From the days of XP to Win 10, the necessity of a Firewall cannot be ignored. The main reason is that Windows OS is more vulnerable, unlike Mac OS and Android. Every Tuesday Microsoft releases security patches for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 etc to contain the security flaws that were exploited by hackers.
Once you start using Internet, software programs and apps installed on your PC will try to make incoming and outgoing connections for different reasons. You will not know what information they are getting in and out. Even if you are using torrent clients, there is a risk of malware, trojans, viruses etc to sneak through.
To protect from all these evils, the “firewall” is introduced in the late 1990s. It acts like a barrier between the outside network and your computer. If it suspects that any worms or viruses are getting into your system, it blocks that kind of traffic.
Another interesting feature developed by Microsoft is that you can block an app or program to communicate with the outside world or allow it. The simplicity of this feature is that once you install any firewall it automatically takes care of the security of your computer.
Personally in India, some of ISP providers disable the firewall to make Internet fast enough. As firewall processes the incoming and outgoing traffic, there is a small delay in opening of web pages and operation of any apps which use Internet. This is my observation. But if you disable the firewall, you are removing the security guard which prevents the demons from entering into your computer.
So when you decide to use a firewall, you should choose wisely based on other users experience between speed and security.
The following are some of the third-party firewalls which come as a package with Internet Security or Anti-Virus.
- ZoneAlarm Free Firewall
- Sygate Personal Firewall
- Sunbelt Personal Firewall
- Outpost Firewall Free
- GlassWire Free Firewall
- Comodo Free Firewall
- Norton 360Norton 360
- Quick Heal AntiVirus Pro
- Tinywall Firewall
- ESET Smart Security 32-bit
- Bitdefender Internet Security
- Avast Internet Security
- Kaspersky Internet Security
- Avira Internet Security Suite
- AVG Antivirus Business Edition
In my view the best firewall for Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 is the in-built one that is developed by Microsoft itself. The main reason is that no one knows better than the mother. If you are using a third-party firewall, they don’t know the full functionality code of Windows. So there may hiccups which can hinder the performance of your computer regarding speed and security. Also some of them are very difficult to uninstall. Some left over registry entries (even after cleaning) limit the functionality of some programs or apps.
What are the features of Windows 10 Firewall?
1. It is a stateful firewall.
2. It is an inbound firewall that memorizes.
3. The outgoing packets of information are logged with IP addresses.
4. When there is incoming traffic, it matches with the IPs of outgoing packets, to make sure that it is the right data.
5. Exceptions can be made to allow unexpected packets to pass through firewall.
6. Blocking of certain programs or apps is possible, which prevents them communicating with the outside Internet.
7. It is a reliable method to minimize the exposure of your system to potential risks like trojans, worms and malware.
8. The firewall is turned on by default.
9. You can purposefully turn off the firewall. Network administrators in big companies can remotely turn them off to install service packs.
10. Balloon notifications act as a warning if some unwanted programs or virus tries to turn off your Windows Firewall.
What are the functions of Windows 10 Firewall?
1. It hides open ports.
2. Identification of fraud traffic that can slow your computer.
3. Disable corrupt programs which try to bring in virus.
4. Security-Updates from time to time, to protect from new threats.
5. Safer-surfing through different browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge etc.
6. Creation of different rules for specific programs or apps.
7. Monitoring the behavior of system and program processes to stop suspicious tasks.
8. Monitoring of multiple remote connections.
9. Providing security and safety to webcam and microphone attached to your computer.
10. Protect your system while connected to Hotspot and Wi-Fi areas in Public, Private and Vulnerable zones.
In 2020, there is no necessity of installing a third-party firewall. Generally the anti-virus product owners in order to boost up their sales boast about a free firewall along with their standalone product. But the built-in Windows firewall takes care of many of the functionalities in protecting your PC.
One can configure the performance of the firewall and the level of protection it can do. You can manually block a program that’s allowed by default, if you think its causing security vulnerability. Sometimes apps like iTunes requires your permission to allow installation and passage.
If a new program is installed, Windows 10 firewall sometimes shows a pop-up whether it should be allowed access in a private or public network. Sometimes the anti-virus other than Windows Defender if installed may not play well with third-party firewalls. The best protection for your computer is to use Windows Defender as an anti-virus in combination with in-built firewall.
This also helps keep the optimum level of protection and maintain speed also. Finally you should avoid websites which are prone to cause virus issues in your computer. A careful investigation of sites you visit and Microsoft supported programs will keep your computer in optimized condition. Otherwise, you need to format your OS, which is a waste of time and also lose your valuable documents.