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How to Turn on Your PC's Firewall

The Internet can be a dangerous place, filled with worms and hackers just waiting for a vulnerable computer to infect. A firewall can be a great first blockade against malicious activity, preventing hackers and certain types of malware from accessing your PC and doing damage.

A firewall is different than antivirus or antimalware software, and each works best when used in conjunction with the other. Antivirus and antimalware software specifically protects again viruses and malware, while firewalls help stop worms and hackers by putting a blockade between you and the Internet.

Your Windows firewall should be enabled by default, but if you’re worried that you’re not protected, here’s how to turn on your PC’s firewall.

MORE: 45 Free and Useful Windows Apps

1. Open the Charms Bar and click Search. If you have a touchscreen notebook, you can swipe in from the right side of the screen. If not, move your cursor into the top right corner to view the Charms Bar. Select the magnifying glass icon in order to open the Windows 8 system search.

2. Click Settings. You’ll be searching through your notebook’s settings rather than looking for apps or files.

3. Type “firewall” into the search field and select Windows Firewall.By searching for the specific setting you need, you’ll be able to bypass hunting through all the settings to find the right one.

4. Select "Turn Windows Firewall on or off" from the menu on the left.This will allow you to toggle the settings on and off for both your computer’s private network and public network.

5. Select the radio button next to "Turn on Windows Firewall" under both Private network settings and Public network settings. Enabling the firewall for both your public and network protects you against harmful activity both coming from the open internet and from any network of computers to which you might connect.