TinyWall - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

TinyWall

CNET Editors' review

With so many free firewalls to choose from, products need to stand out in some way. TinyWall emphasizes simplicity, flexibility, and unobtrusiveness. This free firewall is designed to harden and add more control to the existing firewall in Windows 7 and Vista. Instead of constantly hitting you with pop-ups asking you to allow or deny access to a program or Internet address, TinyWall lets you quickly add allowed sites to your white list in several ways. For example, you can use a hot key and click any open window to add that app to your white list, or you can select applications from a list of running processes. Like the Windows Firewall it's based on, TinyWall works with other firewalls in place, too.

As with most firewalls, TinyWall's system tray icon accesses the program's main menu, features, and options. TinyWall starts in Normal Mode and allowing Private Zone access. From the menu, we could change the mode to block everything, allow outgoing traffic, and enable an autolearning feature. TinyWall offers three hot-key shortcuts for whitelisting programs: by executable, by process, and by window. We could also click Elevate, Show Connections, Enable Blocklists, Unblock LAN Traffic, and initiate other operations from TinyWall's system tray menu. Clicking Manage opened a tabbed dialog that let us add, remove, and edit exceptions, including special exceptions, change the password or interface language, import and export settings, and many other maintenance operations. TinyWall updates automatically, too, and notifies you when settings have been changed or updated. TinyWall's hot-key-based method works well, and we certainly didn't miss having to click two (or three) pop-ups in a row. Whining about PC security is courting trouble, but TinyWall lets you manage your firewall settings and permissions quickly and easily without the nagging.

Microsoft packed a pretty good firewall into Vista and Win7, but it's got some shortcomings, such as a clunky interface, not to mention the fact that it's too easily disabled by many apps. TinyWall by and large addresses these shortcomings. We like it. It takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, TinyWall's advantages become clear.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews

Results 1-10 of 11

  • 2.0 stars

    "Good but has serious flaws"

    May 14, 2013  |   By yesterdayz_man

    Version: TinyWall 2.0

    Pros

    Easy to use

    Cons

    Doesn't work properly with multiple user accounts

    Summary

    Is a nice easy to use firewall for a single user machine but it simple does not work with multiple users and completely blocks every other user other than the one that installed it and gives an error when you try to change setting which is a pretty serious flaw and a deal breaker. I had to uninstall it as this makes it useless.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Simple, uses almost no recourses and no CPU!"

    March 29, 2013  |   By bupbup777

    Version: TinyWall 2.0

    Pros

    Lightweight!, Simple. Still testing it.

    Cons

    Unsure yet, still testing it. Perhaps a learn as you go option. But, not required. Perhaps enable capable in options would be nice, off by default.

    Summary

    So far So good!

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  • 3.0 stars

    "seems easy to use, quick access to important settings"

    January 22, 2013  |   By swupdt

    Version: TinyWall 2.0

    Pros

    the w7 firewall is quite unintuitive to configure for anyone not in depth familiar with it and/or coming from a separate firewall with a user-friendlier interface. tiny wall takes care of that quite well and while there is certainly room for improvement it does make handling w7's on-board firewall significantly easier

    Cons

    some quirks I've encountered took me to the brink of uninstalling the app for good. I've finally decided to give it one last try, though. problems being: re-setting your settings for no obvious reason, forcing you to reconfigure everything allowed. blocking all internet traffic arbitrarily, as it seems, (forcing you to reset your settings yourself - at least that helped). finally, after installing avg free 2013 not only the internet could not be accessed anymore but the tiny wall service kept starting and stopping itself over and over (leading to massive cpu consumption) while presenting itself as "unavailable", thus preventing you from restarting and/or configuring it manually. uninstalling it was the only solution. as said above, now running the third and last test.

    Summary

    nice if you can live with bugs and your requirements are not too high. however, if problems arise, they usually will prevent you from accessing the net and thus the many solutions you could find there. with a bit of work and more thorough bug-testing it would be recommendable outright

    Updated on Jan 22, 2013

    [1/2] Just installed the lastest version and usability-wise imho it has deteriorated. The handy auto-learn feature has been removed (yes, I know that it can lead to problems, esp. if you forget switching back to normal) and thus much more has to be configured manually. For configuration you have to use so-called profiles or individual port configuraton. Either way, you should know at least a bit about how the program you want to unblock works: if not the specific ports then at least if it works as a http(s) client or server, with pptp or l2tp etc. Or you use the profile "blind trust" which, according to its name (other information is not given), should unblock all. It didn't with "Bid-O-Matic", though.

    Updated on Jan 22, 2013

    [2/2] The program detection service does not recognize many of my programs (e.g. Waterfox or Cisco VPN Client; from Thunderbird it only detects the plugin-container etc.; otoh, Opera is detected twice).

