Private Winten: new Windows 10 privacy tweaker with firewall
Private Winten is a new open source software program to adjust privacy and other settings on devices running Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system.
The program is available as a beta version at the time of writing: make sure you create backups before you run it or run it only on non-production machines.
Users who run it need to run it with elevated privileges. Please note that Windows Smartscreen may block the execution or download, likely because it is new. A check on Virustotal returned a clean sheet.
Private Winten is the latest in a series of privacy tools for Windows 10. It is developed by the author of wumgr, an excellent update manager for Windows 10 that returns control over the update process to users of the system.
The software program has two main functions: provide users with access to privacy related settings, and act as a firewall frontend to block outbound connections by default.
Note: it is recommended that you create a System Restore point, Registry backup, or system backup -- using Macrium for instance -- prior to making changes. The program lacks backup and restore options a this point in development.
The tweaking part of the application lists tweak categories such as Search & Cortana, Microsoft Account, or Telemetry & Error Reporting. Each group lists several options to disable certain functionality.
Options to disable Telemetry, CEIP, Error Reporting or Diagnostics are displayed when you access Telemetry & Reporting. Settings are changed with a single click -- on/off toggle -- and each displays the method or methods used to achieve the goal when activated.
The actual tweaks can be enabled or disabled individually when selected; these highlight the change, e.g. the task that is disabled or changes to the Registry.
A difference to many other tweaking programs for Windows 10 is that Private Winten does not just rely on making changes to the Registry or using the Group Policy Editor. Some tweaks require the disabling of services, scheduled tasks, or the blocking of files as well.
The program is designed for advanced users as you find no description, explanation, or suggestions. Inexperienced users may need to research certain settings or use trial and error to make changes.
The firewall frontend blocks program access by default and displays prompts whenever an unidentified program tries to establish outbound connections.
Firewall management is built-into the application. Private Winten displays all existing firewall rules, programs, and their access rights.
The connection status can be changed in the interface; programs can be removed or added, and a log is available that lists previous connection attempts.
Access can be allowed or blocked; you may also allow LAN only connections, or create custom rules for the application.
The prompts work as expected: they highlight the program name and path, outbound IP, port and protocol. Rules can be set permanently or temporarily, and you may set any of the available rule types, e.g. block or custom, and also to stop notifications only.
Closing Words and Verdict
Private Winten is a promising program for advanced users. The current version is beta and it shows, e.g. in a large number of spelling errors or loading time when it comes to some program options (firewall rules).
The core functionality, the tweaking of privacy settings and firewall functionality, works on the other hand and that is more important than spelling mistakes.
Unless you are adventurous, I suggest you wait for the first stable version of the application before you run it.
Now You: Do you use tweak software? (via Born)
Hmm, a bit too much for me in Tweaking Posssibilitys. Most of them you can do through Windows itself.
I prefer O and O Shutup Windows 10, clear Structure and works like charm, no need for that, i guess.
I didn’t think that O&O did firewall rules so I’m not sure it does shut all telemetry down. But it would be nice if someone would go though these utilities and say which ones, if any, actually work 100%.
It’s both awesome and sad that these tools exist.
Very interesting, but it seems like there’s only 1 contributor to the project and it’s in very early stages….
Fyi, if you (and others) have any comments, feedback etc, you are welcome to provide them to the developer in this thread: https://www.wilderssecurity.com/threads/private-winten-open-source-windows-10-privacy-tool-with-built-in-firewall.411531/
He’s the same guy who does WUMgr (Update Manager for Windows), which is sort of a clone of Windows Update MiniTool.
Personally, I believe these tools often create more problems than they solve.
“David Xanatos”? LOL…not too often you see a “Gargoyles” reference these days…
Great news, the developper is really awesome !
Combine it with Simplewall set up in whitelist mode. With Simplewall, Windows 10 will be forced to ask your permission to access internet. Only the apps you allow can access internet.
Linux user here, I laugh at people needing a privacy tweaking utility made by a third party to tame their privacy hostile by default Windows platform. But then, people also needed a third party utility to avoid getting Windows 10 installed on their computers whether they wanted it or not! (look up Never10, actually there were several of these published)
I call the above “late-stage capitalism”. Not satisfied with taking all your money, they’re going to take your browsing history and other ultra sensitive info from your computer, such as names of files you open and what you download and monetize that information. Microsoft claim that all this data is gathered to make Windows better, while simultaneously they’ve had probably the worst year ever when it comes to updates causing harm. And yet, for some reason people still believe them!
“Microsoft claim that all this data is gathered to make Windows better, while simultaneously theyâ€™ve had probably the worst year ever when it comes to updates causing harm. And yet, for some reason people still believe them!”
The data is obviously not used to make W10 better.
My W10 Pro 1703 VM (using VMware Player on Linux Mint 18.3) runs flawlessly, SINCE I blocked all network access.
Fine, but just remember that nothing, and I repeat NOTHING, can prevent Windows 10 from obtaining telemetry via it’s hardened IP addresses.
“NOTHING, can prevent Windows 10 from obtaining telemetry”
Sure there is. A firewall outside the computer can cutoff all communication to undersired addresses. It only matters how much time you want to spend curating those addresses.
It would be nice to get an updated review on this as it has gone through a few changes since this release and is showing a fair bit of development activity lately.