> Yeah, yeah. I've already seen some of the opinions in the group re
> software firewalls.... :) I've lurked here for quite a while.
And with that statement you think that anyone here believes you will now
consider their opinion as valuable?
> Anyway, I'm looking for comments on current software firewalls,
> preferably in the free category. This is for use on WinXPproSP3 and
> possibly Win2KproSP4 as well.
Comments can consume a lot of space as each feature gets hashed over
regarding applicability, reliability, usability, and completeness. If
you instead are looking for recommendations, here's the top two free
- TallEmu Online Armor
- Comodo Firewall (in their Internet Suite)
o In CIS, disable their weak anti-virus component (CAV) and use it
only for on-demand scanning as a 2nd check. Use a different AV
product for on-access (realtime) protection.
> Of interest is controlling outbound communications, something windows
> firewall does not do.
Windows 7 has outbound filtering but not of value to XP users. 3rd
party firewalls are needed in XP for outbound filtering.
> What I have now has helped me keep programs from dialing home and
> other such silliness.
But you don't mention what you have now so recommendations might
duplicate what you are already using now.
(UPDATE: I saw later that you mentioned what you use at the very end of
your post instead of at the very start.)
> This has worked...so far...but suddenly I'm having probs with
> a game communicating between these two machines and I've traced
> it to the software firewall on the XP machine. It blocks port
> 49000 always, even with a rule to always allow. Only disabling
> the firewall allows it to work. Not a preferred solution.
> (interestingly, both computers have the same firewall, but only
> the xp machine is giving me problems)
Alas, some firewalls seem to forget their rules. I ran into this with
Symantec's and Sygate's firewalls a long time ago. You had to delete
the rule, reboot, and then recreate the rule and suddenly the firewall
would honor that rule.
> My current program may just be borked and a reinstall may fix
> this, as I've googled myself silly trying to figure this out.
If you're using the firewall in Symantec or McAfee products, also make
sure you use their cleanup utilities to thoroughly wipe them after an
uninstall before you reinstall them (or install something else).
> But I thought I'd consider newer software as what I have now is
> probably antiquated by internet standards - KPF4.
Oh, that must be Kerio Personal Firewall v4. Yep, that's old. I'd go
with the above recommendations. Online Armor is probably easier to use,
especially when it comes to defining rules. Plus it has its Run Safer
feature which can make a process (started by you or as a child process
started by another process) forced to run under a LUA (limited user
account) token which means it runs under reduced privileges, something
handy for improved security with Internet-facing applications (e.g., web
browser, e-mail client, newsreader).
However, I haven't found a firewall yet that may not sometimes interfere
with the use of your "good" apps. I use a video stream capture utility
that dynamically loads its driver when run and firewalls don't like that
despite defining a rule to grant all privileges in the HIPS portion of
the firewall (i.e., an app rule versus a network rule). Disabling the
firewall doesn't always work so I have to configure the firewall to NOT
enable on Windows startup and have to reboot.