I wrote this post just over a month ago, noting that I was finally giving up on Norton Antivirus and Norton Personal Firewall–mostly because Norton was adding a minute or more to startup time, and five or ten seconds each time I opened a Word or Excel file.
I chose ZoneAlarm Pro as a replacement security suite, based on ratings, even though at tax time it’s just about the most expensive alternative. (That is, Office Depot will either give me or heavily discount Norton, McAfee, or several of the other software security options when I buy TurboTax and send in lots of rebate slips–but ZoneAlarm Pro isn’t on that list.)
I noted the tricky startup, with a couple of seemingly-stalled situations, but that things had smoothed out. I also promised an update post in a month or so to say how things were going.
This is that update post. And the short answer is, I’m keeping ZoneAlarm Pro and I wish I’d made the change earlier. This isn’t a sales pitch, but it’s a good change for my system.
To wit, there’s no real scan delay on Word or Excel file opens–maybe a second or so, maybe not. Maybe it’s not scanning every file, and since there’s an automatic weekly full-system scan (which I’m leaving on, since I can pause it as needed) and all downloads are also scanned, such scans appear redundant. Also, the startup delay is less, although not zero. Generally, the system’s more responsive and I believe I’m at least as well protected.
I did make one configuration change. Originally, I was going to leave SpySweeper’s real-time protection active and deactivate ZoneAlarm’s real-time spyware protection (you don’t want to have two different real-time spyware protections running). That proved to be clunky. I’ve removed SpySweeper from startup, reactivated full ZoneAlarm protection, and run SpySweeper scans every few weeks.
There’s the update. So far, so good.
One downside: ZoneAlarm Pro is not yet compatible with Windows Vista. That’s true of a number of security suites. They’re working on it, and I suspect a compatible version will be out well before I’m ready to move to Vista.