I do love GW - I really do! It’s a brilliant program for which, at least from my perspective, there is not yet any worthwhile alternative.
Please, we now have the long-awaited GW 2, and, oh my, its ‘firewall’ is indeed improved - but it is STILL only a TOY one! Please excuse my very real exasperation and scathing view of the travesty that the GW ‘firewall’ still is.
Seriously, I was assuming that at least when GW 2 came out I could dispense with Windows Firewall Control (WFC) and have a proper front-end for Windows Firewall right there in GW. And what do I find? – It’s only been tinkered with round an edge or two, and nearly all of the requests for a proper firewall UI in this forum have fallen on deaf ears!
It is clear that whoever chooses which features are to be included in GW has no intention at all for GW to have a genuinely useful or competitive firewall UI. So, having reverted to WFC after some 15 minutes of incredulity at the lack of useful change in the GW ‘firewall’ department, I now assume that I shall have to continue using WFC (with the GW ‘firewall’ switched off) indefinitely.
Here are the primary necessary features that I can think of now, which are still needed in GW’s firewall UI (there will be other important things that I haven’t remembered here), which are all fully implemented in WFC.
Full list of the Windows Firewall rules, both inbound and outbound!! – At the moment GW does NOT display any of them at all! Instead it displays only a separate list of outbound rules that it itself has created. GW2’s one ‘improvement’ that I could see is that now its listing is ‘synced’ with the genuine WF list. Please, what we need is direct display of the WF rules themselves - and ALL of them, with all parameters displayed or at least displayable!
Search and quick filter facilities!
The standard quick sort of the list, based on any column, executed by a click on the relevant column heading (both for ascending and descending order), which you get in almost all programs’ listings, but not yet in GW!
ALL parameters of each rule displayable (which they are not at all at the moment in GW), but with a right-click menu function on column header bar to choose which columns are displayed. That’s quite a lot of columns (a choice of 18 - yes, eighteen! - in WFC), but if the user can choose which to show, then everyone can be satisfied.
Order of columns to be rearrangeable by dragging.
Full rule editor popup on double-click upon any rule.
Facility to manually create custom rules, including temporary ones, using the full rule editor mentioned in item 6.
Full WF connection logs display function, with quick filtering both for inbound/outbound and for keywords.
‘New connection’ alerts need more choices than just Allow / Block, such as ‘Block once’, ‘Block temporarily’, and 'Block / Allow only through ports nnnn-nnnn, and so on - though of course the extra choices could be hidden through a user option in Settings, to keep things at the simplest for people who want it that way.
Those alerts also need the option of a user-specifiable sound. I have an excellent distinctive but not too intrusive sound that I have WFC use for its alerts.
I haven’t time to give anything like a complete rundown, for WFC has masses of additional facilities and options available, but I think that the above list should give some idea of why I most definitely will not be using the GW ‘firewall’ in the foreseeable future and sticking with WFC as my firewall UI, while greatly valuing GW for all its other functions.
So, for the foreseeable future I have written-off the GW ‘Firewall’ as a travesty, a toy, and will not spend further time in concerning myself with the odd small ‘improvements’ that may be made to it. Basically it needs complete redesign to be a serious proposition as a firewall UI.
Sorry to have cause to sound a bit bruising on this occasion, but somebody at GW needs a hefty kick up the butt to get them thinking more clearly about the real needs for a firewall UI.