Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
For a side-by-side view of current personal firewall software products, visit http://personal-firewall-software-review.toptenreviews.com/
Tiny Firewall by Tiny Software Inc. is one of the most challenging firewall programs to customize. If you run Tiny Firewall with the default settings only, however, you'll receive the protection you need to block most intruders and hackers. But if you want to take advantage of Tiny Firewall's power, you'll need to invest time and patience to learn how.
Once you figure out how to use Tiny Firewall, there are several customization choices available to you. For example, under each setting (Applications, Network, IDS & IPS, Windows and Activity Options of the Administration Center) you can create and edit rules.
Tiny Firewall is one of the few firewall programs that will allow the user to assign read, write, create, and delete privileges to registry files. This will allow an advanced user the ability to set security levels on important registry files so a Trojan can't invade and override these. You also have the ability to set network security rules for your network, but again if you are not an expert it will take time to learn how to use this properly.
With intruder detection and prevention, you can create your own set of rules to oversee potential intrusions, but again, advanced features are a challenge to use. The documentation does a poor job at explaining how to use this and other features.
With the activity monitoring screen, you'll see a running programs option where you can instantly add any program to a trusted list or to a blocked list. You can also select to have the program tracked, or watched.
Though powerful, Tiny Firewall is too confusing for the beginner. One reason—the unique programs to monitor and control the firewall must run independently. You can't just switch from one screen to another within the program; you must switch from application to application to use all the features.
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We also found a small glitch in the Administration Center. After leaving this program we were unable to go back into the Administration Center until after we rebooted the computer.
Good luck if you try to install and customize Tiny Firewall without reading any documentation. We found it confusing to add or alter any of the firewall settings without spending time reading to decipher the complex system. After you earn your "PhD." in Tiny Firewall, though, the customization features are powerful.
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