Seymour Heiney

Can W10 Firewall Co-Exist w/Emsisoft IS 11?

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Friends,

 

My daughter's laptop is running the latest version of W10 (1511) and Emsisoft IS 11. She started to use the built-in Mail application for email, as it is fast, "pretty", and easy for her to use. I've tried to get her to still use Outlook, but she wants to use the build-in instead. Okay, fine, its her experience, not mine. Anyway, one thing she discovered was that she could not open any hyperlinks via email when viewing in Mail (they open fine in Outlook). Firefox is her default browser.

 

Well, as part of trying to figure out why links weren't opening, I had disabled Emsisoft to eliminate a firewall factor, but I did not enable Windows Firewall (which I turned off when IS 11 was installed). It did not occur to me that having no firewall whatsoever would cause this problem; I figured if anything the problem would be caused by a firewall setting, not lack of one. So as I was perusing through various forum threads in the wasteland that is the Internet, I came across an old forum post on some Windows 8 site where someone had the same symptoms as I, only it was, I believe, in Windows Live Mail ( which I'm not sure how that equates to the Mail app in W10). But anyway, the OP enabled the built-in firewall and this allowed clicking the links to invoke their default browser. Once I enabled the W10 Firewall, restarted the laptop, and now the links in email when viewing through Mail all open just fine via Firefox.

So while the cause of the non-browser invoking link clicks is solved, it still does not tell my why, although I'm not sure I'll ever know. It may be that since Mail is built-in, Windows forces the end-user to have the built-in firewall on in order to access the Internet. I thought at first maybe it was only enforced for "built-in" applications, since Outlook worked fine having Windows Firewall off. But then why wouldn't they enforce that through Edge as well, an application which I would imagine is used far more often to access the Internet than Mail is. Just makes no sense.

The dilemma now is, I have to determine whether Emsisoft IS and the W10 Firewall can coexist while both are active. I know the typical advice is to not run both the built-in firewall and a 3rd party firewall at the same time, but it may be her only solution. Would someone on this forum know the answer perhaps? It's not the end of the world if they can't co-exist, of course. She will simply have to use Outlook to access any email links, but today's world is all about convenience and ease, and it would be nice for her to have this convenience.

Thanks for reading,

 

Seymour.

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Hi Seymour smile.png

You cannot enable the Windows Firewall when another firewall is installed on Windows, it disables it by default to avoid conflict. Also, running two firewalls would be like running two Antivirus at the same time: not recommended and could cause instability on the system. You said that she's using the built-in "Mail" app on Windows 10, right? Did you try to add that app to the exclusion list of EIS to see if it allowed her to click the links within the emails she receives? If you don't know how to do that, let me know and I'll post the instructions (or GT500/Arthur will) smile.png

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Aura replied "You cannot enable the Windows Firewall when another firewall is installed on Windows, it disables it by default to avoid conflict."

 

Aura, I appreciate the reply, and I'd like to learn more about how to add the W10 Mail app to the EIS firewall. Did you mean to say "You should not enable the Windows Firewall"? or did you really mean "You cannot enable"? Because I have to say that it is possible to enable the Windows Firewall while another 3rd party firewall is installed (not just installed, but active). I've seen this on more than just my machine alone. Please see attached screenshot that shows W10 FW running at the same time EIS states the PC is fully protected. So either both are active and running, or one of them is reporting the incorrect status. Looking in services/processes, I see both of them active and consuming RAM, although nothing abnormal. As I've said, I've seen this on other PCs as well, so it is not an anomaly, although I guess it could be an OS bug.

 

I tried to create an application rule in EIS to allow the Mail app, but I could not find the application executable. I looked under the hidden windows folders in Program Files with no luck. If you know how to navigate to the executable, I will add it.

 

Thanks you.

Seymour.

 

 

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The "Mail" app under Windows 10 is located here:

C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps_17.6416.42001.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe\HxMail.exe
So you would have to add this executable and process to the exclusion list. And when I was enabling the Windows Firewall with EIS enabled, EIS would turn it back off right away.

cU3o7pt.png

Enabling two firewalls is like enabling two Antivirus: they'll conflict with each other. What if one Firewall allows a program to go through, but the other doesn't? It won't work, and you'll be stuck trying to figure it which one is blocking the other. In that case, I would disable the Windows Firewall and rely on EIS' Firewall.

