These days there is a very dangerous place for your computer - the Internet. You can't deny that. Some time ago you could surf and do business through the Internet easily and comfortably without any protection and the chance of being infected by a virus or any other malicious software was incredibly low. Nowadays this is regrettably impossible. Flocks of viruses, adware and malware travel the Internet attacking the unprotected machines. Don't suffer from those. Protect your computer.
To feel secure in today's Internet environment, you will surely need a good antivirus and anti spyware software packages, maintain updates of the virus and malware definitions lists on a regular basis, and definitely you will need a firewall. A firewall works with the network routes of the outside connection of your computer, closing the unused ports so that no intrusion is available. A firewall router is a necessity, but for most users it is still troubling to configure it such a way that it allows every program which needs to be connected to the Internet, operate properly.
The most popular firewall today is the inbuilt one which is bundled with Microsoft Windows. The decision to include the firewall in the newest operating system was a smart decision. Windows users began realizing that using the Internet required extended protection and as Windows XP was based on Windows 2000 which was known by lots of security holes, the firewall has occurred to be a necessity. Let's have a loser look on this firewall.
Let's look on configuring the Windows XP firewall. Just before the release of the newest version of Windows XP, the Microsoft Company understood that the firewall should not come activated by default, so it was decided to include the firewall as an additional feature to be activated by the user in order to operate. However, with the release of Service Pack 2 for Windows XP the firewall comes as an integral part of the operating system and it is active by default. When you turn the firewall off, Windows starts prompting you with warnings, telling horrible stories about how viruses and other malicious software can harm your system.
The inbuilt Windows XP firewall is a personal firewall which means it is supposed to protect one computer only. However, if this computer is used to provide access to the Internet to the network of computers, it protects the whole network.
If you don't have Service Pack 2 for Windows XP installed, you'll have to activate the firewall so that it will protect your computer. You can choose the programs not to be blocked by the firewall thus avoiding problems which may appear if the firewall operates under the default settings.
You should have a firewall to be able to breathe a little easier when surfing and working with the Internet. If you want, you can the inbuilt Windows XP firewall. It is capable of dealing with the most important issues and has the minimum required set of features. If that is not enough and you need to protect the whole network of computers, each of them having their own connection with the Internet, you should take your time to find something more powerful than the Windows firewall.