Choosing a firewall is a matter of personal preference, your technical ability/experience, features offered, the amount of resources utilized, how it may affect system performance and what will work best for your system. A particular firewall that works well for one person may not work as well for another. There is no universal "one size fits all" solution
that works for everyone. You may need to experiment and find the one most suitable for your use.Windows XP firewall
protects against port scanning but has limitations and it is no replacement for a robust 3rd-party two-way personal firewall.
Windows Vista Firewall
- The XP firewall is not a full featured firewall. Normal firewalls allow you to specifically control each TCP and UDP port but XPís firewall does not provide you with this capability. Instead, it takes a point and click approach to enabling or disabling a few common ports.
- The XP firewall does a good job of monitoring, examining and blocking inbound traffic but makes no attempt to filter or block outbound traffic like most 3rd-party personal firewalls.
- Thus, the XP firewall does not identify which programs attempt to initiate outbound network or Internet communications nor does it block the traffic when suspicious activity occurs.
- This feature can be helpful in preventing many types of malware attacks that may attempt to open ports or communicate with outside servers without the user's knowledge or consent. It also means that if your system has been compromised, a hacker could use your machine as part of a distributed denial of service attack.
- By default, Windows Firewall rejects all incoming traffic unless that traffic is in response to a previous outgoing request. If you're running Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows Firewall is turned on by default. If your Firewall is not turned on by default, then your using an unpatched OS and need to update your system to SP2.
offers two-way filtering for better security but its the bare minimum and still limited. By default, most outbound filtering is turned off (outbound connections are allowed
) and inbound filtering is turned on (inbound connections are blocked
). Configuration is confusing and there is no practical way to to configure outbound filtering to stop all unwanted outbound connections. You can only turn inbound filtering on or off, and through the various tabs, configure how inbound filtering works. If you are going to use Vista's firewall, see Using Windows Vista firewall
. If not, see How to turn off the firewall in Vista
.Windows 7 Firewall
is similar to Vista but adds a few new features in the firewall and related network-safety areas such as separate configuration settings for private (Home or Work) and public networks.
What's new in the Windows 7 Firewall?
As with Vista, the basic settings for the Windows 7 firewall are accessed via the Control Panel applet. Unlike Vista, you can also access the advanced settings (including configuration of filtering for outbound connections) through the Control Panel instead of having to create an empty MMC and add a snap-in...
The Vista firewall allows you to choose whether you are on a public or private network. With Windows 7, you have three choices - public network, home network or work network. The two latter options are treated as private networks...With all network types, by default the Windows 7 firewall blocks connections to programs that are not on the list of allowed programs. Windows 7 allows you to configure the settings for each network type separately,...
Since have questions about using a firewall, you may want to read: