Windows 7: A New Look At Networks

A lot of information has been pushed out by Microsoft regarding Windows 7 these past few months. One of the most anticipated changes in Windows 7 (from Microsoft Vista) is the ease of setting up your networks and the firewall.

First, one of the more simple changes from Vista to Windows 7 is the ease to setting up your home network. According to PC Magazine, “the firewall exists to protect your network, and Windows 7 starts by making it easier to configure that all-important home network. When users hit network problems, they curse the firewall—and they’re often right to. Windows 7 addresses the problem by taking over home network setup and making sure the firewall doesn’t interfere.”

Once you install Windows 7, you are then asked to create a HomeGroup in which you’re allowed to add other Windows 7 machines in your network. All the machines will use one password and they can all share printers and specific libraries of files. The good news, according to the article, is you can also share with computers that do not run Windows 7 as well as non-PCs such as Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

When Vista would set up the home network, it would distinguish between public and private networks. HomeGroup splits private into Home and Work groups.

PC Magazine goes on to explain the dual-mode firewall in Windows 7 and how it differs from Vista or even XP. “In Vista and XP, you control the firewall with a simplistic on/off switch. Windows 7 intelligently offers separate configuration settings for private (Home or Work) and public networks. You don’t have to go in and finagle multiple settings when you log on at the local coffee roastery. Just choose Public, and Windows Firewall puts a whole set of stricter settings in place. Most likely you’ll configure it to block all incoming connections from public networks. In Vista, you couldn’t do that without also cutting off incoming traffic on your own network.”

For more information on what Windows 7 has to offer, feel free to check out the article at PC Magazine here.


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