Windows has had its own firewall since Windows XP, but while early versions were a bit shonky it’s actually been very good since the days of Windows Vista. Unfortunately it’s not particularly easy to find or configure, and some malware knows how to turn it off altogether.
Where to download: https://tinywall.pados.hu/ (opens in new tab)
Developer: Károly Pados (opens in new tab)
Operating system: Windows
TinyWall is designed to address those shortcomings and others. It starts off with a much more secure default configuration, and gives the firewall a sane user interface that makes it much easier to decide what to allow and what to block.
Best of all, TinyWall introduces a really straightforward way of adding new apps to the approved list without blasting you with popups all the time. And it makes sure unknown apps can’t simply mooch into your system, turn off the firewall and start doing bad things to your PC.
As developer Károly Pados says, the Windows firewall “possesses almost everything a man” – or woman – “could ask from a firewall engine.” What TinyWall offers is a better way to use that engine and to access all of its power. If you want a simple but effective and powerful firewall for Windows versions from Vista onwards, this one’s hard to beat.
If overly chatty firewall apps drive you crazy you’ll appreciate TinyWall’s approach: rather than bother you with every single thing it discovers, it automatically blocks known baddies and doesn’t use a single popup. Approving new apps is very fast and vey straightforward, and it offers some advanced features such as time-based rules and blocklists.
We particularly like the use of hotkeys: when you want to approve an app, simply press the hotkey combination and then click on the app’s window. It’s a tiny app too, so it won’t have any negative effect on your PC’s performance.
- ZoneAlarm Free Firewall (opens in new tab)
- Comodo Free Firewall (opens in new tab)
- OpenDNS (opens in new tab)