How To Configure Windows Firewall

Learn How To Configure Windows Firewall With Our Step By Step Instructions

If you are using any type of Windows operating system, you have a tool called the Windows Firewall. This program allows and blocks access to your computer. As explained in our previous blog post, firewalls are the forefront of your internet protection, and you definitely need one.

For many users, your firewall is something you don’t touch in fear of messing something up. But in this blog post we’re going to show you some quick and easy firewall setup methods you can do yourself to protect your computer, network and files.

How To Turn Windows Firewall On

First off, were going to check and make sure your firewall is turned on. Sometimes your firewall may be turned off if you’re using antivirus programs like Norton Antivirus or MacFee AntiVirus. Some AntiVirus programs come with a firewall as part of the package, and in those cases, there is no need to be alarmed if your Windows Firewall is turned off. If however you are not running any type of antivirus with a firewall and your firewall is off, these easy to follow steps will walk you through turning it on.

Step 1: Open up the start menu. In the search bar, type “Firewall”. Click on the option called “Windows Firewall”.

Screenshot- How to configure Windows Firewall, Step 1

 

Step 2:  If you see your firewall is turned off as shown in the following picture, go to the left side bar and click “Turn Windows Firewall On or Off”.

Screenshot showing Windows Firewall turned off

Step 3: Click the radio button next to the “Turn On Windows Firewall” and then press Ok at the bottom.  We’re not done with this screen yet though.

Screenshot showing Windows Firewall turned ON

 

Understanding Windows Firewall Settings

When turning your Windows Firewall on, you have options. You may have noticed that there was a Home/Private Networks setting versus Public Network setting. Your firewall can have different settings based on the type internet connection you have. When you first connect to your computer to the internet, be it via WiFi or cable, your computer asks you if you are connecting from a public or private connection.  A public connection might be when you connect your laptop to the local coffee house’s free WiFi network.  A private connection would be when you return home and are connecting up there.   You can setup your firewall to act differently based on these different types of connections.

Public Network Settings:  You are more vulnerable when you are in a public setting so you want to lock down security.  To do this, simply click on the checkbox beside “Block all incoming connections, including those in the list of allowed apps”, as shown in the photo above, and then click ok at the bottom of the screen.  This setting stops anyone from connecting to your machine on a public network, but still allows you to view webpages and answer emails.

Fine Tuning Your Windows Firewall Notifications

In the above photo, you will also see that the checkmark beside “Notify me when Windows Firewall blocks a new app” is selected.  This setting is on by default and you will want this one turned on. When your firewall has a program on a blocked list, and that program tries to start up, your computer won’t allow it too without asking you if you want to run said program.  This is good for 2 reasons.

1) If you installed something bad, the program or virus may try to run itself, and this prompt gives you a chance to stop the virus or malware from executing.

2) To allow a program to run, you need to be an administrator or know the administrators password.  This limits the chances of malware or viruses being installed on your computer by anyone else.

Allowing An Application Through Your Windows Firewall

Sometimes when you install a new program, the program is unknown to Windows, or you have accidentally blocked it via your firewall. To allow a program through your firewall follow these steps.

Step1:  Open up the start menu. In the search bar, type “Firewall”. Click on the option called “Windows Firewall”.

Step 2: On the left side, click on “Allow a program or feature through Windows Firewall.”

Step 3: You will now see a list of all programs that are allowed through your firewall.  Note – If the program you’re looking for is not on the list, you may need to click the “Allow another program…” button to browse to the program to add it to the list.

Screenshot - allowing programs through WIndows Firewall

Here, you can choose to only allow a program to work on Private network, a Public network, or both.  Go ahead and make your selections and then click OK to save them.

screenshot - allowing windows firewall on public or private networks

 

Congratulations! You have just turned on and configured Windows Firewall!

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