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How to troubleshoot Windows Firewall configuration problems

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If you're struggling to get the balance right between the enhanced security gained by enabling the firewall whilst maintaining the productivity of your systems then I recommend reading Michael Howard's recent post - click here to read the details. Michael shows how the "netsh" command can be used to reveal exactly what's going on with the firewall as a result of both your local configuration and that of any group policy settings you may have.

The "netsh" utility was significantly enhanced at Service Pack 2 to include all manner of new options. The utility is pretty friendly as you can see from the following transcript taken from a command session on my machine(initated by selecting "Run" from the start menu followed by "cmd" in the dialog box).

C:\>netsh firewall show ?

The following commands are available:

Commands in this context:
show allowedprogram - Shows firewall allowed program configuration.
show config    - Shows firewall configuration.
show currentprofile - Shows current firewall profile.
show icmpsetting - Shows firewall ICMP configuration.
show logging   - Shows firewall logging configuration.
show multicastbroadcastresponse - Shows firewall multicast/broadcast response co
show notifications - Shows firewall notification configuration.
show opmode    - Shows firewall operational configuration.
show portopening - Shows firewall port configuration.
show service   - Shows firewall service configuration.
show state     - Shows current firewall state.

  • I had to troubleshoot an odd firewall problem the other day, with a colleague's workstation. In the end I fixed it by doing a gpupdate, to reapply the group policy that managed the firewall. It was fine after that.

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