Privatefirewall 7.0.29.1 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Privatefirewall

CNET Editors' review

Windows ships with an effective suite of security tools, including a firewall, but third-party firewalls are popular with many users. Many are free, and the most popular ones do a good job keeping millions of users safe from cyber attacks, hackers, and other intrusive threats. Privacyware's Privatefirewall has all the features and most of the extras that most personal firewall and host intrusion prevention freeware (HIPS) offer, like its Process Monitor and Port Tracking tools. Its chief advantages are its intelligent tracking feature and its extensive explanations. Privatefirewall monitors your online activity privately to learn your usage patterns. It detects and blocks anomalous usage patterns that could signal an intrusive attack on your system. As with other firewalls, you can easily allow any activity. But Privatefirewall's system is designed to make allowing regular programs less frequent (and annoying) while still protecting you from threats.

Privatefirewall's user interface is easy to understand, and so are its various features and settings, thanks to a right-hand panel that displayed a detailed explanation of everything we selected. The Main Menu opens with two main functions, Internet Security and Network Security. Sliders let us choose High, Low, or Custom security levels much like in Windows. We could add trusted and blocked sites, too. Privatefirewall enables separate Profiles for Home, Office, and Remote connections, a handy option for laptops. We could import and export the program's settings, including Process, Email, and System Anomaly Detection settings. This interesting tool displays Training Statistics that show which programs it analyzed and when; we could set its Sensitivity level and also limit the training period. The program's Help file offers more detail than the user interface in explaining the anomaly detection feature as well as the Port Tracking tool and other features.

The true test of a firewall is in how well it protects your system. We tried a variety of probes and simulated attacks, and Privatefirewall kept them at bay. Since the firewall that fails exits the marketplace quickly, we expected nothing less from Privatefirewall. Its intelligent monitoring and its detailed documentation set it apart from the other free firewalls, though.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    4.0 stars

    out of 129 votes

    • 5 star: 78
    • 4 star: 17
    • 3 star: 6
    • 2 star: 8
    • 1 star: 20
  • Current version:

    4.2 stars

    out of 29 votes

    • 5 star: 21
    • 4 star: 2
    • 3 star: 2
    • 2 star: 0
    • 1 star: 4
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 29

  • 3.0 stars

    "Did not launch automatically after reboot."

    November 7, 2013  |   By multi-timm

    Version: Privatefirewall 7.0.29.1

    Pros

    It seems like a very nice firewall.
    I looked into it, because zonealarm free does not allow you to modify the scheduling of automatic scanning of your system, which can be disruptive at a critical moment, as it really taxes system resources.
    Like some other firewalls, you can put it into auto-learning mode, or standard mode. Controls are simple, plentiful but you decide how much you want to dive into detail, and easy to understand (although for some reviewers here it seems daunting - but I don't see what wouldn't be for them - at least they knew to get a firewall).
    Not the flashiest interface I've seen (in fact, rather ugly), but it is a small file, with a small memory footprint, and that is what a firewall should be - something you install, can forget, and it not slowing down your computer.

    Cons

    I installed it onto a system where the operating system was just restored to factory settings - ie: fresh install. I disabled wifi and closed the privatefirewall to install some portable-apps (I thought it was interfering, but it wasn't - it was just the location of the folder that the system didn't like). When I turned everything back on, it offered to update. I accepted. Rebooted. From that moment on, it would no longer automatically load when I restarted windows. There is no place, in the menus, where you can tell it to run automatically (that would be a registry entry that it cannot do if not done properly after an install or update - and install wouldn't re-install).

    So let's give tech support a chance! I emailed tech support, and got a reply back within about an hour from Greg. He said there is nothing you can do via pf to make it start automatically, that it was in the OS. Not good. If you launch it manually it will launch after your internet connection is already live.

    Summary

    It seems like a very good firewall.
    Unfortunately updates lack testing before being distributed.
    It seems like the free users are a testing ground for program stability.
    If you are going to use this firewall, make sure that it launches automatically after a reboot, and re-test that after each update.
    If it doesn't, look elsewhere - a firewall is too risky to not have running - and we can forget.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "KISS Principle in action"

    November 2, 2013  |   By Fastmover

    Version: Privatefirewall 7.0.29.1

    Pros

    Once it's installed and updated, it's a nice, neat, quiet little program that just works. No bells and whistles, plays very nicely with antivirus and spyware scrunchers, no (or at least very few) warnings about shady doin's and those are so VERY clearly described and nicely labeled that you would have to be half asleep to screw up anything.
    The KISS Principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) seems to apply, at least, to the way it works.

