The Annoyance:

I want to use a firewall to protect my network, but I’m too cheap to buy one. Is there a free product I can use?

The Fix:

Actually, there is-Windows XP includes a built-in firewall. Although the firewall is disabled by default, it’s easy to activate. Just click Start, right-click My Network Places, and select Properties. Now right-click your Local Area Connection and click Properties. Click the Advanced tab and check the “Protect my computer and network by limiting or preventing access to this computer from the Internet” box (see Figure 7-34). Click the Settings button and select any particular Services, Logging, or ICMP features that you need. I won’t bore you to tears with a lengthy explanation of those features here-you can always check the firewall’s Help feature for more details and “how-to” information. Now click OK to save your changes, and reboot Windows if necessary. This activates the native Windows XP firewall.

Windows XP provides its own basic firewall for network and Internet protection.

Figure 7-34. Windows XP provides its own basic firewall for network and Internet protection.

If XP’s firewall isn’t reliable or versatile enough for your taste, there are other inexpensive firewall solutions such as ZoneAlarm from Zone Labs ( You can download a free version of the firewall and install it on your system in a matter of minutes. ZoneAlarm offers comprehensive monitoring and ...

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