Troubleshooting the Basic Windows Firewall

Like Window Defender, Windows Firewall runs as a service on your computer. Because of this, you can use procedures similar to those discussed in the section "Troubleshooting Windows Defender" on page 610, earlier in this chapter, to troubleshoot Windows Firewall. If you begin to experience problems connecting to your network or you cannot connect to a specific computer or resource on the network, you may be experiencing problems associated with Windows Firewall. Other telltale signs of firewall problems include other computers failing to connect to your computer or the inability to ping, tracert, or access network resources even though you have an IP address.

As with Windows Defender, start your troubleshooting by making sure that Windows Firewall is on. If the firewall is on and you are blocking all incoming connections, you might want to clear this setting for your troubleshooting. Next, you should verify that the Windows Firewall service is running through the Services node in Computer Management. Verify that the service status is listed as Started, and make sure the "Startup type" is set to Automatic. If the service is not listed as Started, click the Start button to start the service. Also, verify the logon credentials using the Log On tab associated with the service's Properties dialog box. You should see "Local service" as the selected account.

If the firewall still isn't working properly, you need to verify the network location. When you click the Windows Firewall option in Control Panel, the main firewall window shows the connected networks. If you are on a private or domain network, other computers should be able to connect to you by default. If you are on a public network, most types of connections to your computer are disabled. If the wrong location type is listed, you can change the location type in the Network and Sharing Center by clicking the network type link, selecting the desired location type, and then clicking Close. Don't change the location type without first considering the possible ramifications of doing so. If you are on a public network such as a wireless hotspot in a cafe or airport, and you specify that you are on a private network, you will open your computer to attack.

If the firewall still isn't working properly, check the exceptions that are listed on the Allowed Programs page. In most configurations, a home or work (private network) should have the following exceptions enabled:

• Core Networking

• File and Printer Sharing

• Network Discovery

• Remote Assistance

You might also have exceptions for:

• Connect to a Network Projector

• Windows Live Call

• Windows Live Messenger

• Windows Live Sync

• Windows Media Player

• Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service

If you believe the appropriate exceptions are enabled and you still have problems, you can click the Restore Defaults button on the main firewall page and then click the Restore Defaults button to go back to the original postinstallation Windows Firewall settings and remove any changes you have made to these settings since installing the operating system. Keep in mind that this will also disable any custom exceptions you have created, possibly causing certain programs to function incorrectly. This is especially true for networked games, so you will need to reenable your custom settings after verifying that your network connections work correctly after resetting the default configuration. If you continue to have problems with connections, refer to the section "Troubleshooting Advanced Firewall Problems" on page 627, later in this chapter, for more information.

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