At this point, I would do two things, just to make sure the machine is free from the virus.. First, I would run a full system scan with your Avast program. Next, to get a second or third opinion, I would run one of the online scans from the links below:
Housecall Online Scanner
Panda Online Scanner
If everything comes up clean, then we'll move on to the firewall question..First, you need to understand the problem you just had has nothing to do with your firewall. Since you opened the mail, then it's YOU that allowed the "possible" virus to have enabled itself. Since you allowed Outlook Express to have access to the internet to download you mail, no firewall would have prevented the issue from occuring.. A good virus scanner or other e-mail scanner plus caution when dealing with e-mail messages are the best preventative measures when dealing with such issues.
That said, even the Windows XP firewall can be configured to prevent outgoing attempts.. (It's not as easy to do so as with other firewalls such as ZA, etc. but it can be done.) Whichever firewall you use, it WILL conflict with the Windows XP firewall UNLESS you disable the XP firewall. It's not hard to do but it is important to verify that only one is operational.
My preference it ZoneAlarm as I've had very few problems with it, but some prefer others such as the one below:
Hope this helps.
My o/s is as follows: -
OS Name Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Version 5.1.2600 Service Pack 2 Build 2600
OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
System Name SMARTY
System Manufacturer ECS
System Model M825VXX
System Type X86-based PC
Processor x86 Family 6 Model 8 Stepping 1 AuthenticAMD ~1200 Mhz
BIOS Version/Date American Megatrends Inc. 07.00T, 4/2/2001
SMBIOS Version 2.3
Windows Directory C:\WINDOWS
System Directory C:\WINDOWS\system32
Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume1
Locale United States
Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "5.1.2600.2180 (xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158)"
User Name SMARTY\Administrator
Time Zone SA Western Standard Time
Total Physical Memory 384.00 MB
Available Physical Memory 140.73 MB
Total Virtual Memory 2.00 GB
Available Virtual Memory 1.96 GB
Page File Space 470.64 MB
Page File C:\pagefile.sys
I opened Outlook Express and saw e-Mail an acdsee newletter of which I am a subscriber. I attempted to open the same when I got Windows Security warning, "your System may be at risk. No firewall is enabled" I immediately got a warning from Avast, "Caution a virus has been detected". This occurred many times before I was able to shut down.
After restart the firewall kept on cutting off and when I tried to view the settings I got message "We are sorry due to some unidentifies problem Windows cannot open firewall settings".
I resorted to System Restore and that seems to have rectified the problem. I however do not trust it. I have been considering for some time to use a standalone firewall. I have heard of Zone Alarm. I however do not understand firewalls except that Windown Firewall only blocks what comes in but not what goes out.
Can you advise me as to the best personal firewall to use that will not conflict with Windows Firewall?
I would like to read Grif's thoughts on this subject.
Thanking you in advance.