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Desktop Firewall Software Review

Best firewall software solutions for non-technical desktop users

It's not easy to provide a single recommendation because firewalls can be very complicated to master.

To make things worse, a desktop software firewall requires quite a bit of interaction with a user that is typically scared of any "puzzling" question popping up in those baffling windows in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

There is no doubt that for those users "more is less". When it is not feasible or practical to go through the hassle of managing a separate desktop firewall software, the solution is to buy an integrated Internet Security Suite providing antivirus, firewall and antispam protection. In that case, our recommendation is Kaspersky Internet Security.

Together with the outstanding protection against viruses, Trojans and worms offered by the antivirus software, Kaspersky Internet Security includes a much improved and powerful firewall.

The built-in personal firewall provides new generation protection from intrusions and data leaks. The default settings for popular applications control network and Internet activity using IDS/IPS to prevent hackers from taking over your computer or stealing your data. The stealth mode allows you to surf safely and invisibly, protecting you from becoming a target for hacker attacks.

One of the best features of Kaspersky's desktop firewall software is how little it interferes with your activity, refraining from asking too many questions while you work on your computer.

You can get Kaspersky Internet Security by clicking here.

Important!

Always remove any existing antivirus from your system, before installing a new one!

Two desktop software firewalls running at the same time are not a good idea. While not remotely as bad as two antivirus fighting each other and grinding your computer to a halt, two firewalls make it very difficult, if not impossible, to manage inbound and outbound connections.

Not a big issue when things work, but should a problem arise, you would find yourself in a labyrinth.

Don't forget that the purpose of a firewall software is to block unauthorized attacks from the Internet and unauthorized access to the Internet from programs running on your computer. A firewall does not prevent a virus from contaminating your computer.

If you don't want to spend any money make sure that the integrated Windows Firewall is enabled, if you have Windows XP SP2.

The old saying "you get what you pay for" inevitably applies to this solution too. Windows XP firewall isn’t a full featured firewall. It doesn't allow you to specifically control each TCP and UDP port and makes no attempts to filter outbound traffic, which means that if a threat has already landed on your computer, e.g. a trojan, Windows Firewall won't do anything to inform you, let alone prevent it to communicate with any computer on the Internet.

If you feel up to the challenge of using a separate, fully featured desktop firewall software, we recommend that you try ZoneAlarm Pro.

ZoneAlarm Pro provides several vital layers of protection, and does so with a very intuitive user interface. Usability is a key issue with firewalls, as they inevitably require much more user interaction than any other security module. Actually, having too many annoying pop-up windows, which end up being ignored, is the same as not having any protection whatsoever.

ZoneAlarm Pro desktop firewall software strikes the right balance while offering key features like:

  • Network and Program Firewall: Delivers proactive firewall protection with multiple layers of security that stop inbound, outbound, and program attacks while remaining completely invisible to hackers;
  • Operating System Firewall (OSFirewall™): Protects your Windows operating system from attacks all the way down to its core;
  • Automatic Wireless Security: Automatically detects wireless networks and secures your PC from hackers and other Internet threats;

plus

  • Anti-Spyware
  • SmartDefense™ Service
  • Identity Theft Protection
  • Email Security

You can download the trial version of ZoneAlarm Pro desktop firewall software from here.