Windows XP Firewall

Learn how to protect your PC with the firewall built into windows XP.

Since Windows XP is more vunerable to direct attack than previous versions of windows home operating systems (windows 98 etc) Microsoft have included a very basic firewall. However by default this firewall is not turned on, and so users are not gaining any benefit.

Microsoft is in a tricky situation here, as with many vendors, the default settings are designed to minimise the chance of any problems occuring, usually at the cost of security. Had Microsoft enabled the firewall by default, no doubt some applications that access the internet may have problems, and Microsoft would get the blame.

Also Microsoft has had to keep the functionality of the firewall to a bare minimum so as to not be accused of abusing their monopoly position by other firewall vendors. Itís a hard life being a mega-corporation.

Activating the firewall

Click on the Start Button, and then the menus All Programs, then Accessories then Communications and click on the Network Connections entry. You shoud now see a list of your dialup or broadband connections. Click with the right mouse button on the entry you use to access the internet and select properties

You should now be looking at a popup window displaying the connections properties. Click on the advanced tab and tick the protect my computer.. tick box. Now, you are much safer when online, as malicious programs can no longer connect directly to your box and infect your computer.

Alternatives

Now that you have some basic protection while you surf the internet, it may be a good idea to look at some more advanced firewalls such as from Norton or ZoneLabs. These alternatives offer a greater degree of protection by preventing unauthorised applications accessing the internet from your computer as well as protecting your computer from internet attacks.
Related Links
Sygate Personal Firewall
Kerio Personal Firewall
Zone Alarm Firewall
Firewall Guide
Choosing a Firewall

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