Using GW to identify which process to unblock?

I’m not a networking pro but I thought I understood well enough to do this simple task using GW. Apparently not, though. I’d appreciate advice on what I’m misunderstanding or overlooking.

I use GW to control my data usage. I created my profile by blocking everything and then using “ask to connect” to only allow processes I truly needed. Works great.

Recently an app of mine stopped working after I updated it. I disabled the firewall and it worked again. So apparently the update added a new process that app wants to use. No problem, I just need to turn on “ask to connect” again and then I can allow that process when it pops up, right?

Nope. “ask to connect” has no apparent effect. So I thought, maybe the app is trying to use an existing process I had already blocked, that it didn’t use before. In that case GW wouldn’t ask again. So, I created a new profile. I then spent 5 minutes manually blocking all processes (why isn’t there a button for that?) and turned on “ask to connect”. I’m still not getting asked to connect – for anything. This is the same way I created my daily-use profile originally, but it’s not working at all now.

When you use Ask to Connect, GW only asks you once for each process. If you allow, it unblocks, and if you don’t allow, it leaves it blocked – and doesn’t ask you again. So GW knows what it’s asked me about already and what it hasn’t. For this situation, it’s as if GW is “remembering” that it has already asked me about all these processes once before and is therefore not prompting me again. If I’m correct about that, I think the behavior is inappropriate because I’m working in a new profile. What’s the point of having profiles if they’re influenced by actions inside other profiles?

I’m hoping this is just my failure to understand, and would appreciate any help. I just want to identify which process I need to un-block to restore functionality to this one app, and hopefully learn a little better how to use GW effectively.

Sorry for the issue. If you mouse over the app in the firewall list and click the “x” to the right of it, then relaunch the app does the “ask to connect” appear?

Do you use any other firewall software simultaneously with ours? That can sometimes cause these types of issues.

For the “profile”, it should be a completely fresh profile so I’m not sure why you saw an issue there too. I will share this with our team and we’ll try to reproduce this.

I don’t use any other firewall.

Removing an app using “x” does result in GW re-prompting with “ask to connect” when I launch that app. I thought I had made a totally new profile but perhaps I had cloned an existing one.

Now I understand what I should have figured out on my own: if the app is listed in the profile, GW is not going to ask to connect – because being in the profile means that I’ve already told GW what I want. This may be the root cause of my problem. I’m going to try what I was doing before and see if it’s solved.

Okay I started over with a new, default profile to make sure it wasn’t carrying anything forward from an existing profile. Initially the profile appeared empty, but after a little while I saw that it had populated with what appeared to be every app that was in my other profiles – even those from uninstalled apps that hadn’t cleared themselves out of the “Inactive” list yet. WTF, that makes no sense.

If I manually “x” an app off the list, GW does prompt me to allow/deny next time I try to run that app – but only the ones I’ve manually removed. I removed maybe half the apps from my testing profile (one by one, ugh) before I got bored of it and switched back to my normal profile. I’ve been using that profile for months now and I never get any “new network activity” alerts anymore. The settings are solid and work well for me. But after the changes mentioned above, I started getting “new activity” alerts – presumably for the apps I had just removed from the list. I also got a handful of allow/deny prompts, too. They are still popping up as I type this. So the changes I made in the test profile impacted the settings in my normal profile.

I expected changing profiles would let me experiment and test different settings, or adjust settings for different situations – without effecting each other. But they don’t; changes in one seem to impact the others in just about every way. This is almost worse than not having profiles at all, since what they change and what they save is so opaque (and unhelpful).

This is confusing and really limits GWs usefulness to me both as a troubleshooting tool and firewall manager. Because my use case is not typical, I’m not surprised when something I want to do is difficult or impossible with the software…but this seems like something totally normal that just about every user would want. I’ve lost manual allow/block choices in my one profile due to changes I made under a different profile – how on earth is that a desired behavior for anyone?

In the past I have unfortunately overlooked some important things in GW due to being a new user. I hope I’ve just overlooked something here.