    As soon as you hit "apply", the gui closes. You cannot edit several apps in a row but always have to open the ui again. Irritating.

    Finally, the program now can no longer be uninstalled from the control panel but only from its own tray-icon/gui. It seems to me that this would effectively have prevented my uninstallation last time (still the old version) when the TinyWall service had blocked net access completely, constantly started and stopped again and the icon itself had been greyed out - "not available".

    After these experiences, I'd judge it as both too risky and too complicated (or rather lacking in ease-of-use) to use this over the original W7 firewall controls.

    Uninstalling now - too bad, the concept was/is really promising

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Nice program,but needs work"

    December 20, 2012  |   By razzamatazzer

    Version: TinyWall 2.0

    Pros

    I installed and used this for about a month.A lot of the times,when I either re-started or came out of sleep mode,the program would not allow me to change it's status,as the status was unknown.It also caused some issues when I uninstalled it(luckily I had a good system image to restore from).

    Cons

    I installed and used this for about a month.A lot of the times,when I either re-started or came out of sleep mode,the program would not allow me to change it's status,as the status was unknown.It also caused some issues when I uninstalled it(luckily I had a good system image to restore from).

    Summary

    It still has bugs to be worked out,but so far it's pretty good...

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Pretty good!"

    November 11, 2012  |   By Jexthoth

    Version: TinyWall 2.0

    Pros

    When it says block everything, it means everything. I like the mode switching feature very well. I love how I can lock it so nothing can touch my firewall. It does not slow the system down too bad.

    Cons

    I hate finding new registry entries of invalid firewall rule each time I use my cleaner, but I can live with it for added security.

    Summary

    Works well with any antivirus I have tested so far. It is worth a try.

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Has Alzheimer's"

    October 20, 2012  |   By JackSpears

    Version: TinyWall 2.0

    Pros

    It seems to work fine.

    Cons

    It has reset my whitelisted exceptions three times now, forcing me to re-teach it which programs should not be blocked. Three strikes, and you're out -- I uninstalled this faulty product.

    Summary

    For a product that is supposed to streamline firewalls to be less obtrusive and high maintenance, it fails.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "very pleased"

    August 31, 2012  |  

    Version: TinyWall 2.0

    Pros

    compact, fast, uses low resources, easy to use

    Cons

    cant think of any right now

    Summary

    i was a massive fan of zone alarm but as the years roll by, it just got more and more buggy. clunky, just annoying, eventually i had enough and decided to switch. I am so glad i did, tinywall works exactly like a firewall should work, silently, in the background, its my silent guardian.

    okay so, when you first start using it, you may need to add specific programs manually to the cleared list but when your done with the config thats it job done :)

    i'm happy with it so far been using it for about two weeks, i would recommend this for sure.

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Blocked Carbonite"

    August 18, 2012  |   By parvan

    Version: TinyWall 2.0

    Pros

    Initially it seemed easy to use. It blocked some programs but I was able to unblock them easily.

    Cons

    Never could get it to stop blocking carbonite. As soon as I uninstalled TinyWall, Carbonite started working.

    Summary

    TinyWall did seem easy to use and effective. However, my inability to make it stop blocking Carbonite made TinyWall unacceptable to me. Given that Carbonite is a pretty mainstream service, it really should be on the list of programs allowed access by default.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "A nice enhancement to Windows Firewall."

    July 25, 2012  |   By GCG1000

    Version: TinyWall 2.0

    Pros

    Easily installs; provides a fairly comprehensive user interface for tighter control over Win's firewall functions. It's 'Learning Mode" is the ideal way to get started with Tiny Wall.

    Cons

    Needs a better FAQ at their web site.

    Summary

    Quite cool and it's free!

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  • 4.0 stars

    "800k installer, minimalist but rich"

    April 1, 2012  |   By hammai

    Version: TinyWall 1.0.3

    Pros

    Small installer, minimalist approach, good features, select applications by process, window or executable. Clear option to "Elevate" the process.

    Cons

    Relatively big memory usage, compared to the installer size, but it's still ok for nowadays standards.

    The biggest problem for me is the lack of that traditional firewall warning with the option to unblock it right away. Some applications/games call other processes in sequence(launchers, etc...), making it very complicated to unblock that app/game. You have to find out which process will be used and sometimes it's not obvious. Luckily its possible to disable the firewall and then try to pick the processes involved.

    Summary

    If you're looking for a small firewall that comes in less than 1MB, this is definitely worth to check out. Despite my particular problem with the lack of warning I'm definitely sticking around with it, because it's still easy and minimalist. Version 2.0 seems to be in beta already.

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Results 1-10 of 11

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