Monday, July 25, 2011

Windows Firewall Notifier For Windows 7 and Vista

Windows 7 and Vista’s built-in firewall lacks a proper interface due to which configuration of the firewall is beyond most casual users. Free programs such as Windows 7 Firewall Control gives users more control on Windows 7 firewall allowing users to create application rules, zones, forward ports and more. Windows 7 Firewall Control converts the default Windows firewall into a full fledged firewall program. But if you are looking for something in between no control and full control, you should try Windows Firewall Notifier.

Windows Firewall Notifier is a small program that displays pop-up messages and balloon notifications whenever a new program tries to connect to the network or the Internet. The Windows firewall blocks such requests by default, but Windows Firewall Notifier offers you the option to temporarily or permanently allow or deny requests from these programs.

windows-firewall-notifier

A click on the balloon notification displays a dialog box, allowing the user to:

  1. Allow the application once
  2. Always allow the application
  3. Block the application once
  4. Always block the application

windows-firewall-notifier2

Windows Firewall Notifier is a nice utility but suffers from an absurd design problem. The program has no user interface and no permanent icon is visible in the system tray. When a user action is required, a balloon notification appears together with an icon that remains onscreen for two to three seconds after which it disappears. The notification may or may not reappear later. The user has to react within those few seconds when the notification is available.

As I said, Windows Firewall Notifier offers only limited control over the firewall. Once an application rule is created, it is not possible to modify the rule – a blocked application will always be blocked and an allowed application will always be allowed. To modify rules you have to go to Control panel > Administrative Tools and change application settings from Advanced Firewall Settings option.

11 comments:

  1. Umm... No thanks!

    I like the Windows Firewall's current prompts. I don't want Zone-Alarm Types of annoying prompts.

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  2. How do I get rid of this annoying thing?

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  3. I would advise anyone to not install this. It must be a trick or malware because there is no way to remove it once installed. It keeps popping up balloons that don't allow time enough to click on.
    The web site is in French and of no help.

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  4. Just open task manager and kill the process. There should have been an easier method to close the program. As I said, this program is a usability nightmare, but certainly not a malware.

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  5. I finally stopped it with a system restore.

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  6. Hi there,

    I'm the author of WFN, and I am a bit surprised to find it has spread on the Internet without me being told...
    Anyway, I would have been glad to answer your questions, if only you had taken the time to ask.
    So:
    1. I didn't want WFN to use resources on your computer for no reason at all. That's why it is only launched when required, when a outgoing connection has indeed been blocked.
    2. As written on my website (in english as well), you can disable it by launching the executable one more time. No need for an installer / uninstaller, everything is embedded in one exe.
    3. For the first comment: Windows does NOT prompt you when it blocks outgoing connections, which is the primary aim of WFN.

    I've never advertised about WFN in any way, but I started to receive a lot of emails (believe it or not, some people actually like it ;-) ). I know it can be improved (a new version will come today), but I don't have that much time.

    If you have any concern / remark, feel free to post a message through my website.

    Thanks for reading, and thank you Kaushik for posting :-)

    Regards,
    Khan

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  7. @Khan: Thanks for those valuable inputs.

    I didn't ask you before posting the review because it unnecessarily delays the publishing of the article by days and even weeks. And some developers never reply back. I base my review on personal testing and whatever information is available on the developer's website. I'm sorry if the description was inaccurate, but then the information on your website wasn't very clear either (you only wrote about 'uninstalling' the program- nothing about modifying rules)

    Anyways, thanks for stopping by.

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  8. @Kaushik: You're welcome.
    You actually did not have to ask (other websites / blogs published WFN without asking as well), I only wanted to point out I wasn't aware of it being "such" renown and thus that I wasn't able to follow all users comments / remarks.

    I certainly do not blame you for your review (I can understand why you consider the design as being absurd, while it makes sense to me and to other users as well), and you're totally right pointing out it lacks some "real" documentation. I'll try to improve those points.

    Last but not least, a new version has been released yesterday (1.1.0), with the following modifications:
    - the outgoing connection dialog has been slightly modified (now creates a rule by default, except if asked not to, so that only two buttons have to be shown).
    - when directly launched through the exe, WFN shows a new screen with exceptions list, and the 500 last entries of the Windows firewall log (so that you can create rules from there using the contextual menu), along with a “uninstall” button.
    - rules can be created for a given port only (will work with TCP connections only as of now).

    Thanks !

    Khan

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  9. V1.2.0 is out :-)
    I modified some core features and added a new screen listing the existing Windows firewall rules (so that rules management gets a bit easier).
    Some things have been improved as well, and I added a little readme file (nothing fancy here, I should really improve that one).

    Khan

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  10. I noticed that WFN (Windows Firewall Notifier) does not require the restart of an application when a new rule is made. This is a huge plus point - especially during install of new applications. Windows 7 Firewall Control requires one to restart applications which can be a real pain, especially during installs. I like WFN a lot - but still need to work my way through too many notifications for all sorts of outbound Windows stuff - which I assume I should disallow, since they are disallowed by default in Windows, and I presume that is why WFN notifies me.

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  11. Love how this program works!
    Any way to get it working in a non administrator account? Even if in a limited capacity with only
    out going notifications.

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