Using Windows Firewall

First released as part of Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Firewall protects your computer by blocking communications that might actually be malicious software trying to find a way to connect to your computer. Windows Firewall does offer some protection from network attacks by malicious software known as worms. However, Windows Firewall does not protect you from viruses or spyware.

You only need to configure Windows Firewall if you are having a problem with a program connecting to the Internet. If you’re not having a problem, simply verify that Windows Firewall is enabled on your computer.

To verify that Windows Firewall is enabled

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

  2. In Control Panel, click Security Center.

    • If Windows Firewall shows On, you are protected.

    • If Windows Firewall shows OFF, it has been disabled.

If Windows Firewall is disabled but you have another firewall installed, this is probably OK. If you don’t have another firewall installed, you will need to re-enable Windows Firewall from within Security Center.

To re-enable Windows Firewall

  1. Click Recommendations.

  2. Click Enable Now.

  3. Click Close.

  4. Click OK. Now Windows Firewall will protect you from many unwanted communications.

Sometimes Windows Firewall might block a program that you use from connecting to the Internet. If you are experiencing a problem with a program that can’t connect to the Internet, but you are still able to browse the web, you can add a Windows Firewall exception for the program that’s having problems.

To add a Windows Firewall exception

  1. Click Start, click All Programs, right-click the program that you want to add an exception for, and then click Properties.

  2. On the Shortcut tab in the Properties dialog box, right-click the Target box, and then click Copy. This copies the program’s location to your clipboard.

  3. Click Cancel to close the Properties dialog box.

  4. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

  5. In Control Panel, click Security Center.

  6. In Security Center, click Windows Firewall.

  7. On the Exceptions tab, click Add Program.

  8. In the Add a Program dialog box, click Browse.

  9. In the Browse dialog box, right-click the File name box, and then click Paste.

  10. Click Open, and then click OK.

  11. Windows Firewall adds an exception for your program. Click OK again.

Now, Windows Firewall will allow your program to communicate with other computers on the Internet.