Windows 8 System and Security – Firewall

If you are a long-time computer user, then you must have witnessed your system getting compromised at least once, through some virus infection that might have crept into your system through an external drive or through network.

Windows Firewall is your system’s defense against any attacks that come through the network. It regulates all the incoming and outgoing connections of your computer with the network. It can block any incoming connection in order to prevent any malicious activity coming from the network to your system.

Conversely, it can cut off any outgoing connection in order to prevent spreading an infection from your system throughout the network.

You can manage all the connections through this applet. Also, you can allow or block specific apps from using network.

How to Launch It

  •   Open the traditional Control Panel through the Start Screen or using the Run Windows command “control”.
  •   Select “Category” view for Control Panel.
  •   Select “System and Security” category. This opens a new page containing the subcategories.
  •   Select “Windows Firewall”. This will launch the applet on the same control panel page.

Main Page

Whenever you connect to a new network, Windows asks you what type of network you want to designate it as – Public or Private.

Whatever you choose, Firewall will put restrictions on the communication with the network accordingly – more restrictions for a private network, and less for a public network.

The main page of the applet shows the current statuses of the private and public network connections, as well as the regulations that it has put on those networks.

The information is divided into two sections – one for private networks and another for public networks. The main page tells you if you are currently to one or more private or public networks.

Also, it specifies what settings the firewall has for these networks.

  •   Firewall state for the network – on or off
  •   How the incoming connections are regulated
  •   The networks to which your machine is currently connected.
  •   Notifications setting – whether Firewall should inform you if it blocks a new app from accessing the network(s).

Application List

Firewall maintains the list of applications that it has blocked or allowed to access the network. You can customize the list at your own will, or if you know what you are doing.

Click on “Allow an app or feature through Windows Firewall”, located on the left pane of the main page of the applet.

Here, you can see the current state of an application on private and public networks – whether it is allowed connection or not.

You can separately allow or block connections to an app, for both types of networks. For example, Opera browser is allowed network access only on private networks.

You can remove an app from the list, thus permanently blocking its access to all the networks. Further, you can add an app if you don’t find it in the list to specify its access permissions.

Firewall Settings

This page of the applet lets you modify the working status of the Firewall. You can turn off the Firewall here.

Similarly, you can nuke all the current network connections in order to mitigate an immediate security threat.

Also, you can ask Firewall not to notify you in case it blocks a new app, if you find the messages a mere annoyance.

Note that you can change the settings separately for private and public networks.