Your PC’s firewall is typically software or a component – usually both –and installed to keep you safe from malicious interests when you’re active on your machine. Named after terminology more usually associated with the firefighting fraternity, firewalls have been components of PCs for over 30 years. They remain part of the baseline security of computing and perform the same function they did from the very beginning.
Fortunately, although they were never that complicated, today’s firewalls are typically very intuitive and easy to set up. Along with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and generally diligent online behavior, the Windows 10 firewall is an essential security component of a connected life. Be aware that with a new PC running Windows 10, the machine might come with the firewall either pre-set On or Off. While the default setting is predominantly On, here at Computers in the City we still come across wholly disabled PCs. Follow these simple steps to ensure its properly enabled and that you’re protected from the start.
The Windows 10 firewall shortcut
It’s always wise to remain behind your firewall when on your PC, although it’s a basic construct of a computer that’s far too easy to overlook. Much like medical or household insurance, a firewall can indeed seem superfluous until you get hit by opportunistic malware. The Windows 10 firewall is also pretty savvy software, and it has your best interests at heart. It will protect your personal files and data, and especially when browsing online, you should always have the firewall actively enabled.
Before setting up your resident Windows 10 firewall, there might be a few considerations you’ll want to check first.
- If you have other antivirus software installed on your PC, it’s a good idea to temporarily disable it while you set up the Windows 10 firewall. There can be a conflict between apps at times, and the resident firewall should supersede any other extra antivirus you might have.
- If your firewall hassles you by blocking something you’re trying to download, it’s still not essential to disable your firewall, but rather go through the following steps:
- Hit the Windows key and enter Control Panel.
- Click it as an option when it appears at the top of the pane, and you’ll access this window:
- Select System and Security and you’ll click through to this window:
- Choose the second option of Windows Defender Firewall and then select the Allow an app through Windows Firewall option that’s shown beneath it.This allows for a temporary “free pass” for your download and won’t necessitate disabling the Windows 10 firewall. It will facilitate a once-off download, by following the screen prompts shown here:
TIP: You can select Browse if the app you’re after isn’t shown in the list, as depicted above.
Standalone setup of your Windows 10 firewall
If you haven’t been prompted by conflicts in downloading, and indeed before you are, setting up the Windows 10 Firewall should take place as a standalone process. You can follow this stepsto optimize the protection you need when browsing on your PC:
- Click the Windows key and go to Control Panel as shown above.
- Choose System and Security. This will open the following window:
- You’ll be able to see here if the firewall is on and, if it’s indeed set to On, you’re all good. If it isn’t set to On, select the left-hand side option that says Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off.
- In the following window, switch your firewall on:
That’s all there is to it! Not only are you now officially Windows-savvy, you’re now ideally protected on your PC. There are also a few points worth noting before looking at Advanced settings:
- When you’re in the window shown below, don’t get mixed up by the split pane in the center of the screen showing various options of Private networks and Guest or public networks. You and your home or office internet connection constitute the Private networks. The Guest or public network, as shown beneath the title onscreen, is referring to mobile usage, for when you’re away from your usual connection and might connect to unfamiliar networks. Ensure the Public networks is selected as On:
- It’s easy to adjust settings on the Windows 10 firewall and, even where apps or plugins come without your known consent, you can configure the firewall to stop their outbound communication while you’re online.
Now that your firewall is on and active, make the process a more detailed configuration tutorial and click on Advanced settings in the left side bar:
- Clicking on Advanced settings will pop up the following window:
- Selecting Inbound Rules or, as in this example, Outbound Rules in the left sidebar displays a further detailed list showing configurations, as in the screenshot below:
- Here you can select any item and reconfigure what or who gains access to your user network. Outbound connections are typically allowed by default.
Tip: If you lose your way while wondering “what is what”and who you’re enabling or what you’re blocking, just click Restore Defaults. Even further down the line, to adjust access as you please, you can always redo this setup process by clicking Restore Defaults.
- When you might need to block an outbound connection, you’ll note Outbound Rules and, beneath it, choose the connection you’ Now select New Rule in the right-side pane to access this window:
- To demonstrate things for yourself, as shown above click on Port and then hit the Next Choose TCP as the first option and then Specific remote ports as the second, inserting 80 in the available line space, as shown below. Selecting Port 80 will block all connectivity because it’s the HTTP port every web browser uses:
- Click Next and, as a test and for the purposes of this example, choose Block the connection.
- Then you’ll select the various profiles that you want to apply this new configuration to – Domain, Private and Public.
- Give what you’ve done a name, and you’ll have successfully reconfigured your Windows 10 firewall! Now when you go to the web on your browser, the following message will be displayed:
Congratulations! You’ve just set up your very own new rule and configured your Windows 10 firewall. Setup this way, it will mean all internet access is blocked until you reset that selection. A short route to escape is to select Checking firewall and antivirus configurations as shown above, through which you’ll access the options to reverse what you did a moment ago.If it all seems too much like confusing detail for you (and you’re in the London, UK area), we’ll come and view your tech setup, inspect your PC, and ensure all available protection is on and optimized. If you’d like comprehensive and known control over your network, let us ensure your system is running as seamlessly as it should for maximum security and your peace of mind.
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