Something about Windows Firewall
Windows Firewall is a built-in tool that restricts or permits incoming and outgoing traffic as per the rules specified by the administrators. Windows Firewall can be considered like a gatekeeper of a secured building that has a list of people who are permitted or restricted to enter the premises.
When Windows 7 operating system is installed, by default Windows Firewall is enabled which, as its default nature, restricts all incoming traffic from the Internet or the local area network, and allows all outgoing traffic from the local computer to the outside world. When administrators install applications, Windows Firewall automatically creates new firewall rules that allow the applications to communicate with a local area network or the Internet.
Types of Firewalls
There are as two types of firewalls available in the market that home users or administrators in any IT oriented organization can purchase according to their requirements. The two categories are:
- Software Firewalls: These firewalls are small applications that can either be downloaded from the Internet or their installation media can be purchased from any local computer shop. Since these applications require no additional hardware they are quite cost effective but they consume additional memory and processor. Software firewalls can further be divided into Windows Firewall and third-party firewalls. An example of Windows Firewall can be the built-in firewall in Microsoft Windows 7, whereas ZoneAlarm is a good example of a third-party firewall application. Moreover, nowadays almost all antivirus programs ship along with a built-in firewall feature.
- Hardware Firewalls: These firewalls are dedicated hardware devices that can be purchased from their respective vendors. ASA and PIX Firewalls are good examples of hardware firewalls from Cisco. Since hardware firewalls are specifically developed and designed for the purpose, they are considered far more effective and efficient as compared to software firewalls, however they are not as cost-effective as the software firewalls are.
Enabling or Disabling Windows Firewall
Although it is not at all recommended that Windows Firewall should be disabled, however if administrators have installed any third-party firewall program, they can disable Windows built-in firewall, as the third-party application can be considered more effective as compared to Windows Firewall. In order to disable Windows Firewall, administrators must follow the steps given as below:
- Log on to Windows 7 computer with admin account.
- Click Start, and from the menu, click Control Panel.
- On the opened window, click System and Security and on the next window, click Windows Firewall.
- On the opened window, from the left bar, click Turn Windows Firewall on or off.
- On Customize settings for each type of network window, under Home or work (private) network location settings click to select Turn off Windows Firewall (not recommended) radio button to disable the firewall.
- Under Public network location settings, click to select Turn off Windows Firewall (not recommended) radio button to disable the firewall for public networks as well.
- Once done, click OK button to save the changes, and if required restart the computer to allow the changes to take effect.
Note: It is strictly NOT recommended to disable Windows Firewall in any situation, and if users do so, they themselves will be responsible for the consequences that may occur.