XP SP2 Firewall vs Zone Alarm
This tech-recipe explains the major difference between Zone Alarm and the firewall that ships with XP Service Pack 2.
With SP2, XP finally has a built-in firewall. This is great for the internet as a whole, but bad for the companies that produce other software firewalls.
Now that XP comes with a firewall, the question remains, “should the average user uninstall and forget about their favorite software firewall?”
The answer is “No!” Software firewalls do something that SP2’s firewall does not do. They block and filter outbound connections as well. The following quote from Microsoft explains this: “Windows Firewall will automatically allow all outbound connections, regardless of the program and the user context.”
Why block outbound connections? Software packages send information back to “home-base” all the time. Spyware can collect information and send it back to the author. These are invasions of your privacy that Zone Alarm and most other software firewalls stop.
SP2’s firewall will be good because it will decrease the number of targets for hackers and authors of spyware. Users who are not experienced enough to install a software firewall will have an easy option available to them and turned on by default. SP2’s firewall be also be very unlikely to have a lot of conflicts on the long run.
Should you run both? I do not think anybody is going to recommend that. You are just asking for troubles and conflicts.
Most experienced users will and should prefer a software firewall over the one included in SP2.
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