ZoneAlarm is an old and trusted name in the field of computer security. Its free personal firewall has been popular for years, and now, it has decided to step up its game: Its latest product takes the solid foundation of the free firewall, and adds a free antivirus on top. With this move, ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall competes directly against Microsoft Security Essentials and the built-in Windows firewall. PCWorld has not yet tested this product's effectiveness, but I sat down with the software to evaluate its features.
This isn't ZoneAlarm's first crack at creating an antivirus: PCWorld previously tested and reviewed ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2012. Although we were impressed with the malware protection features of that product, we were disappointed with its scan speeds and impact on PC performance. ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall may perform similarly, but we will know for sure only after PCWorld completes performance testing of this product.
Unfortunately, I can't say my first impression from ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall was entirely positive: I picked the detailed installer option to see what the defaults are, and was surprised to discover that ZoneAlarm wants to install a browser toolbar, replace my default homepage and search engine with ZoneAlarm-branded pages, and not provide me with an easy way to undo those changes (even though such a feature exists--the checkbox is disabled by default). These options are collected on one step of the setup process, making them easy to spot and disable. Having done so, I continued with the setup with no incident.
If you have something great to share with the world, there's no better place than the Web to do it. But you need more than a website; you need the perfect domain name and all the other things that optimize your site for search engines. These three programs and suites help you harness the power of search engine optimization to make your website a highly-ranked hit. SEO software doesn't come cheap, so research these well to see which best suits your business.
Creating a money-making online venture is not a simple challenge. Market Samurai is a comprehensive suite of tools aimed at making the process easier by helping you track down lucrative keywords, buy the right domain for the job, and more.
Over the years, Lavasoft's Ad-Aware product line has made itself a name in the highly competitive anti-malware marketplace, and today's release of version 10 introduces a new UI, new pricing ($12 per year for Personal, $36 per year for Pro), and more features--and a new name--for the popular free edition. This blog item discusses only the new design and features. PCWorld has not tested yet tested Ad-Aware 10's effectiveness in fighting malware.
The work Lavasoft put into the UI shows right from the installation phase. Ad-Aware uses its own custom installer, which downloads the most recent definitions file as part of the installation process, so you don't have to update Ad-Aware immediately after installing it. Slick as this is, the installer does still require a system restart before Ad-Aware can start working.
As part of the installation process, Ad-Aware suggests installing its browser toolbar, and switching your default homepage and search engine to Blekko. These are enabled by default, but you can opt out of them if you wish.
Many of us use our email inbox as a to-do list. Keeping that to-do list organized and easily accessible is a daunting task--especially with scores of new messages arriving daily. Each of these programs and services has its own spin on reminders.
The Followup.cc service can help you stay on top of your email tasks, by sending you handy reminders when you need them most. Followup.cc is available in four versions: Free, Personal ($5 per month), Plus ($10 per month), and Premium ($15 per month).
Out-of-date drivers can keep devices form working properly. Manually updating drivers is a dull, tedious task easily forgotten. PCWorld recently reviewed several automatic driver update utilities that pledge to make the task less onerous. Some of these programs (particularly the free and demo versions) identify driver updates for you. The full-featured, more expensive ones will update them as well. We show you which programs are worth the download, and which you should give a miss.
Like its rival Perfect Updater, ReviverSoft's Driver Reviver begins to scan your PC for out-of-date drivers as soon as you launch the app. I prefer the approach taken by another rival, DeviceDoctor.com's Device Doctor, which waits to begin scanning until you've manually started the process. But you can pause the scan, and in all other areas, both PerfectUpdater and Driver Reviver drastically outperform Device Doctor.
Ever dream of designing three-dimensional models for games and animated movies? We examine two free options and a new version of a well-known professional 3-D modeling program. Each has its own niche and can produce excellent results--but if speedy creation is your goal, you may get what you pay for.
Blender is pretty daunting to someone who's never used 3D modeling or animation software. For me, using Blender 2.60a was somewhat like having to know exactly how my car works before I can drive it: a no-brainer for some people, but it's not for everyone.
The latest five products reviewed in PCWorld Downloads are a mixed bag. Some are excellent and some show the potential for excellence. Due to a closed beta and some steep prices, some are hard to obtain. Each of them is intriguing in its own way, and worth a look.
Version 5 of Carbonite Home offers some new and possibly handy functionality in two new tiers of service. Otherwise, it remains the same affordable, easy-to-use, but sometimes restrictive online backup service we reviewed last year.