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How to Allow Local Traffic through a Windows XP Firewall

Perhaps the number-one reason why computers don’t communicate with each other on a peer-to-peer Windows network is a software firewall. The firewall can prevent your PC from accessing other computers, as well as prevent those computers from accessing your PC. Either way, it’s frustrating.

To fix the problem, you need to ensure that all local network traffic is allowed through the firewall. Because specific programs aren’t accessing the firewall, you probably need to make the change manually. Here’s how to check or change the local network traffic setting in the Windows XP Firewall:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

  2. In Windows XP, open the Windows Firewall icon.

  3. If necessary, click the Exceptions tab in the Windows Firewall dialog box.

  4. Ensure that a check mark appears by the item File and Printer Sharing.

    By enabling this exception, you ensure that all local traffic flows through the network without being blocked.

  5. Click OK and close any other open windows.

These steps are specific to the Windows Firewall. If you’re using another software firewall, take similar steps to ensure that local network traffic — specifically, file and printer sharing — isn’t being blocked.

You don’t need a software firewall when the network’s router sports a good hardware firewall.

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