Back in May when I went looking for some free firewalls for Vista, I came up pretty short.
- Microsoft's Vista firewall...adequate but anything beyond inbound blocking isn't for noobies.
- Jetico Personal Firewall v2...super-strong and anti-leaky...but no longer free.
- PC Tools Firewall Plus 2.0...nice and friendly interface with a pre-built application whitelist.
- Still waiting for Sunbelt Software's Kerio Personal firewall to be released.
- ESET does have a firewall bundled in it's Vista compatible Smart Security Suite (Beta).
And that has been pretty much it...until now.
Comodo Firewall (Alpha) for Vista
Comodo Firewall has been highly rated "leak-proof" in past testing. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a Vista version released yet. However, that looks that it may soon change.
There is now an Alpha version available for download and testing by the brave.
It may be obtained from the Comodo Firewall Forum (which requires registration to enter). It sports a toned-down interface from the current release version. No final release date set yet, but it looks good, and if you are a die-hard Comodo Firewall fan, this might be a good chance to participate. I'd just caution against relying on an Alpha version firewall for your protection. If you are sitting behind a hardware-based router/firewall however, you might be OK to play.
Ryan over at CyberNet news has some screenshots: Comodo Firewall 3 Alpha Compatible with Vista - CyberNet News
ZoneAlarm for Vista
I used and highly recommended ZoneAlarm for all my friend, neighbors, and relations for many, many years. Eventually I removed it and moved on to Sunbelt Software's Kerio (for easy of configuration and use). The bloat and performance problems I was beginning to see with ZA just didn't satisfy me with it any longer. That said, it remains a good and trusted firewall, overall.
Now comes word that ZoneAlarm has just released to the public updated versions of its products updated for compatibility with Vista; including the ZoneAlarm Free version.
The interface remains pretty much the same old ZA GUI we have come to expect and enjoy; although it has been tweaked up a bit. And this new version is backward-compatible with XP/2000 as well. Though Win 98/95/ME has been finally dropped.
There do remain additional $-only Vista firewall choices on the market as well, but I prefer to focus on the free versions for most home-users. So if you have or use a great $-only Vista firewall don't feel that this is a slight against them. Feel free to drop your recommendation in the comments.
As for now, I am still running Microsoft's firewall on my Vista system, waiting a bit longer for Comodo and Kerio to come out with their final release versions before I make a switch to one of them.
But it looks like we are seeing some growth at last in the free firewalls for Vista market.