How do I open ports in the Window 7 Firewall?

Generally speaking, the Windows Firewall does a descent job filtering unwanted packets.  It erects a solid barrier between your trusted computer and the nafarious interwebs and usually keeps your PC safe from threats.

But despite all the good that the Windows Firewall does sometimes it inadvertently blocks stuff you actually need.

Now, rather then indiscriminately disabling the entire Windows Firewall sometimes it’s more prudent to choose the specific ports you want to grant access through your wall.

Here’s how to open specific ports in the Windows 7 Firewall:

Click the Windows icon in the bottom left corner of the screen and type:

allow a program

When the Allowed Programs box opens, click the Change Settings button in the upper right corner to modify the allowed programs list.  You’ll have to enter your Administrator credentials to pull this off.

Windows Firewall Allowed Programs

You’ll notice the last two columns say:

  • Home/Work (Private)
  • Public

The first one is only pertinent for local activity; so for example, if you’re hosting a LAN party at your house then you can choose Home/Work (Private) since the network is confined to your home; for everything else pick Public.

Please note that some antivirus programs such as AVG Internet Security and ESET manage your Firewall settings for you.  They essentially usurp the Windows Firewall and replace it with an ostensibly most robust version with more options. If this applies to you then you’ll need to poke through the settings of your Antivirus program to get that going.

In closing, despite how easy it is to open ports on your computer, I don’t espouse this kind of the thing on a regular basis.  Every port you open exposes your system to the risk of being attack; therefore, only keep ports open for as long as you need them and know exactly what the port will be used for.

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