Cheers

  16. I have to agree with you about COMMODO. My I7 is OCed to 4.5ghz, but generally sits at 1.6ghz when using desktop. It is only supposed to “kick in” when running the more intensive apps (games etc) but I have recently noticed COMMODO randomly fluctuating CPU usage up to around 20%, even if my browser is closed. This results in a CPU spending much of its time at OC speeds, which of course raises the temperature.

    I have used “Private Firewall” before and I did like its simple interface and program control, but I wasn’t sure how trustworthy it was, so went to COMMODO.

    I think I may return to it because COMMODO is obviously doing too much work, which is annoying considering I spend much of my time in an IDE programming.

  17. He’s correct. I’ve installed the latest version from their site in the past month and not only does the Zonealarm software include the Conduit adware/spyware/toolbar but also tricks you into installing it.

    Used to love ZA a few years ago but now they’re forcefully installing adware. Do not install.

  18. And the 2014 version has done away with all trickery. If you don’t accept the search engine and start page alterations you can’t install it (period). 131_211, 132_015.

  19. Online Armor and Comodo Firewall are kinda tied in my opinion, I will recommend both equally, what a pity you failed to include Online Armor in this article.

    But for me, after trying many security softwares, I ended up using Windows Firewall. It does what a firewall should do and is one of the best. Most of the third party firewalls focus so much on all those fancy features and forgot the basics, it’s a sad fact.

  20. for me and after several tests concerning firewall and only firewall,no suite,the best is Outpost firewall pro

  21. Had to stop using zonealarm free because it was slowing down all my computers.
    Switched to Comodo which was fatter and looked ok until now.
    Comodo is now crashing my computer with a bluescreen from inspect.sys.

    We need a new firewall thats small and works.

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