Sorry if the following is a bit hard to read. I'm a wee bit tired at the moment.Well I guess this makes it a good point to ask a question I've intended to ask eventually anyway... Is ZoneAlarm the best free firewall to be using anymore?I've been using ZoneAlarm since way back in ye olden times when Leo Laporte recommended it on Call for Help. I've been pretty satisfied with it and like how it's easy to use for even those who aren't as knowledgeable with computers. (in particular the way it asks for permissions and gives warnings).So what is the best free firewall out there nowadays? Or at least what is the best alternative to ZoneAlarm?Back to the issue of my connection woes, my memory may be a little fuzzy on this detail, but I *think* the problem may have shown itself before I installed ZoneAlarm on one of the times I was reformatting. If I recall correctly, it was when I only had Windows XP installed and had just downloaded Firefox and began using that to download the initial security software to put on the system. Like I said I can't remember the exact sequence of events but that I do believe is one of the things that has made this all the more confusing.Now my XP installation disc is a SP1 disc. I have however made a slipstream SP2 disc from it. There are still some problems that seem to have arisen from that. Namely being the hassle of upgrading to the latest IE and having some references to the old version remain, and the same goes for the newest version of Windows Media Player. It's particularly a hassle when doing a repair installation but that's neither here nor there. One thing that has been bugging me greatly is that I can't seem to actually remove Outlook Express from my machine. I've tried unhiding it in the registry to make it appear on the uninstall list but that didn't work and manually deleting the files just results in them being immediately replaced. I'm kinda veering off topic... but perhaps somehow my installation may be relevant.On the subject of my lines... well we've had some problems that SBC/ATT have been unable to help with. Periodic disconnects from the line level happen now and again but sometimes it's because they are running tests on the lines and don't bother to keep their customer support informed of it. (so they have no clue when I call to ask what the deal is) This hasn't happened for a while though. They have also sent out some people to check the lines on more than one occasion and have kept a monitor on the connection for a couple days on more than one occasion as well, all to no positive effect. The way the router is it has three lights. One light is for power, another is for the "Local Network" (PC connection) and the last is for the "Broadband Link" (phoneline connection). Generally speaking it's easy to tell if there's a problem with the connection outside the PC because the Broadband Link light will flicker, turn orange, or turn red if it completely cuts off. When this happens for too long without a reconnect that's when I know to call customer support. The disconnects that I have been experiencing for so long and the ones that this thread is about, seem to be starting at the PC level, as I never see any signs on the router of a connection problem. Now once again on this particular fact my memory may be a little fuzzy but I think that I can't establish a connection with my router (to configure it or restart it) when my connection goes out. But I'll have to try and confirm that the next time it happens to be sure.So I'm left in the end almost positive that it has to either be some remarkably subtle quirk with the lines however unlikely, or it's some software issue which seems more likely. So finding the commonality from setup to setup should reveal the root of this particular evil. I've already listed a few bits of software that I've used and I think could cause some problems. One thing that I've also suspected is Windows itself. That perhaps there is some configuration, some setting that I've just plain gotten wrong all these years. If that's the case I have no clue what it could be or where to start, but I suppose it could be a possibility.
Edited by toyotomi, 16 December 2007 - 05:45 AM.