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ZoneAlarm Extreme Security Review
New interface is attractive; Complete hard-drive protection
Anti-virus scan is preinstalled; Virtualization for the browser
Firewall is very powerful; Credit monitoring feature
Download manager; Parental controls
Phishing protection is accurate; Registry tune-up
Malware detection spotty
Antivirus and download manager contracts each other occasionally
The anti-virus and anti-spam do not work as well as the last version of ZoneAlarm, the ZoneAlarm Extreme Security offers excellent firewall capabilities, top-notch parental controls, encryption for the entire hard-drive and advanced browser virtualizaion.
This new release of ZoneAlarm Extreme Security will immediately let you know that it is different than its previous version. The redesigned interface for the user in the ZoneAlarm Extreme Security has three big panels the user can operate from. The data, Internet, identity and computer all have their own status indicator, which can also be used to give more detailed information when you click on them.
According to the company, in order for ZoneAlarm Extreme Security to install on Windows 10, 8, 8.1 and 7 it needs 2GB RAM, 2GHz or faster processor and at least 1.5MB of hard-disk space.
The systems we used exceeded the system requirements so we did not expect any problems with installing the ZoneAlarm Extreme. The install-time scanner on the new ZoneAlarm Extreme did fix most to the problems on half of the systems we used that were infested with malware, which made installing the software quick and easy. However, three of the identical test systems we used had malware on the systems that immediately killed the installation of the ZoneAlarm Extreme. We had to clean these systems up with another software to get the ZoneAlarm to install.
Anti-virus – [Awaiting update: May 2022].
Firewall – The firewall on the ZoneAlarm did detect and block everything we threw at it without interrupting us with query popups. The OSFirewall feature has been modified in the new ZoneAlarm so the popup showing problem behaviors provided a simpler report. All direct attacks were blocked by this firewall, with the exception of Web-based exploits. The download manager allowed six different exploiting files into the system and labeled them as safe. However, the anti-virus did catch two of the exploits and flag them. This was good, but not as good as its competitors tested.
Parental controls – ZoneAlarm did not attempt to build a parental controls system from scratch, it partnered with another software company and got them to provide a ZoneAlarm brand of the Net Nanny. The controls allows the parents to block video clips and games by their ratings, during instant messaging it will block vulgar language and social networking log-ins can be captured.
The back up files feature on the ZoneAlarm is fairly easy to use. Most of the work is done by the default settings, which creates copies of the folders and files generally backed up. It was also easy to specify which files we wanted to back up and to set the time each file needed to be backed up.
ZoneAlarm comes with a complimentary subscription to Identity Guard for one year. Identity Guard will monitor your credit and identity, as well as provide you a toll-free number to call if there are any theft problems. The program required us to provide confirmation before we transmitted specified personal data over the Internet or through email. ZoneAlarm also comes with DataLock, a product that will encrypt the whole hard drive.
ZoneAlarm Extreme's PC tune-up feature installs during first use and cleans up any useless registry files and a wizard will walk you through the steps. The system also allows you to review a report that identified the useless registry items it identified and remove them or add them back onto the system.
ZoneAlarm Extreme Security did improve over its last version and added in some special features, such as hard-drive encryption. The parental controls, phishing protection and firewall were all exceptional. However, the anti-virus and anti-spamming were disappointing. The user-friendly interface and other features made up for this disappointment.
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