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Author Topic: Quick review: Windows 7 Firewall Control (free version)  (Read 7817 times)

IainB

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Quick review: Windows 7 Firewall Control (free version)
« on: November 10, 2011, 07:04:49 AM »
After reading about it in a tip here: 3 Things You Should Know About Your Windows 7 Firewall, I have been trialling the free version of W7FC - Windows 7 Firewall Control - and since I could find no reference to it in a search of DC Forum, I thought it could be useful to forum members if I posted my observations about this proggy.

So here goes:
First off, I will say that I have been using the built-in WF - Windows Firewall in Win7-64, and found it very good, but setting up specific rules for applications is not as simple as I would like (I have to think carefully about it). For example, years ago I used a paid-for version of Black Ice Defender and found it to be a brilliant Firewall, and very simple and straightforward to use. I suppose that experience rather set the standard for my expectations.

W7FC is a sort of bolt-on GUI or "front-end" to WF - i.e., all it does is it augments WF - and it goes some way to being as easy to use as Black Ice Defender was for a typical PC user (though Black Ice could also be hairy to use if you wanted to climb into the guts of the Firewall). The built-in WF in Win7-64 is perfectly capable IMHO.

This free version of W7FC seems to be sufficient for my purposes - all I want is to have an easy-to-use dashboard to enable me to keep track of - and control - at a glance what is and is not allowed to communicate on the network. When you install W7FC, it defaults to NOTHING being allowed to communicate in or out except for system functions. Thus, every time a programme tries to communicate in or out, then you have to set that to Enable/Disable to some extent (i.e., fully or partly), or permanently or temporarily. So, after a few days of use of W7FC, you will probably have assigned general access rules for most of your proggies. It need only be done once per proggy. You may even be surprised to discover some proggies that are communicating when you might have expected them not to need to be communicating in/out at all.

I already use a paid-for version of Malwarebytes, which is excellent for detecting malware and intercepting in/out traffic to/from malware or malware sites. W7FC will tell you which proggy/malware on your PC is trying to communicate, and you can then control it. Thus, if you pay attention to what you enable/disable in the W7FC Dashboard, then it can give you warning that something strange is going on. That gives you a  chance to clean it up before you (say) join the ranks of the botnets out there without your being aware of it.

I'd rate W7FC as definitely worth trying out - "suck it and see".     :Thmbsup:

I'm going to keep on using it on my laptop now, anyway.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2011, 07:16:12 AM by IainB »

cranioscopical

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Re: Quick review: Windows 7 Firewall Control (free version)
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2011, 07:19:18 AM »
Thanks for the tip!

4wd

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Re: Quick review: Windows 7 Firewall Control (free version)
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2011, 05:31:47 PM »
A couple more things:

W7FC has a portable version which allows you to carry it around on a flash drive and it will store configs for each machine it's plugged into, which I currently use.

The free version allows limited control over programs, eg. it's either blocked or it isn't, (for either Incoming, Outgoing or both), whereas using the Windows Firewall Control Panel will allow you to restrict programs to a network.  The paid version will also allow finer network control.

Also, IIRC, W7FC is more of a filter, it inserts itself between the program wanting communication and the Windows Firewall.  As a result any settings it makes are no longer valid if it's not running, ie. if you block a program with W7FC it won't be blocked if W7FC is not running.

This implies it isn't a GUI/frontend for the built-in firewall but a completely separate entity otherwise any rules in created would be seen within Windows Firewall Control Panel.

BTW, if you're interested in the paid version and you don't live in the USA you might find it's cheaper to buy it in US$ anyway because the share*it! exchange rates are skewed that way - at least they are for AU$.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2011, 06:16:06 PM by 4wd »

IainB

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Re: Quick review: Windows 7 Firewall Control (free version)
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2011, 02:39:17 AM »
This implies it isn't a GUI/frontend for the built-in firewall but a completely separate entity otherwise any rules in created would be seen within Windows Firewall Control Panel.
Ahh! Thankyou @4wd. I had wondered about that.

majoMO

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Re: Quick review: Windows 7 Firewall Control (free version)
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2011, 08:18:40 AM »
Two tiny app. that work well with Windows Firewall Control Panel (Win 7), are Windows Firewall Control (Free and Paid) and Windows Firewall Notifier (Free). They deserve a try...

Unlike Windows 7 Firewall Control these app. are "GUI/frontend for the built-in firewall" in fact.

4wd

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Re: Quick review: Windows 7 Firewall Control (free version)
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2011, 08:05:16 PM »
Windows Firewall Control (Free and Paid)

Excellent!  This is the one I remember reading about months ago but could only ever find W7FC when searching.

Downloaded, tried and about to donate for the paid version.

The next version, due any day now, promises to be even better.

Thank you MajoMO!

IainB

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Re: Quick review: Windows 7 Firewall Control (free version)
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2011, 11:52:52 PM »
@majoMO and $4wd: Re Windows Firewall Control (Free and Paid) and Windows Firewall Notifier (Free).

Could you please post up on the forum (either here in this thread or a separate one) how you have got on with either of these?
I have only just really started with W7FC, so shall continue until I have learned about it, but I would like to vicariously learn about those other tools via your experiences, if possible.
I shall post about my W7FC experiences here anyway.