Comodo Internet Security is what has grown from the humble beginnings of Comodo Firewall into a truly great, and free, security application. I can say that since I began using it, back around version 3, when the developers had gotten all the nasty bugs out of it, I have had no difficulties on my machines, whether they were using Windows XP Pro, Windows XP Home (which the laptop I am using right now has, and was just updated to CIS 5), Vista Ultimate, or Windows 7, Ultimate or Enterprise.

The firewall is clear about its settings, and make working with a firewall easy for the average (but interested) user. The average uninterested user is better off either having his machine administered by someone else, or getting a Mac (this is whether or not he is using Comodo Internet Security).

The things I like about this version of CIS are the changes to the interface and the speed, which is readily apparent on this (de)Celeron 1.5GHz in my Toshiba laptop. The startup is a bit slower than before, subjectively I’d say no more than about 25%, and you must realize that mine is a heavily configured machine, so things like this are easily spotted. But the payoff is that, after you have taken the time to help the firewall and HIPS+ layers learn your normal activities, the speed of things is improved over version 4 – at least it feels faster. I’ll get out the stopwatch when I upgrade my main machine that has a dual core Phenom II and see what it feels like there.

The sharp new mostly black with red, white and green accents to indicate what is good, bad, and largely doesn’t matter is really nice, and is a welcome relief from the red, red, and white – with a touch more red thrown in for good measure, of version 4.

Some of the changes I have not fully investigated are the ability to immediately switch to Game Mode, which I’m sure my son will appreciate, the ability to turn on and off the sandboxing from the tray with one click, and the various other small settings which have been decoupled, allowing much finer control of things, though for most people, this may be gilding the lily.

My son and I have been using the new version on this machine for about 24 hours, and between the two of us, if there were any glaring faults we’d have stumbled across them.

The build looks solid, with no difficulties in installation, though I do wish there were a way to save the HIPS+ and firewall intrusion settings, so that the learning process would not have to begin all over again. However, I have also found that firewalls (at least Comodo and Tallgrass) do not smoothly install over their earlier versions, and can cause more trouble than the re-learning process that complete removal necessitates. This is a nice way of saying that, if you don’t completely remove one before installing the other, your machine can become completely hosed.

Comodo is the only firewall to use on a Windows machine, as others are 1] not as effective, 2] not as easy to administer, 3] not as flexible, and last but not least for many 4] not free.

Thanks Comodo, for another great release. One small nit to pick – you have had, for about 3 major revisions, a place called Themes, in the setup. Though I have yet to find any – where are these themes? Do they exist? Please let us know. Thanks again.

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