If you have recently installed a firewall, or have just started having Internet Connection problems, it’s possible you have more than one firewall running. This can cause problems of all sorts from intermittent connection problems to complete loss of connectivity depending on the firewall combination running on your system. Now, this doesn’t apply to hardware firewalls such as routers—you can run one of these and have a personal firewall (software firewall) running to protect the same system and create a very secure environment. What we are really focusing on here is the use of multiple personal or software firewalls.
With the SP2 update Microsoft introduced the new and improved Windows Internet Connection Firewall or ICF, and assumed that everyone wanted it turned on. When Microsoft does things like this every tech’s phone starts ringing off the hook with end-users wanting to know why their PC is acting different all of a sudden. The Windows ICF will usually work with a 3rd party firewall, but you may see some issues with your connection from time to time such as certain links not working or even your home page not coming up. If you’re not sure if you have the ICF running just follow these instructions:
You can disable the Windows firewall by going to Control Panel and selecting “Firewall” in Classic View (“Security Center” in Category view) from there simply check the option to turn off your firewall. In the Category view you’re going to select the Windows Firewall from the bottom of the Window and then turn it off.
Besides the Windows Internet connection firewall (ICF) there has been a rash of ISP’s, both local and national, that have been including firewalls with their various services. This can create a source of connectivity problems due to the fact that a lot of end-users may not be aware of the firewall installation. Unlike the Windows ICF, the combination of two software firewalls can cause bigger issues with connecting to the Internet. You can check and see if you have a firewall already installed by looking in your Network Connections, which is located in the Control Panel. There are some personal firewalls that will show up here—if you see one you can try to launch it in order to pull up the control panel, then read the help, and look over the options. If you don’t see anything in here, go through your Programs list, under the Start Menu then hover over each entry that you are unsure of—pay special attention for anything with your ISP’s name or an affiliate of your ISP’s name in the title.
If you happen to come across a firewall installation you were not aware of, it’s up to you what to do next. Some people want to be in control of their own programs on their PC, other people like free stuff. If you are going to uninstall the firewall you might want to look for the install CD and set a restore point before you start the removal. This way is something happens and you can’t get online, you can always do a system Restore and be back in business.
Here’s a couple of our earlier articles discussing the Windows ICF:
1. Windows ICF
2. Windows SP2 Security Center
Stay safe out there,