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Note: hovering your cursor over links usually displays it's address in bottom-left corner of your web browser. Links below are to either official program websites, forums or GitHub. Hi friends, I've been using Windows Firewall Control to extend control over default Windows 10 Firewall for quite a while. Despite some mixed comments on various forums since Malwarebytes acquired it, I've had positive experience with it. You can block it's own access, no problem and it was never doing anything on its own. However, Windows 10 update 20H2 introduced a nasty bug that randomly reboots your PC even when a 3D application is running, so instead of downgrading I decided to try and upgrade to build 21H1. This in turn unfortunately broke WFC. I was unable to edit or delete any rules after 21H1 update. Therefore, instead of jumping through bunch of hoops again in order to downgrade back to 1909, I decided to explore and try to find another program that would suit my needs, which were: For program to see all existing rules set in Windows 10 Firewall, including ones that Windows Update and MS Store create. Ability to edit and delete all those rules. Ability to stop programs and applications from changing existing rules and/or creating their own rules. I was NOT looking for a defense suit, only to augment existing Windows Defender Firewall since it cannot do some of the things above. I tried bunch of programs from various "Our mega, ultra, super-duper Top X" lists and results varied from utter WTF is this, just why? to, hmm... not really what I'm looking for. Moreover, most of the programs I tried were trying to ping home more then Windows 10 itself. Finally though, I found pretty much exactly what I was looking for and then some even. On Wilders Security Forums, a character called David is running this Private Win10 open-source project on GitHub. Even the icon is funny little pun. Setup executable lets you either extract a portable version or do a full installation. In addition to it basically being an extension of Windows 10 Firewall, it also provides a GUI for various registry tweaks such as disabling Cortana or managing telemetry (logging and transmission) and it restores those tweaks if Windows overrides them. It can also monitor connections and is able to create rules on the fly for those connections. Naturally, you also have some options like disabling or undoing unauthorized rules and choosing either blacklisting or whitelisting filtering. Which is great because obviously, this whole things was about blocking everything, allowing something rather then the other way around, which is Windows default btw. All in all, this is a great little tool to add to your arsenal. Coupled with StevenBlack's static blacklisting through hosts you can have pretty good system wide, vanilla privacy and ad blocking solution with expected level of defense, all with relatively minor maintenance and ease of use. You can use Unified-Hosts-AutoUpdate BITS/PowerShell based script to easily update the hosts file and adjust it to your needs through ignore and custom text files. For web browser based solutions, see this thread Dark Browser Themes - Stop Burning Your Eyes right here on BIF. Anyway, that's all for today, if you have found any other gems, please share them and remember, your best safety is your trigger finger - don't click shit and you won't get shit.
In the past I've noticed issues with performance that coincide with high memory use by the MsMpEng.exe service, which is the background 'real-time scanning' by Windows Defender. The problem seemed to go away, but now has returned over the last week. Thus far I have followed the advice from Answers Microsoft, changing Defender's Schedule and adding MsMpEng.exe to Defender's exceptions. However, the issue has persisted. I began booting things up step-by-step to see where the issue kicks in. When completely idle (no apps launched), the anti-malware service would run, but usually at a low level and if it did spike it wouldn't be as extreme as when playing Arma and would subside shortly. With Steam launched, the disk use rises (around 60-80% typical), with the service appearing to be the primary guzzler of disk use. However, shortly after launch things return to a 'stable' state. The same cannot be said once the launcher is run. Disk use spikes to 80-100%, with MsMPEng.exe being the primary consumer at between 60MB/s and 80MB/s. It continues to fluctuate for as long as I have the launcher open, even if I do nothing with it, and will subside once it is closed after a little while. I have tried adding the arma3launcher.exe service to Defender's exceptions and have restarted since...but Defender doesn't seem to be paying any attention. Would appreciate some advice on next steps from somebody a bit more familiar with such things. Cheers, Law