I have a handful of computers that I'm more or less responsible for the 'tech' end of - desktop PC running Vista, another older one running XP, and two laptops running Vista. I've pretty much gutted Norton 360 and purged it from each machine, now I'm looking for options for firewall software. For the desktop PCs I've just gone back to running the default Windows firewall, and everything seems to be fine - thus far. The laptops belong to my daughter and her cousin, heading back to campus - somewhat more of a 'high threat environment' in my opinion and I am not 100% confident that it will be enough.
In the past (year or two back) I've used Zone Alarm (free version), but honestly I got annoyed with it just pestering the ever-living snot out of me with questions and pop-ups all the dang time asking the same questions despite being 'told' to let things ride. Maybe I didn't set it up correctly, but it was annoying to me, and I don't see two very novice users being able to cope with it successfully.
Any other suggestions or recommendations? I've loaded other software for anti-virus, malware, etc. on the computers to run as needed (most of them on a schedule so the girls don't have to worry about it), but I'm still kind of shopping around for a better firewall - if its even needed.
Windows Firewall has never had a known vulnerability (unlike ZoneAlarm). I would stick with the built in firewall and not worry about it. The version in Vista is even more beefed up than the XP version and is simply the *best* solution available.
I would just stick with the built-in Firewall that is included with Windows Vista. If you want to fully lock it down, just head into Administrative Tools and use Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.
Logic without the fatal effects.
All code snippets are licensed under WTFPL.