How Can I Tell If I'm Behind a Firewall?

By Tiffany Garden

A firewall is a method of protecting your computer from unauthorized network and Internet traffic. The firewall blocks sites, programs and ports to control the flow of traffic on the network. While a firewall can help prevent hackers from gaining access to your personal information, at times the firewall can also prevent programs that require network and Internet access from working properly. A big example of this comes from online games, which may have multiplayer access restricted until you open the ports properly through the firewall.

Step 1

Click "Start" and "Control Panel."

Step 2

Choose the "Security" section. Select "Windows Firewall."

Step 3

Check the setting "Turn Windows Firewall on or off" to see if your built-in Windows firewall is turned on.

Step 4

Check your system tray for firewall software running in the background. Examples of icons you need to look for in your tray include Zone Alarm and SonicWall.

Step 5

Check the devices connected to your computer and network equipment. Firewalls don't have to be part of software, you can have a physical firewall blocking access to your computer as well. Your home network router may also have a physical firewall included on the device.