    Cons

    However....the first thing, you've got to install it. Just grit your teeth, remember to delete your old firewall before you start to install this guy (extra patience may be needed if you've got Windows 7, 'cause that Security Center sure busted my chops when I installed my wife's laptop), then DECLINE all of the piggybacked programs....don't remember now if there were five or six, but hey, the programmers gotta get paid, too.
    Then, there's the update.
    Weird.
    Get all done installing, restart and you get to do it all over again to get the upgrade installed.
    Would have gone for an extra half star if I wasn't still shaking my head over that one....

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Good but some what confusing"

    October 26, 2013  |   By gunnerb47

    Version: Privatefirewall 7.0.29.1

    Pros

    Free always a good, Seems to catch allot of actions. Ask what you want to do with items of alerts.

    Cons

    One needs to be a fairly advanced user to figure out whether or not to delete an action item alert.
    I have to stop and figure out what the alert is about and or what program is causing it to come up. Not easy.

    Summary

    I am thinking about finding something a little easier to use. For the average user it is a bit complicated. There are days that one does not want to be a tech head just to have a fire wall protection.
    If there was more or an easy way set up to see what it is bringing up alerts and then it would be simpler to make a educated decision. I am still deciding if I am keeping this as my firewall.

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  • 3.0 stars

    "7.030.2 update install error"

    October 7, 2013  |   By BOBRGR

    Version: Privatefirewall 7.0.29.1

    Pros

    7.0.29.1 vers works great...replace zonealarm on multiple PC's
    Some have cited issues with Avast...I've had no problems on multiple XP's and Win7's

    Cons

    PFW nags download install 7.030.2 update...Says to uninstall prior version after exporting settings...unusually cumbersome process....Then the new version doesn't install properly and kicks up "install error 0x80170002" message

    Summary

    This is a reply I posted on a message board discussing the problem:
    With my Win7 laptop I installed the update without uninstalling the prior version..no problems seen. With an XP desktop, I uninstalled the prior version and got the "install error 0x80170002" A reinstallatin attempt produced the same result. I uninstalled the new version then reinstalled the 7.0.29.1 vers, importing the settings that were exported prior to the uninstall. So far it seems to be working but, if I stop there, I'll have to put up with the download nags when PFW starts up. ...So [I'm writing this as I'm doing it], I exited PFW and installed the newest verion over top of it...contrary to instructions. When I opened PFW, it was the new version and all looks ok. When I restarted the PC, I got a request to ok a setting...so perhaps the settings didn't transfer perfectly. There was no update nag.
    Avast and PFW have been playing nicely together on multiple XP PC's and 2 win7 PC's...one of which has the overwritten 7.030.2 new version mentioned above.
    So my experience indicates less problems installing 7.030.2 update over 7.0.29.1 vers without uninstalling as directions indicate [close it during install, export settings and do system restore points prior to] YMMV

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Best Firewall Ever!"

    October 5, 2013  |   By BlackBox246

    Version: Privatefirewall 7.0.29.1

    Pros

    This program basically works like Spyware Shelter the paid version with Code Detection or Anti Loggers in the newer version's, it also has the best Two Way Firewall I have ever seen. And you can disable Windows UAC and use the HIPS for Autoruns instead! WOW What a Malware Killer for a firewall...

    Cons

    I will never find any!!!

    Summary

    The best firewall in the world!!!

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Spectacular"

    August 27, 2013  |   By jacksonlauw

    Version: Privatefirewall 7.0.29.1

    Pros

    I use Privatefirewall v7.0 in combination with avast! free AV v8.0
    The installation process is easy enough. It's light, comprehensive and quick at detection.

    Cons

    The GUI could be better improved.

    Summary

    So far so good and hope it stay that way !

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  • 5.0 stars

    "cool firewall with various HIPS options"

    August 10, 2013  |   By salesalex

    Version: Privatefirewall 7.0.29.1

    Pros

    blocks everything I tried 100% , even on WinXP3 it blocked every leak test. With its HIPS feature enabled there is practically no need for antivirus. It uses just about 30mb Ram and does not slow down the system startup .

    Cons

    icon is a bit dated .

    Summary

    this is one of the most extreme firewall I have seen , it is similar to 'Online armor' but more effective I think .

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Get SCARED...really scared! (and somewhere a cat hiss.)"

