Firewall is an important tool which helps in securing our computers from outside threats. At the beginning, the only purpose of firewall was to protect a PC from outside attacks. But now as the Internet has advanced, the responsibilities of a firewall have also grown at large.
Now Firewalls are responsible for handling outside as well as inside threats by monitoring the inbound and outbound traffic. If you are connected to the Internet and a website starts sending you harmful data, the firewall will come into play and block the threat. Similarly, if an internal program installed on your computer wants to access the Internet without you permission, the firewall will not let it do so.
We used to rely on third party firewall but Microsoft introduced a built in firewall for Windows in Windows XP SP2. After that, all versions of Windows come with a built in firewall.
Windows Firewall is a reasonably good firewall but the only problem is that it is not easy to configure and operate. It can keep on working on auto mode without any user input but if you are an advanced user, you will like to either shift to a third party firewall with more options or learn more about how to configure the Windows Firewall the hard way.
TinyWall is a tiny application which uses Windows Firewall API and lets you configure the Windows Firewall the easy way. TinyWall can be thought of as a configuration interface of Windows Firewall as it does not have any filter of its own. It will rely on Windows Firewall to implement all the security measures configured in the program.
The installation of TinyWall is quite quiet. It will just install and will not be visible until you notice its icon in the system tray. Right clicking on the system tray icon will reveal all the quick configuration options that you can do with TinyWall.
To see all the configuration options, you will have to select Manage from the context menu. You can password protect the Windows Firewall configurations so that no one else can change the settings. You can enable or disable the blocklists. If you enable the blocklists, you can choose which types of blocklists to enable, port based malware blocklist or Domain-based malware and ad blocklist or both.
If you have enabled the blocklist, you can add the programs of your choice to the exception list from Application Exceptions tab.
It takes quite some time to configure each and every application you want to allow access in this exception list. To do it quickly, just click on the Detect button and it will automatically scan for applications which may use the Internet and you can add the list as per your needs.
You can quickly change the firewall mode by right clicking the system tray icon and selecting the drop down menu. You can also see the current connections list by right clicking the system tray icon and selecting connections. This will give you a list of current connections on made with your computer. The data is very similar to netstat command but I’m quite comfortable monitoring the connections list in graphical user interface rather than in the command line.
Overall, TinyWall is an amazing application which will not slow down your computer like other third party firewalls mainly because it used Windows Firewall to get its job done. TinyWall works with all versions of Windows which have Windows Firewall in them including Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista and Windows 7. Although the publisher has not specified Windows 8 but I have successfully installed and used TinyWall on Windows 8 without any problems. I hope you will like this tiny application and share your thoughts in the comments.