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Windows Firewall (XP Pro) vs other FREE Firewall products?


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#1 spc3rd

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 09:48 AM

Greetings everyone!

I recently replaced my McAfee Av software (provided by my ISP free), with the Avast 6 (free version). (My rationale for using Avast 6, is because McAfee is a system resource hog, and the Avast seems to run well concurrently with the MBAM Pro I have [real-time scanning enabled]). Since Avast has no firewall, my Windows Firewall is, of course, active again.

My question: Is the Windows Firewall adequate, or should I be looking to acquire some other FREE Firewall product?

(I've read some comments on other sites which claim Windows Firewall is considered mediocre).

Any information/recommendations would be much appreciated!

Edited by spc3rd, 30 June 2011 - 09:49 AM.

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 10:12 AM

Most concerns you have heard about were with the Windows Firewall in the XP operating system. Microsoft significantly improved the firewall to address these concerns in Vista and then added more improvements in Windows 7.

Windows XP firewall protects against port scanning but has limitations and it is no replacement for a robust 3rd-party two-way personal 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.
  • The XP Firewall is intended for novice users as it is easy to configure and does not require technical user interaction like many third-party firewalls.

If you have questions about using a firewall, you may want to read:
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#3 spc3rd

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 10:46 AM

Hi quietman7!

I really appreciate the detailed information you provided! From what I've read thus far, it would appear that perhaps I should remain with the Windows Firewall. (I run XP Pro, SP3 on my Dell 3000 computer). If security issues begin rearing their ugly head, then it will definitely be time to look at an alternative firewall.

Thanks very much again for the help!

Edited by spc3rd, 30 June 2011 - 10:46 AM.

spc3rd

Dell Optiplex 755 Desktop | Win 7 Pro, SP 1, 64-bit | Intel Core 2 Duo, 3.00 gHz CPU | 8 GB RAM | 400 GB Seagate SATA HDD | Outpost Security Suite Pro | MBAM Premium 2.0 | Spywareblaster | SAS (on-demand) | Blocklist Pro | IE 11 & FF w/ NoScript | Disconnect | Adblock Plus | Flagfox


#4 quietman7

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 10:52 AM

You're welcome.
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