Although Windows 7 comes with a built-in firewall, it does not provide you with as many control features as a commercial firewall does. In addition, Windows firewall allows all the Microsoft programs, by default. But now you can control which programs Windows 7 gives network access and which kind of access is to be granted. This is achieved through a freeware called Windows 7 Firewall Control, which works for both Windows Vista and Windows 7.
You can download Windows 7 Firewall Control from www.sphinx-soft.com. The download is merely 1 MB and takes around 3-5 seconds to download on a standard 512 kbps connection. Download is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows. The installation does not require any input from the user. Immediately after the installation, you would see a firewall icon in your system tray. If you double click on it, you can access the settings and a list of applications configured in the Windows firewall.
For the freeware version, you can not change much of the settings, but still you can choose which sound to be played when a new un-configured program seeks internet access. When a new program seeks network access, Windows 7 Firewall Controls pops up a dialog box and plays this sound. Then you can choose a preset zone for that program. You can choose – EnableAll, DisableAll, Outgoing Only or Incoming Only.
- EnableAll – this zone allows all kinds of network traffic.
- DisableAll – this zone blocks all kinds of network traffic.
- Outgoing Only – this zone allows only outgoing network traffic, i.e., data being sent from your computer.
- Incoming Only – this zone allows all kinds of network traffic, i.e., data being received to your computer.
When this dialog box pops up, you can also search for that program (which is seeking network access) on Google using the Google icon on the top-right of the dialog box, as can be seen in the picture above.
If you have already set the network access type for an application, and you want to change it, then you can modify network access permissions from the system tray icon. Just double-click on the network access icon and you would see a list of programs. Double-click on any program to modify its settings.