The Tinywall free software firewall has recently been revamped to its new major version, i.e. version 3.0. The following release notes from the developer and creator of TinyWall outline its new functionality. TinyWall 3.0 focuses on improving its firewall engine, and achieves this by not piggybacking on the built-in firewall in Windows anymore. This new version now talks directly to the network layers in the Windows kernel, and therefor has become a standalone firewall on its own. In other words, TinyWall does not require Windows (Defender) Firewall to be running anymore, and can be used without it or side-by-side, without any loss of functionality in either case. This change alone is what made the most important improvements in version 3 possible.
Introducing full boot-time filtering, and filtering of raw- and promiscous-mode sockets, security is once again stepped up compared to Windows Firewall. At the same time known issues such as with Windows File Sharing or spurious network disconnections are also resolved thanks to the new firewall engine. Support for and automatic handling of Windows Store apps has been added, allowing a whole new class of applications to be managed securely and easily. There is better support for applications that use multicast addressing, and the new ability to add rules valid not only for particular applications but for the whole machine. Also new is an option that allows for automatically whitelisting sub-processes of already allowed executables, which makes online installers and other multi-process applications a lot easier to deal with.
While TinyWall 3.0 focuses on the engine, the GUI has also seen many updates. The user interface still looks and feels the same as before, but many quality-of-life improvements have been made, ranging from assorted fixes, better keyboard navigation, performance improvements, and improved behaviour in general. The Connections window is more useful by not having to be pre-opened to list blocked connections, and the experience for batch operations has been unified. The installer too has seen many updates, both visual and functional.
While 3.0 is a major stepping stone for TinyWall to be able to continue evolving in the future, some things that made TinyWall popular did not change. It is still small, both as program size as well as resource usage are concerned. The user interface is simple, focused and absent of nagging connection popups, which is considered a serious security feature. Like in previous versions, no kernel drivers are installed, which makes it technically impossible for TinyWall to cause system instability. Last but not least, TinyWall is still void of any and all kinds of telemetrics, data collection, ads, fees, or paid content. Becoming less and less common in today’s security landscape, TinyWall truly doesn’t cost anything – neither money nor data.