Windows Firewall Control is a standalone program for Microsoft Windows PCs that extends the functionality of the built-in Windows Firewall and improves manageability significantly.
A free version is provided but you need to donate to the developer to get a lifetime license for the registered version which adds a notification system for outbound connections and an option to create temporary rules.
Windows Firewall Control is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, and the server versions Server 2012 and Server 2016.
The program requires the Microsoft .Net Framework 4.5 or newer. Windows Firewall needs to be enabled and the same is true for the DNS Client service.
You access the connection log with a click on the "View Windows Firewall connections log" icon on the left side of the program's footer toolbar.
A click on refresh list or a tap on F5 on the keyboard loads the last 100 blocked connections on the device sorted in chronological order by default.
You may use it to list blocked or allowed connections, and use filters to customize the output.
The table lists date and time, process ID, name of the program and path on the system, the source and destination address, and more information.
This gives you an overview of the blocked processes on the Windows PC; handy, if you noticed that a program won't connect to the Internet. A right-click on an item displays options to allow or block it, to run verification checks, and to create a custom rule for it.
The verification options give you options to check the file on Virustotal, to run a Whois query (using Who.is), or verify the target IP address (using IP Void).
You may use filters displayed in the sidebar if you get a large number of blocked connections. The filters allow you to change the number of blocked connections the program displays, restrict the data to inbound or outbound connections, use a text filter to list specific programs, ports or IP addresses, or switch the display from blocked to allowed. Note that you do need to refresh the listing after making changes to the available filters.
The connection log gives you an overview of allowed or blocked connections. This is useful for troubleshooting connection issues and to verify connections.
The rules panel lists all firewall rules when you open it. Click on the leftmost icon in the application's footer to start it.
Each rule has a colored background that indicates allowed (green) or blocked (red) connections. Rules list application names and paths, and parameters such as local or remote ports, addresses, and the network location.
Here is what you can do on the screen:
Only the registered version supports notifications which list outbound connection attempts. Windows Firewall Control supports three different notification settings:
The notifications interface lists additional preferences. You may define programs or folders for which you don't want notifications to be displayed by Windows Firewall Control, and define for how long the notification is displayed. The time limit for temporary rules can be changed in the preferences as well.
Temporary rules are useful if you want to allow or block a connection temporarily. The notification prompt displays the three permanent options as text and the temporary options to the right as icons only. It is easy enough to overlook the temporary options.
While you can left-click to perform the temporary action right away, you can right-click to set a custom period for the temporary rule.
The most recent version of Windows Firewall Control supports three security settings which protect against tampering and may block connections during shut down or boot.
A click o tools displays links to native Windows administrative tools like the Event Viewer or Resource Monitor, and options to run various checks using online services.
You may use the tools for the following tasks:
Now You: Did we miss a tip?
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.