Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

New ZoneAlarm Free

You may have seen this article about a new paid-for ZoneAlarm with a virus scanner. Well, the free version of ZoneAlarm was also updated, and brings with it a couple of interesting new features:

Anti-virus support

zonealarmav-s.jpg ZoneAlarm will now monitor your anti-virus program for you, to make sure it is running and is up-to-date. Presumably it can then pop up warnings if the definitions are too out of date. I guess it’s a nice feature (which is enabled by default but can be turned off), but Windows XP SP2 includes this natively anyway through the Security Center, so it’s just a bit of unnecessary duplication. It’s also an opportunity for Zone Labs to sell you their anti-virus product if you don’t have one already, but I do, so ha.

Outbound email monitoring

This isn’t the same as outbound email protection offered by anti-virus protection. It means that if an application tries to send an email, you are asked for permission. It makes sense – if you don’t recognise what program is sending email then it may mean you have some mass mailing trojan on your machine.

Other changes

The client is slightly more XP-ish (in that dialogs use the new style controls), and the icons on the main page are different. The log viewer now uses a smaller font so it’s a bit less chunky.


When I installed ZA, it didn’t give me the option of restarting my system later – the only button I could click on was ‘Restart’. Personally, I’d prefer to restart at my convinience.

The constant reminders during install about upgrading to ZA Pro are also a bit annoying, although I suppose Zone Labs has to make its money somehow, and at least it doesn’t nag after install.

Generally, I’d say the upgrade is worthwhile. I haven’t had much chance to try the competition though.


  1. One problem that I see after I installed is that it does not see AVG Anti-Virus.
    At least not for me.

  2. Sounds like I should check it out thanks Neil!

  3. Well the outbound email protection is something which Kerio doesn’t do – but in a way it seems a bit superfluous. Kerio can detect changed exe files, it detects exes launching other exes, and if you really want to you can make every exe ask you before it launches.
    I must say I do prefer it to ZoneAlarm – even the paid for version. After finding a client having to disable zonealarm everytime he wanted to use the internet I installed Kerio straight away.

  4. I upgraded last night, before reading this review, and noticed three of the points you mentioned:
    *Compulsory reboot – yes, bad practice.
    *AV software monitoring – I received a ‘false positive’ warning, that McAfee wasn’t fully updated, when it was (I double checked, and no further updates were available)
    *Outbound email monitoring – it told me McAfee was attempting to send mail, not Thunderbird. I can see how it might be confused, but it shouldn’t, really.