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Okay, I've added that executable to EIS application rules and did the following, while Windows Firewall still running:

 

  1. Opened Mail, invoked a link in an email, Firefox opened and navigated to the website just fine.
  2. Closed Mail.
  3. Turned off Windows Firewall, stopped the WF service, set it to manual.
  4. Opened Mail and invoked same link in email, Mail refuses to open it. 

Therefore, this would seem to indicate that Windows Mail must have WF running to allow access to the internet via an email link. I've tried this on another laptop and confirmed it.

 

So it would appear that my daughter will just have to continue to use Outlook as her desktop client if she wants to be able to traverse links in her email.

 

Thanks for helping.

 

Seymour.

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If you change your default web browser to Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge, does the link open in it? I just tried opening a link within the Mail app with Google Chrome as my default web browser, with EIS' Firewall on and Windows Firewall disabled and I was able to open it. Also, I don't have the Mail executable nor process in my exclusion list.

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Yes, I had previously tried pointing all the default applications to MS browsers, Mail, etc. No love. Let me ask you this: are you sure Windows Firewall is disabled? The reason I ask is that many people go into the Windows Firewall GUI and "turn off" the firewall and everything turns red, but if you go into services, you can still see the firewall service running. I'm sure you checked to make sure the service has been stopped, but just asking because this has misled me and others before.

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These newer versions of Windows keep making more and more things dependent on the Windows Firewall. The app store in Windows 8.1 for instance didn't allow you to install apps while the Windows Firewall was not turned on.

On Windows 7 it used to be possible to turn the Windows Firewall on when Emsisoft Internet Security was installed, however I have not tested this with Windows 10 or with newer version of Emsisoft Internet Security. There shouldn't be any danger in trying this if you want to see if it still works OK.

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Thank you GT500 and Aura. Your help is invaluable. I may experiment a little with having both firewalls active at some point, but for now my daughter's email experience will need to be with Outlook. I can understand that Microsoft wants to help protect the average end-user by ensuring a firewall of some type is running when accessing some of its built-ins (editorial: then why not Edge as well? A great mystery). But for now I suppose we can only hope whatever Microsoft process governs this "rule" becomes intelligent enough to recognize that a 3rd party firewall is active, and thus "passes" this rule.

 

A wonderful weekend to all!

Seymour.

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Hi Seymour smile.png

You cannot enable the Windows Firewall when another firewall is installed on Windows, it disables it by default to avoid conflict. Also, running two firewalls would be like running two Antivirus at the same time: not recommended and could cause instability on the system. You said that she's using the built-in "Mail" app on Windows 10, right? Did you try to add that app to the exclusion list of EIS to see if it allowed her to click the links within the emails she receives? If you don't know how to do that, let me know and I'll post the instructions (or GT500/Arthur will) smile.png

 

 

Personally, I wouldn't exclude any mail client from any AV tool. Speaking from experience, a huge amount of malware arrives via this attack vector, be it links or attachments, and I wouldn't want to exclude it at all. That being said, I'm not 100% sure on how the scanner in EIS works so it may actually be fine. I just wouldn't chance it.

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If we are talking about malware coming from attachment in emails, as soon as you open them or try to execute them, Emsisoft's BB (Behavior Blocker) should jump in and block the execution of the file if it's malicious, so I wouldn't worry about it smile.png

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If we are talking about malware coming from attachment in emails, as soon as you open them or try to execute them, Emsisoft's BB (Behavior Blocker) should jump in and block the execution of the file if it's malicious, so I wouldn't worry about it smile.png

This is correct. Exclusions won't prevent our File Guard and Behavior Blocking from checking any program that runs on your computer, even if it was saved or launched by another program that is on the exclusions list. The only complication could be if it executed from a folder that was excluded, however since most e-mails clients save attachments to a temp folder before sending them to be opened, this shouldn't be an issue unless the entire temp folder was mistakenly excluded.

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