Checking your firewall settings: 15 steps (with pictures)

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Checking your firewall settings: 15 steps (with pictures)
Checking your firewall settings: 15 steps (with pictures)
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Your computer's firewall is largely responsible for blocking incoming connections that can damage your computer. You can view and change your firewall settings on any computer, but keep in mind that the firewall programs are best applied to PCs -- Mac users usually don't need to enable or use the built-in firewall program.

Steps

Method 1 of 2: Check the firewall settings on a PC

Check Your Firewall Settings Step 1

Step #1. Open the Start menu

Windows' default firewall program is located in the "System and Security" folder of the Control Panel, but you can easily access your firewall settings from the Start menu search bar.

You can also press the ⊞ Win key to do this

Check Your Firewall Settings Step 2

Step 2. Type 'firewall' in the search bar

By doing this, your computer will automatically search for applications that match what you typed.

Check Your Firewall Settings Step 3

Step 3. Click on the 'Windows Firewall' option

This should be at the top of the search box.

Check Your Firewall Settings Step 4

Step 4. Check out your firewall settings

You should see two groups: one titled "Private Networks" and a "Guest or Public Networks" with green shields to the left, indicating that your firewall is active.

Clicking on any of these groups will bring up a drop-down menu with details about your current private or public networks

Check Your Firewall Settings Step 5

Step 5. Click on the 'Advanced Settings' option

It's on the left side of the main menu -- clicking it will open a menu of advanced firewall settings, from which you can view or change the following:

  • 'Inbound Connection Rules' - Which incoming connections are automatically allowed.
  • 'Rules for outgoing connections' - Which outgoing connections are allowed automatically.
  • Connection Security Rules – Basic rules for which connections your computer allows and which it blocks.
  • 'Monitoring' or 'Control' - An overview of your firewall's basic guidelines for monitoring.
Check Your Firewall Settings Step 6

Step 6. Exit the 'Advanced Settings' menu when you are done

You have successfully checked your PC's firewall settings!

Note that you can also click to turn the Windows Firewall on or off in the same options menu where you found 'Advanced settings'. Be careful about disabling your firewall, especially if you are connected to a public network

Method 2 of 2: Check firewall settings on a Mac

Check Your Firewall Settings Step 7

Step #1. Click on the Apple icon at the top left corner of your screen

To access your firewall settings, you need to open the firewall menu from the Apple menu.

Check Your Firewall Settings Step 8

Step 2. Click on 'System Preferences'

You should see this option in the drop-down list of the Apple menu.

Check Your Firewall Settings Step 9

Step 3. Click on the 'Security & Privacy' tab

This should be at the top of the System Preferences screen in a list of System Options.

This option may also simply be called 'Security', depending on which OS version you are running

Check Your Firewall Settings Step 10

Step 4. Click on the 'Firewall' tab

You'll find this in the row of options (e.g., 'General', 'FileVault', etc.) at the top of the 'Security' menu.

Check Your Firewall Settings Step 11

Step 5. Unlock the Firewall menu

Since your firewall may be responsible for your Mac's security, you'll need to provide administrator credentials before you can view or change firewall settings. Do this as follows:

  • Click on the lock icon (bottom left of the menu).
  • Enter the name of the administrator.
  • Enter the administrator password.
  • Click on 'Unlock'.
Check Your Firewall Settings Step 12

Step 6. Click "Enable Firewall" to enable your Mac's firewall

Since a Mac doesn't have the same basic security flaws as PCs, your Mac's firewall is turned off by default.

Check Your Firewall Settings Step 13

Step 7. Click on 'Firewall Options'

This may also be titled 'Advanced'. You can adjust your firewall settings here, including the following:

  • 'Block all incoming connections' - Click this option if you want to decline all requests to share things, such as your screen or your files. Apple's basic apps will still have passage.
  • Automatically allow signed software to receive incoming connections - Adds all Apple certified programs to your "Allowed incoming connections" list at the top of your firewall's "Advanced" menu.
  • 'Enable Stealth Mode' - Prevents your computer from responding to 'peek' requests.
Check Your Firewall Settings Step 14

Step 8. Add programs to your firewall's block or allow list

By adding apps to your allow list, they will automatically be allowed to run when requesting permission to run. Do this as follows:

  • Click on the '+' below the Incoming Connections window.
  • Click the name of an app you want to allow.
  • Repeat for as many apps as you want.
  • You can also click the '-' while an app is selected to remove it from your block or accept list.
Check Your Firewall Settings Step 15

Step 9. Click 'OK' when you are done

Doing so will exit the Firewall options menu and save your changes!

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