    August 1, 2013  |   By ClimateWorldTrade

    Version: Privatefirewall 7.0.29.1

    Pros

    Extremely, extremely effective. (Read my summary.)
    Light on resources
    Much more user-friendly than Windows Firewall
    This software is, surprise surprise, free.
    It has a training module, so while you're working on your pc and surfing the net as usual it learns what you would like to allow and what not, and still monitors the things that you do allow, so that should an allowed item suddenly starts doing things differently than normal (example: when that software of yours, or the website you're surfing, was infected, or your email client suddenly starts sending out random emails) PrivateFirewall will alert you and block that action temporarily while waiting for you to check it out.

    Cons

    The UI's look is a bit 'old'
    A bit of a learning curve, expect to spend an hour (if you're a novice) to click every button and read about the settings and stuff.
    Easier tutorials will be a big plus.

    Summary

    Up till 2012 I was using Avast's Paid version, which ships with an excellent, effective and very user-friendly firewall. But after the yearly subscription I went with Avast free version, which doesn't have a firewall. So for the past year up till 1 August 2013 I was using the clumsy, non-userfriendly Windows Firewall. I was shocked out of my shoes after finding out how ineffective any PC running Windows is against silent hacker-attacks. After doing a full virus scan (which came out clean) and then installing PrivateFirewall (PF), PF almost immediately popped up a window saying my PC is repeatedly attempting to send a file INSIDE my computer to an unknown IP-address which I can only assume had a hacker on that side! Turns out I had a very clever Trojan inside my pc that Avast had missed. Well, despite that, at least no info was sent out (anymore), thanks to PF. Heaven knows how much info the slime ball on the other end already had gotten hold of before I installed PF.
    Want to get worried? Go and check your own computer's security at this site: GRC.com, or google 'Gibson Research Corporation. They have a free tool on their website, which shows you which of your ports are open and vulnerable to hackers and virusses, in short, how safe your pc really is. You may be in for a shock.
    A computer's ports are always 'listening', and hackers use automated scanning software to crawl the internet looking for vulnerable pc's.
    When these automated bots pass your computer it tests your open ports from where the hacker and/or his software can gain entry, and you may just put a smile on a hacker's ugly, slimy, pock-ridden face when he sees the report of his software.
    When using Windows Firewall, GRC's tool showed how vulnerable my computer really was. (Yeah yeah, you can say I should've configured the user-UNfriendly Windows Firewall better.)
    After I installed PF and tested again the tool confirmed that my pc at last have a firewall that does its job properly.
    In short: Go and test your pc quickly (takes 20 seconds), then get yourself PrivateFirewall.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Excellent Firewall - Best Free Firewall Available"

    July 28, 2013  |   By Airfla

    Version: Privatefirewall 7.0.29.1

    Pros

    This firewall does everything that a good firewall should. It provides excellent and complete protection and consumes few computer resources. The HIPS component is also very effective. There is a bit of a learning curve, but that's true of any good firewall. Those who claim you cannot customize it have simply not taken the time to learn how to do it. To give up on a powerful, sophisticated piece of software after two hours is anything but a fair test.

    In addition,support is excellent. If you submit a Privacyware Support ticket, you will receive a prompt reply and will be guided through any difficulties you are having. I know; I've done it.

    I haven't a clue what the person complaining about installing unwanted Firefox add-ons is talking about. That must have something to do with CNET's downloader, because it has nothing to do with Privatefirewall itself.

    I have been using Privatefirewall successfully for years and highly recommend it.

    Cons

    As I said, there is a bit of a learning curve to get up to speed. If you use the Standard Control mode, you shouldn't have too much difficulty.

    Summary

    A superior product that provides full firewall and HIPS protection, while consuming few computer resources. Excellent support. Best free firewall available.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Don't even try it !"

    July 17, 2013  |   By TrubacCvetko

    Version: Privatefirewall 7.0.29.1

    Pros

    None. Could not get it to run properly.

    Cons

    When I installed it, and then rebooted as advised by the installer, it froze my PC at bootup, leaving me no other option than "failsafe mode". But in failsafe mode you can't uninstall it (windows installer service not running in failsafe mode). So I had to manually edit the registry to prevent launch at startup for this soft, removed the service in service manager, reboot, and then I could uninstall. I've lost one hour of precious working time trying to install this piece of S**T.

    Summary

    Don't waste your time downloading it.

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Results 1-10 of 29

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