For Seniors: Enable the Windows Firewall
A firewall keeps outsiders from accessing your laptop via the Internet or other network. Windows allows you to easily set up a firewall to protect your laptop from intruders. A firewall essentially verifies that any user or program attempting to access your laptop through a network or the Internet is allowed to do that, and if not, the firewall prevents that user/program from doing anything on your laptop.
In addition, Windows Firewall will prevent a program on your laptop from accessing the Internet until you tell Windows Firewall that the program has your specific approval to do so. Certain recognizable programs (such as web browsers) are preapproved for Internet access by Windows Firewall, so you don't need to worry about giving them permission.
Choose Start→Control Panel→System and Security→Windows Firewall.
The Windows Firewall window appears.
Check that the Windows Firewall is marked as On. If it isn’t, click the Turn Windows Firewall On or Off link in the left pane of the window.
The Customize Settings window appears.
Select the Turn on Windows Firewall radio button for Home or Work (private) Network Location Settings and/or Public Network Location Settings and then click OK.
The Windows firewall is turned on.
It’s always a good idea to have the firewall turned on when you go online using a public hot spot connection, such as at an Internet café. If you have a home network, you may already have a firewall active in the router (one piece of equipment used to set up the network), so the Windows firewall setting could be optional there.
Click the Close button to close Windows Security Center.
The Windows Security Center window closes. Close the Control Panel as well.
A firewall is a program that protects your laptop from the outside world. This is generally a good thing. If you have set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that you connect your laptop to when at home, be aware that using a firewall with a VPN results in you being unable to share files and use some other VPN features.
Antivirus and security software programs may offer their own firewall protection and may display a message asking whether you want to switch. Check their features against Windows and then decide, but usually most firewall features are comparable. The important thing is to have a firewall activated.