Windows 7 Firewall Control
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Full user review
"Makes the 7 firewall more user friendly."
Install went smoothly. Integrates with Windows 7 firewall seamlessly. Easy to navigate user interface. Doesn't use a lot of system resources. Simple rule creation for applications. 64 bit compatible. No annoying "buy now" popups.
Some features disabled in free version (of course). No option to minimize the control panel to the system tray.
Most experts agree that the Windows 7 firewall is adequate for the average home user. A great improvement over the Windows XP firewall. However configuring the outbound firewall rules can be a bit daunting, especially for a novice user. Plus the Windows firewall isn't transparent, especially when it comes to outbound connections, so you don't know what it's doing unless you get a pop up that it actually blocked something. That's where this little app comes in handy. It gives you the ability to create your own rules governing inbound and outbound connections for applications or processes with just a couple of clicks of the mouse. By default it will block any new process or application automatically until you create a rule to allow incoming, outgoing or both rules. A great plus if your unlucky enough to get infected with malware. The malware won't be able to "phone home" unless you let it do so. Because of this the first time you use your browser it won't be able to connect until you create a rule for the application. That is one slight downside, It won't pause the application until you make a decision. It will terminate the process first and ask questions later.A couple of things I should have mentioned in my original post. You can view the activity of the Windows 7 firewall by accessing the firewall log file if you care to take the time to hunt down the file and open it. Also by default the program will automatically create a Enable All (read only) rule for authentic Windows processes such as svchost.exe etc...
Updated on Dec 22, 2010
Updated on Jan 10, 2011The Windows 7 FW is indeed superior to XP's. However the main turnoff for me is the lack of transparency. You don't know what it's doing unless it actually blocks something it deems potentially malicious then you get a popup. The free version of Windows 7 Firewall Control does provide you with detailed info about the FW activity plus easier outbound rule creation but there were some shortcomings with the program. By default the program creates a rule for all Windows applications to be enabled but read only and you can't change that option (free version). That rendered some Windows applications that require both read and write capability nonfunctional. Also with the 7 Firewall Control program it will kill a process instead of suspending it until a decision is made which can make installing new software problematic at best. So the bottom line is I installed Comodo Firewall 5.0 64 bit. With the numerous settings, tweaks and transparency of Comodo it is just the better option for me.