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Firewall Permanently Disabled....Bad???

Last response: in Networking
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December 8, 2010 4:57:15 PM

I just replaced my wifes desktop. She has Windows 7 (64bit).

I had problems connecting her HP Officejet 6500 E709a (Wired Only) all-in-one printer.

After updating drivers for Windows 7 and downloading some Diagnostic Utilities. I ran into Print Jobs getting stuck in the queue. Via the Advanced Diagnostic (HP) options I turned off the Windows Firewall. Warning comes up to only disable for troubleshooting. Windows has a 'flag' saying to turn it back on. I disabled the message so it does not come up again.

Once disabled the printer works fine. If I enable the firewall I run into the same problems with stuck jobs in queue.

I have her system running Avast Free Version 5.0.677 http://download.cnet.com/Avast-Free-Antivirus/3000-2239...

I am thinking Avast should be fine. I have never liked any Windows security and have always disabled them on all my previous machines. Being my first Windows 7 machine will this be a problem?

If you think I still need a firewall up please articulate why. And if you have a recommendation for a free version from somewhere like CNET please let me know. I will be leaving town soon and she is not able to work on this kind of thing in my absence.

Thanks in advance for any advice or clarification on this.
December 8, 2010 6:56:01 PM

As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. Avast is a great, free security suite, but it's not as customizable as it should be. I run it on my system at home, but the firewall has yet to cause me any troubles like this.

First things first, you NEED a firewall. Windows 7 is a much more secure operating system than previous iterations but that does not mean under any context that it is impervious. I have seen viruses infiltrate Windows 7 just as they do in XP. Keep this in mind, if Windows 7 were impenetrable, Microsoft wouldn't release patches for it every week to keep the bad guys out. And even then, they (in most cases) have to wait on a few hundred successful attacks before a patch is released, and that can take days. By that time, the intruder/virus has enough time to do serious damage to your system.

Now if you want a firewall that's going to be non-invasive and rock-strong, I highly recommend ESET Smart Security. I've used it for two years in a row (until I ran into money troubles where I couldn't afford it anymore) and did not have a single piece of malware penetrate my system. It's $60 for a year-long subscription, and is far more effective (and efficient) than McAfee or Norton. This security suite was developed by two Russian ex-hackers who know their stuff (their company is now based in San Diego). In the two years I used it, I can't recall a time when it blocked a service or application that I needed.

I hope this helps! :D 

-Rob
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