Windows Firewall Control is one of many interfaces for the built in Windows Firewall. The goal of this tiny piece of software is to help novice users create rules, allow quick access to the interface, and display connections in an easy to use manner.
Im going to start this review with what this software will run on and it doesnt take much.
- Microsoft .net Framework v4.5
- x64 or x86 Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, Server 2008, and Server 2012
- Windows Firewall service enabled and running
- DNS Client service enabled and running
Unofficially it doesnt require much RAM or HD space either. I am running it on my system and it uses about 30Mb of RAM in real time and less than 1Mb of HD space.
You might be asking yourself why you need Windows Firewall Control. The short answer is you don’t, if your an expert at creating proper firewall rules. If you arent an expert Windows Firewall Control offers ease of mind, ease of use, and at a very minimal cost. A comprehensive list of features is below:
- Intuitive and easy accessible interface in the system tray, next to the system clock.
- Full support with standard user accounts. Elevated privileges are required only at installation.
- Disable the ability of other programs to add Windows Firewall rules.
- Multiple and easier ways of creating new rules in Windows Firewall.
- Integrated support of creating, modifying and deleting Window Firewall rules.
- Lock feature which can disable the access to the settings of the program and Windows Firewall.
- Shell integration into the right click context menu of the executable files.
- Display invalid rules with the possibility to delete them very quickly.
- Merge multiple similar rules or duplicate existing ones.
- Search for executable files through folders and create new rules in seconds.
- View recently allowed and blocked connections and create new rules from the Security log.
- Choose if you want the program to start at user log on.
- Import, export and restore all firewall rules or just the selected rules.
- Protection to unauthorized uninstallation.
- Possibility to restore previous settings at uninstallation.
- Global hot keys are supported and various shortcut keys are available
Some of these features are more appealing than others and I will cover the 3 most appealing ones to me and why I choose WFC.
- Intuitive and Easy interface. Any software that has the ability to take something that could be complicated such as firewall walls and make it something that the majority of users can use is key. A software is only as useful as what ever the end user puts into it. Having an intuitive and easy to use interface is key as it draws people to use it rather than try something else that could fit the bill.
- Disable the ability of other programs to add Windows Firewall rules. As a network engineer, one of my concerns is always single point of management. I dont want to manage 15 different services from 15 different websites or servers. I want something that can be managed from a central location. WFC provides that by disabling other software from creating rules. Alot of applications have the ability during install to create the rules they need. However, WFC prevents those rules from being created until an application tries to access the internet. The user always has the option to allow, deny, or temporarily allow.
- Multiple Ways to Create rules. Lets face it. We all dont learn the same way, nor do our brains function the same way. As the saying goes: “There are multiple ways to skin a cat”. Same goes for WFC. There are multiple ways to create rules. The easiest way for me was to set a filtering profile (Medium for me) and then respond to prompts as applications attempt to connect to the internet. An alternative method is to go to the Manage Rules by right clicking on the tray icon > selecting rules panel > and then selecting Manage Rules. In the Manage Rules view you get a little bit more granular with the rule name, group, program location, which firewall profiles you want to allow the rule for (All, Domain, Public, Private), whether its a block or allow, if the rule is enabled, ports, specific IP addresses, protocols, etc.
Note. Some of the screenshots are taller than others. I wanted to get all of the settings of a particular window into the screen instead of multiple screenshots for the same thing.
Some of you may be wondering well what is the difference between High Filter, Medium Filtering, and Low Filtering? Or the difference in Notification Levels? Well the answer is easy and it comes down to the number 1 reason I selected this product. Ease of use. The application specifies what filtering profiles mean, what the notification levels mean, and what they do instead of leaving the user doing research to figure it out.
Remove old or invalid rules is extremely easy. I have seen numerous occasions where software or hardware is upgraded and old references still exist. From a management standpoint this is terrible. Its just more data to sift through when an issue occurs. WFC takes some of this out of the equation in the Manage Rules interface. It has the ability to show invalid rules and filter on those rules.
When working with rules there is a method to the madness. A rule with a red back ground is a blocked application as determined by the user. A rule with a green background is an allowed application as determined by the user. A rule with red text is an invalid rule as determined by WFC. I am waiting to hear from the developer on the logic behind determining invalid rules. In the mean time Im guessing it is based on program location either being valid or invalid.
Real Reason You Are Here
We all know the real reason you are reading this article and its clearly because you are on the fence and cant decide what Firewall utility to use. Well I am here to tell you that WFC is the right choice. In doing so Binisoft is willing to donate 3 activation codes for lucky readers.
An activation code is different from a registered account. An activation code activates the software on a single PC. If you want to migrate the software to a new PC you will need to create a new activation code based on the ID of that PC. Creating a new activation code can only be done with a registered user account for $10 at http://www.binisoft.org/donate.php.
How to Enter the Giveaway
- Have a valid Tys Tech Talk account
- Comment on this post with why you would like to try WFC
- Optional: Share this giveaway with your friends using the share options below.
Note: Giveaway ends October 31st at 12AM EST. Only 1 entry per person. I will announce the winners via email. Windows Firewall Control must be installed on the system you will be licensing. I will need the Unique Installation ID in order to get a proper license.