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.
A click on the balloon notification displays a dialog box, allowing the user to:
- Allow the application once
- Always allow the application
- Block the application once
- Always block the application
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.