MSE & ZA
ZoneAlarm was one of the first programs I installed on my brand new Windows 7 installation, a firewall I've been using earlier and always liked. I then installed AVG Free, an Anti-Virus I've used earlier and always liked. Both of these are free and work together nicely, one keeps track of Internet activity and both incoming and outbound connections. The other takes care of viruses and malicious code. I noticed to my dismay today that I couldn't shut down AVG when I wanted to (I wanted to do so when installing a pretty heavy set of programs to have as much system capacity available as purely possible) so I searched the net for a new Anti-Virus program and pretty quickly found Microsoft Security Essentials. I've never been a big fan of Microsoft, but all the reviews I read about this program were good and it seemed pretty light too, so I installed it and at first it worked great. Then my computer started freezing, over, and over, and over again. It froze when I tried to update the MSE virus definitions, when I tried to open up FireFox & when I tried shutting down uTorrent. I tried using Opera and IE to search for information on why this was happening, and yet again it froze. A few reboots later I decided to login as guest and try again with only standard programs, and it worked fine. ZoneAlarm was disabled in Guest mode, so I searched for compatibility issues between Zone Alarm and MSE... the last program I had installed... and found a lot of them.
So I decided to uninstall ZoneAlarm and use Windows built-in firewall, and now everything is peachy again. I have no spent a few hours rebooting the computer and gaining wisdom, so learn from my adventure and don't install MSE & ZA at the same time. A more detailed report on how MSE works will be available when I've used it for a while. In difference from Zone Alarm it doesn't block any outgoing connections, which is fine when it comes to Voddler (which the next blog post will be about), but otherwise not so great if any malicious key-loggers find their way onto my PC and start sending out information. According to Microsoft they don't need to block outgoing connections since they already monitor anything incoming and downloading, and it definitely saves CPU usage, but I'd still like the option to be available just in case. MSE is otherwise a very fast and simple program, easy to use and easy to shut down if you don't want it running anymore ... unlike AVG. It's also completely free, with no extrabuff version you can buy to gain additional features, the only catch is that you need a Genuine version of Windows, but I have that ... now, so everything is OK.