Firstly - Hi. This is my first post here, so treat me nicely please . I have a background in IT, I worked for a short period at a company who repaired insurance claim computers, and I have City & Guilds III Microcomputer Systems Installation & Maintenance. Since then I have worked for Maplin's (The electronics store much like Tandy, NOT the Holiday camp made famous by Hi-de-hi (80's british TV sit-com to those outside the UK). Now I just try and keep myself up to date, and am begining to dabble in the black magic that is xHTML & CSS. Anyways, enough about me, and onto the post. I have used ZA for many years, and am actually still quite happy with it. But I am befining to wonder if it is time I woke up and smelled the coffee, that is if there is coffee to be smelling. Through the years I have gone from No AV, to CA/eTrust AV to AVG and to ZA Security Suite (which incorporates CA AV). I always recommend AVG to anyone who is looking for AV software, and am begining to recomend NOD for those willing to part with any money. (If I should be recomending anything else, just say). Having recently discovered NOD, I am wondering if I have been blinded to the world of firewalls as well as AV. As mentioned I am a long time fan of ZA. But it is getting a little bloated now (long way to go before it catches McAfee and Nortons tho). Now, I am currently trialing Outpost on my laptop, alongside NOD. With ZA SS on my main PC, just replaced the AV part with NOD. The question remains, is there any better firewall out there. I know this question is very subjective. And while there are a few reviews of such software, there is great inconsistency between them. Certain reviewers state that Norton and McAfee are the best. From personal XP I totally disagree with this, and the cynical side of me asks how much did that statement earn them? One thing I have noticed in Outpost that I can't seem to see in ZA is applications currently accessing the network. And also, protection before windows starts. I KNOW Outpost has this as it was asking me questions before the login screen appeared. ZA may also offerthis, I just have never had the chance to find out. To me, the most important aspects of a FW are its security, followed by impact on the system, followed lastly by ease of use. On the security side of things I am looking for an application that protects before windows has loaded. I am looking for password protection and self preservation (resists unauthorised shut-down attempts etc...). It wants to prevent process injection and suspicious behaviour between programs. And obviously it has to be leak proof. The IM security does not have to be FW controlled, and I believe NOD handles this. I am not worried about adblocking, personal details control (passwords, card numbers), or anti-malware. So what do you suggest? I have heard good reports about Tiny, Kaspersky, Comodo, Outpost, ZoneAlarm, Look-n-Stop and Jetico, and KNOW that there arre many more out there.