Introduction to Windows Firewall with Advanced Security

Updated: December 1, 2009

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista

For a downloadable version of this article, see Introduction to Windows Firewall with Advanced Security in the Microsoft Download Center (

Almost every computer is now connected to a network. The information available from the Internet and stored on our private and corporate networks makes universal network connectivity almost mandatory. The growth of wireless networking options increases our mobility without compromising our access to the information we need.

But with this universal connectivity comes increased risk. The ease of connection that allows authorized users to access resources from almost anywhere at any time can also allow unauthorized users and malicious programs to attack a network with relative speed and anonymity.

Protecting your network and information assets requires a layered, defense-in-depth security model. You must protect the computers on your network from unauthorized users and programs not only on the Internet, but also on the local intranet. A layered defense can provide protection from unauthorized, unmanaged, and noncompliant computers no matter how they connect to the network.

Windows Firewall with Advanced Security is an important part of a layered security model. By providing host-based, two-way network traffic filtering for a computer, Windows Firewall with Advanced Security blocks unauthorized network traffic flowing into or out of the local computer. Windows Firewall with Advanced Security also works with Network Awareness so that it can apply security settings appropriate to the types of networks to which the computer is connected. Now that Windows Firewall and Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) configuration settings are integrated into a single Microsoft Management Console (MMC) named Windows Firewall with Advanced Security, Windows Firewall also becomes an important part of your network’s isolation strategy.

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