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Using Windows 7 Firewall

This document applies to HP and Compaq computers using Windows 7.
Learn about Windows 7 Internet Connection Firewall.
 note:
Many HP and Compaq computers also come with Norton Internet Security software. This article applies only to the firewall that is part of the Windows operating system. For more information about Norton Personal Firewall, see Using Norton Internet Security 2010 (Windows 7).
What is a firewall?
A firewall is a software program or hardware device that controls the flow of network content to and from the computer. A firewall is typically used to reduce or prevent unwanted malicious Internet traffic to an IP address (the address of the computer on the network) by blocking the ports that network traffic uses.
Activating or deactivating Windows Firewall
Use the following steps to turn Windows Firewall on or off:
  1. To turn on Windows firewall, click Start, click Control Panel, click System and Security, and then click Windows Firewall.
    Figure : Opening Windows Firewall
    Opening Windows Firewall
  2. The Windows Firewall page displays the current firewall settings. To turn on the firewall, click Turn Windows Firewall on or off.
    Figure : Windows Firewall settings
    Windows Firewall settings
  3. Click Continue in the User Account Control window.
  4. Select Turn on Windows Firewall to turn on the Windows Firewall to modify the firewall settings for each type of notwork location that you use. Then click OK.
    Figure : Turning on the firewall
    Turn on the firewall
Allowing programs through the firewall
If server software is in use while the firewall is also being used, Internet traffic must be able to access these servers through the firewall. Perform the following steps to open the firewall for server software:
  1. To allow services through the firewall, click Start, click Control Panel, click Security, and then click Allow a program through Windows Firewall.
    Figure : Allowing programs through the firewall
    Opening Windows Firewall
  2. Click Continue in the User Account Control window.
    The Windows Firewall Allowed Programs display.
  3. Click Change Settings. Then click Allow another program.
  4. Select the program you want to add, or click Browse to find one that is not listed.
    Figure : Adding a program to the exception list
    Adding a program to the exception list
  5. Click Add when done.
Controlling flow of Internet Control Messaging Protocol (ICMP)
Certain messages can be received by a computer from another computer on the Internet. By default, the Windows firewall software prevents a response from being sent to these messages. However, you can enable ICMP messaging to permit the computer to answer ICMP requests.
For example, to allow the computer to receive Ping requests for troubleshooting, set up a new rule to allow ICMP Echo requests. Since this can leave your computer vulnerable to the types of attacks that use ICMP Echo messages, when you are done troubleshooting, you should disable the rule.
Perform the following steps to allow the HP or Compaq computer to respond to Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) messages:
  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Click System and Maintenance, and then scroll down and click Administrative Tools.
    Figure : Opening Administrative Tools
    Opening Administrative Tools
  3. Double-click Windows Firewall with Advanced Security, and then click Continue on the User Account Control message.
    Windows Firewall with Advanced Security opens.
    Figure : Opening Windows Firewall with Advanced Security
    Opening Windows Firewall with Advanced Security
  4. In the left pane, click Inbound Rules. In the Actions pane on the right, click New Rule.
    Figure : Creating a new rule
    Opening the New Rule wizard
  5. On the Rule Type page, click Custom, and then click Next.
    Figure : Creating a custom rule
    Creating a custom rule
  6. On the Program page, click All programs, and then click Next.
    Figure : Applying the rule to all programs
    Applying the rule to all programs
  7. On the Protocol and Ports page, in the Protocol type box, select ICMPv4.
    Then click the Customize button.
    Figure : Choosing the protocol
    Choosing the protocol
  8. On the Customize ICMP Settings page, click Specific ICMP types. Then select the specific ICMP type to allow, such as the Echo Request. Click OK and then click Next.
    Figure : Selecting the Echo Request
    Selecting the Echo Request
    See the following table for more information about the listed items.
    ICMP message
    Function of message
    Packet too big
    This is a message that indicates the IP packet is too big and must be fragmented before it can be sent to the next link in the transmission.
    Destination unreachable
    The response when this computer cannot resolve a connection for a packet of information.
    Source quench
    When unable to keep up with the speed of data being transferred, this message is sent back to the sender until the proper speed is attained.
    Redirect
    This is a message that is sent back by another network device (usually a router) that tells the computer a better, more efficient path to the requested IP address exists. Allowing this ICMP should allow for better network transmission rates.
    Echo request
    This is the ping command. This is used to retrieve the validity of an IP address and determine how long it takes to send and receive data. Network gaming servers often use this command in one form or another.
    Router advertisement
    Request for routes used by this computer to aid in routing to neighboring network devices on the same subnet.
    Router Solicitation
    Router discovery/selection/solicitation to aid neighboring network devices on the same subnet.
    Time exceeded
    This is the return message telling the sending computer that it is taking too long to reassemble a packet.
    Parameter problem
    This is a bad header response message.
    Timestamp request
    This request is for synchronizing computers over the network.
    Address mask request
    Request for the subnet mask information that is being used on the local network when a computer is being turned on.
  9. On the Scope page, click the Any IP address setting for both local and remote IP addresses. Then click Next.
    Figure : Specifying the IP addresses for the rule
    Specifying the IP addresses for the rule
  10. On the Action Page, click Allow the connection, and then click Next.
    Figure : Allowing the connection
    Allowing the connection
  11. On the Profile page, select the profiles for which the rule applies such as Domain, Private, and Public. Then click Next.
    Figure : Selecting the profiles
    Selecting the profiles
  12. On the Name page, type a name (required) and description (optional) for the rule. Then click Finish to return to the inbound rules.
    Figure : Naming the rule
    Naming the rule
  13. In the Inbound Rules, verify that the rule is enabled.
    Figure : Verifying the rule
    Verifying the rule
Windows Firewall troubleshooting
This section addresses the following symptoms:
  • Windows firewall cannot be turned on or off in Security Center.
  • Firewall status is not updated in Security Center
  • Firewall turns off every time the computer restarts.
To resolve most issues with Windows firewall, reset the firewall using the following steps:
  1. Click Start, and type command prompt in the Search box.
  2. In the search results, right-click Command Prompt, and click Run as administrator.
  3. Click Continue on the User Account Control message.
  4. In the command prompt window, type netsh advfirewall reset, and press Enter.
    This resets the firewall configuration.

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