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Windows Vista Firewall Part 2: Advanced features

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Windows Firewall with Advanced Security on Local Computer

There are several panes in the window and at the top in the left-hand pane is Windows Firewall with Advanced Security on Local Computer (this is a long title and you might only see part of it). Select it and in the middle pane is a brief summary of the current firewall settings. In the right-hand pane are some of the actions you can perform.

Vista firewall actions

With the top item in the left pane selected, the middle pane shows an overview of the firewall settings. You will see three profiles called Domain, Private and Public. One of them will be active and which one depends on what sort of network you are connected to. A network in a large office is typically organised into one or more domains (a sort of group that computers can belong to) and this allows a certain degree of central control over the workstations (the computer on each person's desk) and their security.

Windows Vista firewall profile

In an office, therefore, you are likely to see that the Domain Profile is active (many companies don't allow employees to tinker with the firewall settings for security reasons, but if you could see the firewall, you would see that the Domain Profile is probably active). The Public Profile is active when you are using a network or the internet in a public place. This may be when you are using the Wi-Fi facilities in a coffee shop or hotel. The security settings are usually more strict in these situations. If you are using your computer at home and have an internet connection or a home network you will see that the Private Profile is active.

Three settings are displayed below each profile and it is important that you read and understand what they mean. Unless you have changed something, you will find the following settings:

  • Windows Firewall is on.
  • Inbound connections that do not match a rule are blocked.
  • Outbound connections that do not match a rule are allowed.

The meaning of the first is obvious and it will tell you whether the firewall is on or off. It's default state is on. It is important to realise that this does not mean that the firewall is protecting the computer and it simply means that the firewall program is running. The second and third settings mention something called a rule and it is rules that specify whether your PC is protected and how.

Part 2, go to previous page

Part 2, go to next page


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