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I have always used third party firewalls (Zone Alarm) to avert attacks and to prevent installed softwares (like Adobe Updater) from connecting to internet. Unfortunately, when I migrated to Windows 7, I found that Zone Alarm doesn't work. Is there any other option/software to guard my gates to internet.

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Do you have a router or are you connecting directly to the internet? – mmyers Jul 23 '09 at 15:20
i have a router – darthvader Jul 23 '09 at 15:58

I think Windows Firewall is sufficient.

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Haven't had any problems with using just that – Ivo Flipse Jul 23 '09 at 13:53

In case Windows Firewall is properly configured than answer is no. If you don't operate some network server (for example http) you have basically two options:

1) Block all incomming connections, allow all outgoing connections. This is recommended setting for inexperienced users dont knowing all the aspects of computer security. You simply set it after installing operating system and can forget about it. Disadvantage is that you allow access to network for viruses, spam, trojans and so on running on your computer.

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2) Block all incomming connections, allow only those of outgoing connections for which there is rule created.

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This is how list of rules looks like on my private computer:

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Potential disadvantage of second solution is that it really annoys to manually create new rule for every new application in system. For this reason I switched to Eset Smart Security. This is a software from slovak company containing antivirus + firewall + anti-spam protection solutions in one package. Now I have Windows Firewall disabled and using only Eset firewall (this is ensured automatically in ESS installer but you can check this in Control Panels). There is very cool thing named interactive mode. When there is new application in system trying to connect to network, Eset displays message window. You can allow or disallow network access for this particular running instance of application. If you know that this new application you will be using very often, you have option to store new setting as rule. See screenshot were Internet Explorer application is trying to connect to internet (translations added by me are placed near original text):

enter image description here

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If you're feeling really paranoid, you can turn on outbound as well as inbound connection filtering on the built in windows firewall.

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If you don't turn on outbound connection filtering, the firewall isn't going to help you much with spyware or viruses. – Jay R. Jul 23 '09 at 15:20

Since Vista, the windows firewall has gotten much better. I just found that ZoneAlarm was much easier to set up more securely.

Symantec EndPoint Protection is actually not too bad. I used to use ZoneAlarm, but starting in Vista, it was blocking mdns packets which an application I wrote was using. There wasn't any way around that without uninstalling ZoneAlarm. Turning it off wasn't enough.

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