For those running Vista I found an excellent Firewall Control program
that allows easier specific program control of Vista's Firewall. The
Free version allows Four Control Zones for each program that
attempts to access the web : Enable All, Disable All, Incoming Only,
and Outgoing Only. These cover the areas that Vista's Firewall is
setup to manage and allows more specific control with easier access
than is built-in to the Vista Firewall. Additionally the access rights
can be set as "Apply Once" or as full time behavior. There is also a
Plus version which adds many extra features that definitely extends
the functionality of the Vista Firewall.
Besides the Free and Plus Vista Firewall Controls there are several
versions for Portable Devices such as USB Flash Drives, USB
HDD's, iPods, and flash cards. These come in both standard USB
and U3 capabilities. These particular products do not require an
installation on the connected PC to protect the drive and are the
Portable Free, Portable Plus, Portable U3 Free, and Portable U3
In my testing the Vista Firewall has proven to be extremely robust by
providing full Stealth for all ports and now Sphinx has come up with
some programs that really adds much needed user control.
Vista Firewall Control
Comparison of the Free and Plus Vista Firewall Control versions
(Also compares the Portable Versions)
I really think Sphinx has come up with some excellent programs.
(I have no direct contact or affiliation with Sphinx.)