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Windows Firewall or not Windows Firewall?

Windows Firewall or not Windows Firewall?

Postby mnemonicj » Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:11 pm

Ever since I started networking between 2 computers on my home network back in 2001, there were always annoyances with not being able to see the other computer, etc., but none were as annoying as when Microsoft first released Windows XP Service Pack 2 with a built in firewall. Don't get me wrong, the firewall was desperately needed. Previous to me being network savvy, I ran my computer like many other college students, open to the Internet. For most people this wasn't an issue because they were only on their computer over dial-up, but I had access to always ON high speed Internet since 1997. Windows XP SP2 made me feel better about my mother and my in-laws having high speed Internet access without using a router with Network Address Translation.

I have always felt pretty secure connected to my router that uses NAT and has an SPI firewall. Not only that, but all of my PCs have NOD32 antivirus and I stay away from porn and "cracked" software. So when the Windows firewall started causing me annoyances, I just disabled it and have done so ever since.

Now I am running a domain controller with two client machines (hopefully it will be three soon), two network printers, a network scanner, a media center that streams video from the server, a couple work laptops, a couple sandbox machines, and 4 or 5 other guest machines depending on what family members or friends need my help. Would it be worth it to try and enable Windows firewall and work with it to get that extra security? Let me know what you think.
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Re: Windows Firewall or not Windows Firewall?

Postby Malhovic » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:16 pm

Honestly, the Windows Firewall is going to give you more of a headache than anything else unless you had it on when you configured these things in the first place. Reason being that you are going to have to add the services manually for each piece at a time, and trust me, that is painful to do.

Though I am pretty envious of your setup!

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Re: Windows Firewall or not Windows Firewall?

Postby JabbaPapa » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:17 pm

The first release version of Windows Firewall was more nuisance than feature, but since XP SP3 and Vista SP1 it's become helpful.

Malhovic makes some good points, but given that you have multiple interconnected machines, it might be worth testing it on the least critical and/or important computer currently included in your network. You will be able to see from there on if it's still too much of a PITA for you or not, then move on from there accordingly.
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Re: Windows Firewall or not Windows Firewall?

Postby mnemonicj » Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:47 pm

Thanks for the replies. I agree that it may be too much of a hassle to enable it after I have my network set up completely. I wasn't sure I ever really needed it, but the thought of extra security was a plus. Even after I get it set up, I am sure it will still be annoying, especially with things I use on my home network all of the time.
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